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Modern Languages Department

I was able to use some of the French I learnt in Year 7 while on holiday last summer. What is great about languages is that the more you learn, the more you see the connections between the languages and the easier it gets!

The Modern Language Department is one of the largest departments in the school with 9 full-time teachers teaching their mother tongue.  Most teachers in the department are fluent in 2 or more languages and teach another language or another subject in the school as well.  French, Italian and Spanish are well established languages at St George’s and pupils have the opportunity to follow various courses which reflect their ability and level of proficiency in the languages they study.  We are very pleased to have recently added 2 new languages to our secondary curriculum.   Mandarin Chinese and German are being taught in Year 7 alongside French in our Language Carousel and will be taught as separate language courses from Year 8 onwards.  Latin also comes under our umbrella and is offered as an alternative to the second language course in Key Stage 3 and 4. As the language of our host country, Italian holds a special place in the school curriculum and every child studies Italian in Key Stage 3, on courses which range from beginner’s language to more advanced language skills or native speakers’ language and literature courses.  Pupils appreciate the opportunity to develop their skills in Italian and the majority continue studying it at IGCSE and International Baccalaureate, often achieving near-native proficiency after a few years of study. 

In the department we are very proud of the excellent exam results that our students achieve year after year.  At various stages in their studies, pupils can take IGCSE, AS level and IB examinations in the languages they study with us or on self-taught language courses.   Many students anticipate the usual deadlines for normal entry in these public examinations.  In 2012, 93% of all language GCSE entries resulted in A* or A in the summer examination session and at IB, St George’s students’ mean grade for second language studies was an impressive 5.98 on a scale of 7.  Within the last few years, St George’s students have gone on to read languages at Cambridge, St Andrews and UCL and many more opt to take Language modules as part of their degree courses. 

Our language lessons are challenging, interactive and fun.  Teachers make extensive use of authentic materials and aim to stimulate the students’ interest and curiosity for the linguistic and cultural heritage of the countries where the languages are spoken.  Emphasis on communication skills and creativity offer students the ability to develop their skills beyond the confines of the classroom.  As an international community with many spoken languages represented, our students often have the opportunity to practise their language skills in real-life situations with other native speakers, around the school and on trips.  In recent years, teachers have organised trips to the wonderful cities of Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.