In Modern Foreign Languages at Caterham High School we aim to make the learning and teaching of French and Spanish a worthwhile and enjoyable experience, one which prepares pupils for today’s global village. We recognise the importance of speaking and writing in another language and therefore we offer our pupils maximum opportunities in lessons, on residential trips or day courses.

Our department is divided into two: the French department and the Spanish department. We have three French specialists, two full time teachers and one part time who teach the subject from year 7 to year 13, and two Spanish specialists who teach the subject again from year 7 to year 13. We have three language rooms, all equipped with cd players, projectors and interactive white boards and we also have a multi-media Sanako language laboratory. The “lab” is also fitted with an interactive white board, cd player, projector and 30 integrated computers for pupils to use.  Each computer is linked to a main terminal that enables the teacher to use a variety of interactive activities practising our four skills (writing, listening, reading and speaking). Pupils also have access to this multi media lab during morning break, lunchtime and one hour after school.

We believe that it is important that our pupils have the opportunity to:

  • Work individually and together in teams to explore and develop ideas.
  • Realise the importance of understanding other cultures and values.
  • Embrace the learning of other cultures and values.
  • Understand the moral, social, cultural and emotional impact of learning a foreign language.
  • Use ICT as a tool to develop their knowledge and interests.
  • Develop their confidence in expressing their ideas to others and their own self esteem.
  • Develop their creativity by being curious, showing initiative, ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Our Expectations

  • We expect all students to behave in a sensible and safe manner in lessons.
  • We expect all pupils to show respect to other people and treat them in the same way as they would expect to be treated themselves, this includes teachers, fellow pupils and language assistants.
  • We expect students to complete all class work to the best of their ability, taking care with presentation and the quality of the work produced.
  • We have very high expectations of our students and aim to motivate them to achieve the highest grades possible.
  • We expect students to follow the MFL homework policy and complete their homework when set every single lesson: the homework task must be written down in student planners.
  • We expect pupils to arrive at lessons and  with the correct equipment.


In MFL at KS3 pupils are taught both French and Spanish for 3 one hour lessons each over a 2 week period.  Pupils begin to understand, speak, read and write in the target language where they become familiar with the sounds, word stems and grammar patterns, and uses this knowledge with increasing competence to express themselves in role-plays, conversations and writing.  Pupils also increase their cultural awareness by communicating with people who speak the language and by using materials from countries and communities where the language is spoken.  N.C.levels is used in all lessons and results of any work completed are used in target setting.  Work can be a mixture of teacher assessment, self-assessment or peer assessment.  All pupils also sit a termly end of unit test and the course books used are Métro and ¡Mira!

The Year 7 course covers a wide array of topics such as: Personal Identification, Numbers & Dates, The alphabet, Family, Pets, and School.  We initially draw from the Key Stage 2 Literacy Strategy building on pupils’ prior learning in English to form the foundation for teaching MFL.  Therefore a lot of emphasis is placed on recognizing cognates and sounds and vocabulary and basic sentence building as well as geographical and cultural awareness.  Year 7s are invited to participate on a one-day reward trip to France in the summer term.

The Year 8 course aims to give pupils the opportunity to build on the work covered in the previous year and covers topics from countries, capitals, languages and nationalities, weather and seasons, places in town, directions,  means of transport, helping at home and talking about future plans. Pupils extend their reading and writing skills plus their ability to listen and speak in the target language with a particular emphasis on developing their opinion.  Some Year 8 pupils will have the opportunity to participate in the Arsenal Football Language Club as a reward.

The Year 9 course completes the study of a foreign language at Key Stage 3.  Pupils study a variety of topics based on illnesses, leisure, holidays, giving opinions, describing films and programmes you watch on TV.  Pupils begin extended writing activities using word frames and both the past and future tenses are consolidated.  The purpose of the course is to ensure that a firm foundation has been laid for further study of a language at Key Stage 4.  Some Year 9 pupils are invited to take part in the residential reward trips to Paris and Barcelona.


Pupils can opt to study both languages at GCSE.  The GCSE Course covers the Edexcel GCSE specification and pupils study the four common topic areas:  Personal Information, Out and About, Customer Services and Transactions and finally Future Plans, education and work.  Through on-going controlled assessment in speaking and writing, pupils develop the skills to research and work independently.  Pupils are encouraged to use the language as much as possible in whole class, pair and group work.  Learning skills are supported by resources developed by the faculty such as CDs, booklets, ICT packages, and DVDs/Videos, plus priority use of the Sanako Muli-Media Lab.  Year 10 pupils are offered the opportunity to participate in the residential trips to France and Spain.


French  and Spanish are offered at both AS and A2 level.  Languages are now playing an increasingly important role in the world of work, especially considering the closer links we now have with our global neighbours.

On the course students learn to read, understand and extract information from written passages taken from authentic sources such as magazines and newspapers; to listen to, and understand, contemporary spoken language and answer questions on what they have heard; to write essays or longer pieces and to hold conversations and discussions in the target language.

We currently use a wide range of resources including the text books published by EDEXCEL. Students are expected to have some knowledge and understanding of the culture and way of life of the chosen country and a genuine desire to develop this and to explore in much more depth the topic areas they have covered at GCSE and others.
Year 12 and 13 pupils are booked into the language multimedia centre at least once a week. There they are able to finely tune their pronunciation and refine their listening and reading skills.


The Modern Foreign Languages regularly run a number of activities and trips.

We organise annual GCSE trips to France and Spain where students have the opportunity to practise their own language skills and learn about different cultures.

The French trip is to Paris. Students visit famous sites including Notre Dame and the Sacré Coeur and also take a trip on Les Bateaux Mouches on the Seine River. French lessons are also provided on the trip to improve language skills.

The Spanish trip is to Barcelona. Students visit historical and cultural monuments and sample Spanish food. The trip also includes language lessons which aim to compliment the trip.

In addition to this we have a Year 7 reward day trip to St. Omer in France. Where students have the chance to put into practice what they have learnt so far in Year 7. The students complete an interactive quiz about the town of St Omer as part of the visit.

Useful Links

KS3:  How can I improve?

KS4: How can I improve?

KS5 : How can I improve?


KS3:  How can I improve?

KS4: How can I improve?

KS5 : How can I improve?