Modern languages

T. 020 7474 0231



Our learning

Department Vision and Priorities

Our vision in the Modern Foreign Languages department is that all language learners develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as ‘World Citizens’. We aim to support students to understand other countries and cultures so that they can be more open and adaptable to new experiences.


With this in mind, we have a number of objectives.  Primary among these is our mission to increase the percentage of pupils who achieve grades A* - C in Key Stage 4.  This means that we, as the languages teaching staff, focus on developing the quality of our teaching.  We take part in a series of in-service training, as well as working together within the department to develop our use of data to inform our teaching strategies and our feedback to pupils.


Pupils make good progress in Modern Foreign Languages at Key Stage 3.  We focus on maintaining this rate of progress into Key Stage 4, so that we cater more effectively for pupils with a full range of needs. Pupils develop linguistic skills at different rates, so the department strives to offer a range of opportunities for language learners, especially in the upper school (KS4).

Currently, the acquisition of a foreign language is very highly regarded by colleges and employers, and so we encourage our students to study a language as an option for their Key Stage 4 studies.  With a decreasing number of people able to speak a second language on leaving education, this is a skill that is increasingly sought after by employers.


Employers and universities acknowledge that those pupils who have learnt a second language have a better understanding of other countries and cultures and, particularly if they have been abroad, are more open and adaptable to new experiences. We develop an international outlook in our pupils, and encourage them to see themselves as global citizens.


Newham is a culturally rich and diverse area where many languages are used on a daily basis, therefore many students come to us with excellent language skills, speaking two or sometimes three languages.  Wherever possible, we enable speakers of community languages to improve their knowledge of their heritage language and gain appropriate accreditation.

We utilise pupils in extra-curricular events, such as Open Evenings and they play an important role in representing the department and the school to the wider community.

As a department, we are actively promoting languages across the school.  For example, pupils have been involved in productions of The Three Musketeers and Don Quixote with The Freshwater Theatre Company.  We have also been invited to participate in the European Day of Languages 2015 and, as part of this, some KS4 pupils will have the opportunity to participate in The Declaration of Human Rights work shop, promoted by SOAS.



Modern Foreign Languages are taught by five teachers; these include Miss Makan (Teacher in Charge of French), Miss Plumb (Teacher in Charge of Spanish), Mr Sarumi (Year Coordinator), Miss Longmate (Community Languages Coordinator) and Ms Moore (Assistant Head)




At KS3, the French Curriculum is based on Studio (published by Heinemann) while the Spanish Curriculum is based on Mira Express (also by Heinemann).


The Modern Foreign Languages Curriculum

In Year 7, pupils study French or Spanish for 2 hours a week and undertake 6 units of work.

  • Greetings and Introductions
  • School
  • Family and Friends
  • House and Home
  • My Local Area
  • Free Time


In Year 8, pupils study French or Spanish for 2 hours a week and undertake 5 units of work.

  • Food and drink
  • Health and Fitness
  • Free Time
  • Last Weekend
  • Fashion


In Year 9, pupils study French or Spanish for 2 hours a week and undertake 6 units of work.

  • Friends and family
  • Local Area
  • School
  • Careers
  • Holidays
  • Environment



The Modern Foreign Languages Curriculum at Key Stage 4. The GCSE is taught over 2 years and covers 6 units of works in that time. Most themes have already been taught in Key Stage 3 and are built on and developed at Key Stage 4.


Pupils follow AQA French Full Course (4658) and AQA Spanish Full Course (4698) and follow Schemes of Work based on Expo 4 and Mira 4. The Topics are:

  • Home and Local Area
  • Family and Friends
  • Work and Education
  • Health and Fitness
  • Free Time
  • Global Issues



The marking of students’ work is a vital part of teaching and learning and is also seen as such by the students themselves.
The key aims of our marking include acknowledgement of students’ work, demonstration to parents and student that performance and progress is being considered and monitored, the celebration of students’ achievements and the identification of ways in which students can improve.


Work may be marked:

  • By the teacher out of class,
  • By the teacher in the class while circulating
  • The student in class with the support of the teacher/answer sheets
  • The student’s partner in class (as above)



Homework is set weekly for all MFL learners.  The type of homework varies, and includes: vocabulary learning, activity worksheets, online research, reading / writing practice and ICT tasks.





Cumberland School

Oban Close, London, E13 8SJ



T. 020 7474 0231

F. 020 7511 2510


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