St Catherine's Catholic School

Modern Foreign Languages

Head of Department (HOD): Mr M. Bundy

2nd in Charge (2ic): Miss A. Soubrier

Teacher names: Mrs S. Ramsay (Lead Teacher), Miss J. Fookes, Mrs M. Foucher, Mrs D. Cunningham

Studying French or Spanish enables pupils to communicate in the foreign language, as well as understand it in speech and writing. This will be of benefit when they come into contact with French- or Spanish-speaking people both at home and abroad. Pupils also learn about the culture of countries where French or Spanish is spoken.

Literacy Policy for Modern Foreign Languages :

mfl literacy policy.pdf


All students follow a course in either French or Spanish in Years 7, 8 and 9, after which the vast majority continue with the language that they have been studying up to GCSE level.

Our KS3 schemes of work provide for a secure foundation in grammar and in the GCSE topics, and are delivered according to AfL principles and through a range of activities that respond to different learning styles.

Main skills developed in Years 7, 8 and 9:

Pupils develop – and are assessed in - their knowledge of grammar, as well as the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. They are also regularly tested in the acquisition of key vocabulary.


Exam board and full GCSE course name: AQA GCSE French (8658) and AQA GCSE Spanish (8698)

At KS4, pupils continue to have three 50-minute lessons every week. They are also invited to attend targeted, after-school, booster classes.

In both key stages, pupils are expected to prepare for their lessons by acquiring key vocabulary. They largely acquire this vocabulary by working through interactive courses that are written, recorded and uploaded to the Memrise website by the MFL department. Currently, pupils have access to 28 courses (containing over 18,000 items of vocabulary) that are tightly linked to the learning objectives set out in our schemes of work.

We are committed to providing pupils with a sound understanding of the grammatical structures that will allow them to communicate confidently and accurately, both in the AQA GCSE examinations and in real-life situations with native speakers.

The final exam/practical/coursework components broken down by paper and brief content.

Pupils are be examined at the end of the GCSE course in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Each of these four papers is worth 25% of the overall grade. There are no coursework or controlled assessments.

Listening Unit

Pupils listen to announcements, short conversations, instructions, short news items and telephone messages, as well as non-factual and narrative material. They answer questions on what they hear, mainly - but not only - in English.

Speaking Unit

Pupils take part in a role play and a general conversation, and describe and discuss an image. 

Reading Unit

Pupils read material in French/Spanish and answer questions in English and French/Spanish. They also produce a translation from French/Spanish into English.

Writing Unit

Pupils write two essays (of 90 and 150 words) and produce a translation from English into French/Spanish (of at least 50 words).

Careers Information: 

 Languages gives access to the following careers: hotel management, importing, airline work, translating, customer services, bilingual advocacy, cruise ship work, interpreting, European patent work, the diplomatic service, tourist information, international law, language teaching, tour operating, the European Commission, hotel reception work, exporting, immigration, travel agency work and marketing, among others.

How to support your daughter in this subject:

Pupils spend most of their homework time in French/Spanish acquiring and revising language by actively working through the St Catherine’s courses on the Memrise website. Parents can support their daughters by encouraging them to work on the site frequently and in small periods of time. We recommend that pupils spend three 5-minute sessions on Memrise each day, for five or six days each week, so that language is acquired naturally and frequently revised and refreshed in their memory.


Useful Weblinks:

  • – which gives access to all of the St Catherine’s vocabulary and grammar courses.
  • - which gives access to the text books we use in class, with a wide range of additional interactive activities for independent study at home.