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Modern Foreign Languages

Welcome to our MFL section

Welcome to the MFL department. Spanish is studied from Years 7-11 and is compulsory at KS3.  Within these pages you will find lots of information about the subject and how the department operates.

KS4 is offered as an option and with the introduction of the new Ebacc certificate is now a popular choice. A high number of pupils are actively encouraged to study the subject.

Newman Catholic School, Carlisle



Language learning can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences. Through learning languages, we can learn social sills, team work skills, communication skills, confidence and flexibility to name a few. These are all skills that employers look for. When applying for jobs, if you can speak a foreign language, you are much more likely to be successful and get the job you have always dreamed of.


Key Stage 3

Years 7-8

In years 7 and 8 students learn the skills necessary to communicate in Spanish. We follow a course based upon the ‘Viva’ textbooks. Students have two hours of Spanish a week. Language lessons are planned to start to build the necessary skills for the GCSE exam, as well as incorporating fun and interactive activities, in order to give the pupils a good grasp of the language. All four skills are developed (listening, speaking, reading and writing) through a variety of activities. Throughout these years, students are not only learning the language, but they are also introduced to the culture and history of Spain and other Spanish speaking countries.

Homework tasks are set weekly and will include a minimum of a learning task each week – students will be expected to learn a list of key words and they will be expected to spell them correctly. It is vital that students regularly learn vocabulary, as it is the key to understanding the language.

There is ongoing assessment and students are encouraged to check their own progress regularly. Students are also encouraged to ask for help when needed. Spanish rooms are always available to complete homework if needed.

Year 9

In Year 9 students are placed broadly into groups depending on the likelihood of them continuing through to GCSE at KS4, however there is flexibility of movement between these groups. Students also start the GCSE course, but at a level that is suitable for all students, regardless of whether they will be continuing into KS4. Students in year 9 also have two hours of Spanish a week.

This year, students will continue to build on and perfect the skills learned in years 7 and 8, but with a heavier focus on exam skills and grammar. There is a focus on the ability to write paragraphs unaided and develop their spoken skills. They are also encouraged to be more creative and imaginative in their use of language.  Students are encouraged to employ a range of tenses, opinions and connectives in written and spoken tasks with a significant focus on accuracy.

Homework tasks are set weekly and will include a range of activities, ranging from vocabulary learning, to writing longer texts and to translations.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10/11

The Spanish GCSE is a two year course which builds on and further develops the work and topics covered in KS3. By the end of the two-year course, students should feel confident in their ability to communicate with native speakers in both speech and writing. They should also develop and awareness and understanding or the culture and identity of the countries where Spanish is spoken. They study a range of topics under the 3 themes of: Identity and culture; Local, national, international and global areas of interest and current and future study and employment.

All four skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) will be assessed at the end of year 11. There is no coursework, rather the course is all assessed by exams. Students can be entered for either Foundation (grades 1-5) or Higher tier (grades 4-9), but must complete the same tier for all four skills. All exams will make reference to the countries where Spanish is spoken. Exams will use authentic materials e.g. adverts, poems, literary texts, emails and text messages.

Unit 1: Listening (25%) takes place in the May/ June exam period in year 11

Unit 2: Speaking (25%) takes place at school between April & May in year 11

Unit 3: Reading (25%) takes place in the May/ June exam period in year 11

Unit 4: Writing (25%) takes place in the May/ June exam period in year 11

In Year 10 and 11 students study the use of verbs and grammatical structures in the following contexts –

  • Me, my family and friends
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Free-time activities
  • Home, town, neighbourhood and region
  • Social issues
  • Global issues
  • Travel and tourism
  • My studies
  • Life at school/ college
  • Education post-16
  • Jobs, career choices and ambitions

Exam information

Exam title: GCSE Spanish

Exam board: AQA

Activities within the Department


This year we have ran our first ‘Spanglovision’ competition. All four year 7 forms have been learning a song in Spanish in their Spanish lessons and during form times. This was then recorded as a form and with their form teacher. The songs were shown to the whole school, who then proceeded to vote for their favourite video. The winners will win a trophy and prizes for the whole form.

Revision Sessions

Every Wednesday Miss Steel runs revision sessions as per the revision timetable for years 10 and 11. It is vital that students attend as many of these sessions as possible.

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