Why study Foreign Languages?
At DYCA, we offer students the opportunity to study Spanish from Fresher year through to GCSE. Spanish is popular amongst students and is one of the top three most widely spoken languages in the world. Modern foreign languages are an important part of a rich and varied curriculum and skills in foreign languages are becoming increasingly sought after by universities and employers alike.
In the Sixth Form, Spanish and French are available ab initio and Spanish can also be studied at a more advanced level for those who have taken it at GCSE. As part of the Academy’s enrichment programme, the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese, Latin and Gaelic has also been offered in after-school clubs.
In Fresher year, all students study Spanish once or twice a week, depending on which band they are in. They are provided with an introduction to the language and culture of Spain, covering topics such as self, family and friends, describing where you live and food and drink. Students are able to practise their language skills through listening, speaking, reading and writing Spanish. We use ICT to support language learning and make it more interactive by teaching via software such as Linguascope. We also place a strong emphasis upon developing students’ grammatical understanding of language, in order to provide them with a sound basis for future language study.
In order to recognise achievement at this early stage of language learning, students can take the Entry Level Certificate offered by the AQA. Fresher and Prep students are also able to take part in a language club as part of their extra-curricular programme of activities.
In Prep year, students build upon their knowledge of Spanish through the study of the topics of school, the environment and holidays. Depending on which band students are in, they will have one or two lessons of Spanish per week. We expect students to achieve up to a level 6 by the end of the Key Stage. In order to promote further language study to GCSE level, students can complete the Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education provided by the AQA.
As part of the Routes into Languages programme, Prep and Fresher students have taken part in the Chinese New Year celebrations at Leeds Metropolitan University and the Oriental Day offered by Brigshaw High School. Students who took part in these events helped to compile poetry and prose compositions, which were published in a booklet issued by Leeds Metropolitan University.
Senior Years 1, 2 and 3
In Key Stage 4, we follow the AQA specification for GCSE Spanish. Students have up to two lessons a week, covering the topics of lifestyle, leisure, home and environment and work and education. Students continue to develop their speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. The course focuses more heavily on writing and speaking skills, with students having to complete several written and oral controlled assessments, which contribute 60% towards their final grade.
Studying a language at GCSE can open up many further education and employment opportunities. Language learning not only develops a linguistic and cultural understanding of other communities but students also learn how to think logically and communicate effectively.
Students have visited Santander in Spain, enjoying opportunities to develop their language skills and experience Spanish food and culture first hand.
Spanish can be studied in the Sixth Form as part of the International Baccalaurate programme. Spanish can be taken ab initio (for beginners) or for those with a GCSE in Spanish, a more advanced course is available at standard or higher level.
Students studying Spanish ab initio cover three themes: the individual and society, leisure and work and the urban and rural environment. They are assessed via a written assignment, an individual oral exam and an exam testing comprehension and essay writing skills.
Students who follow the standard or higher language courses are able to build on their prior knowledge by developing their receptive, productive and interactive skills. The three core topics of communication and media, global issues and social relationships are covered, alongside the selection of two optional topics from a specified list. At higher level, students will also read two literature texts. At both standard and higher level, students are assessed via a written coursework assignment, an oral presentation and other classroom based activities, as well as through examinations at the end of the second year of study.
French can also be studied ab initio and students follow the same programme of study as that provided for by the Spanish element of the International Baccalaureate.