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Devonport High School for Girls

Name of Head of Department

Mrs D Broadbent BA (Hons), PGCE, MA (Ed)

Statement of Intent 

Foreign languages are an important part of cultural and vocational education in Europe and around the world. In the Languages department at DHSG, we aim to provide our students with the skills to communicate effectively in a variety of languages (French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, Latin) and with a sympathetic attitude to and deeper understanding of the relevant cultures in the language of study. In the teaching of specific languages, we endeavour to foster a language awareness and an improved understanding of English and to develop language learning skills which will serve as a valuable basis for the acquisition of skills in other foreign languages which students may wish to learn later in their careers. 

Language lessons focus on developing students’ ability to engage in spontaneous talk and practise transferable thinking skills. Above all, as committed and enthusiastic language learners ourselves, we wish to pass on a love of languages and encourage students to embrace language learning as a vital life skill. 

“He who knows no foreign language, knows nothing of his own” Goethe 

“ If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to a man in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela. 

Aims of the department: 

  • to produce enthusiastic, competent linguists who are confident of their ability, willing to take risks in less familiar situations;
  • to develop the students’ ability to engage in spontaneous talk, uninhibited by a strive for perfection; 
  • to provide a sense of challenge in the language learning activities and overcome the fear of failure;
  • to encourage students to become adaptable and open to new opportunities; 
  • to help students to develop transferable thinking skills; 
  • to embrace language learning and the ability to use other languages as a life skill; 
  • to encourage a sense of belonging to a global community;
  • to develop a cultural awareness of other nationalities. 

Key stage 3  (Year 7 and 8)  

  • All students choose which language, French or Spanish, they wish to study as a first language before they begin year 7. They learn this language for 5 lessons per fortnight in year 7 and 4 lessons per fortnight in year 8.
  • During the spring term of year 7, all students are given taster sessions in French/Spanish, German, Chinese, Latin so that they can choose their second language of study for year 8, which is then learnt alongside the first language in 4 lessons per fortnight.
  • At key stage 3, the learning is focussed on the development of language skills and language learning skills. Students rapidly learn a series of core language items to enable them to use language productively and creatively, so that they can express their own ideas and opinions and engage in ‘group talk’ and paired conversations. Through consistent use of the target language, language learning activities in all four skills and cross curricular content, students are able to develop the confidence to produce a wide range of structures and aspire to develop creative linguistic skills and to provide a solid foundation in preparation for the GCSE course.

Areas of Study


Year 8

Pinyin; basic strokes; Chinese radicals; numbers; greetings; dates; age; telephone numbers; family members; self-introduction; colours; time, daily-routine, nationality; pets; occupations, means of transport.


Year 8

First language option: Describing people and animals, spooky tales, telling stories in the past, food and eating out, healthy eating and living, discovering Paris, free time, travel, holidays, past, present and future.

Second language option: Introductions, describing your family and friends, sport and free time activities, home, local area, school, travel and holidays, customs and festivals. Basic grammar and sentence structure, tenses.


Year 8

Introductions, describing your family and friends, sport and free time activities, home, local area, school, travel and holidays, customs and festivals. Basic grammar and sentence structure, tenses.


Year 8

In the first century AD: the life at Pompeii, the theatres and gladiatorial shows, slaves and freedmen, Roman beliefs about life after death, the use of the baths, the educational system, politics and the explosion of Vesuvius.


Year 8

First language option: Shopping, clothes, jobs, types of film and music, holidays and leisure pursuits, descriptions of pictures, telling stories using different time frames eg past, present, future, mini role plays

Second language option: Hobbies and free time, parts of the body, weather, the history of chocolate, opinions, comparisons, Christmas and Easter in Spain and South America, , school subjects, telling the time, places in town, describing activities in the past and making plans for the future e.g. next weekend

Key stage 4 (Year 9, 10 and 11) 

  • It is compulsory for all students to continue with a Foreign Language to GCSE. Hence, when making GCSE choices, students may choose between French, Spanish, German, Chinese or Latin. Students are encouraged to continue with two languages to GCSE. 
  • In French, German, Spanish and Chinese, students are assessed in the four skills of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, which are equally weighted covering the following themes
  • - Identity and culture
  • - Local, National and global areas of interest
  • - Current and future study and employment
  • In Year 9, students will begin a foundation course to GCSE, covering all the basic skills and areas of grammar essential for achieving a pass grade at GCSE, such as verb endings, adjectival agreements, pronouns, revision of tenses, expressing opinions and producing complex sentences. A range of resources can be used including Métro, Listos, Logo etc. as well as the ‘Kerboodle’ online resources.
  • In years 10 and 11, students are entered for the AQA GCSE and schemes of work cover the GCSE topics. Students will be assessed by final examination in year 11. They will be expected to understand and provide information and opinions about these themes relating to their own experiences and those of other people, including people in the countries / communities where the language is spoken.
  • In Latin, students will be assessed in their knowledge and understanding of grammar and vocabulary through translation tasks, as well as literary texts and aspects of Roman civilisation.
  • Students will be assessed by final examination in year 11 and are entered for the Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE.

 Please see below for indiviual subject specifications

In recent years extra-curricular visits and activities have included

  • Year 8 Languages and Careers Enrichment Day
  • Euroscola Visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg for sixth formers
  • Year 7/8 International Carol Concert
  • Year 8 Normandy Experience – Immersion / Activity based visit
  • Year 8 Visit to Spain
  • Year 9/10 Visit to Berlin
  • Year 9/10 Summer camp in China
  • Year 11 Exchange / Residential visits to France and Spain
  • Year 10 Residential / Immersion / Activity based visit to Normandy
  • Year 8 Discover Germany
  • Making Languages our Business
  • Passport to Export (Dragons’ Den style competition with visit to Berlin for winners)
  • French Drama competition
  • Languages pop video competition
  • National Speaking Competitions