The aim of studying German is to encourage pupils to develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. The study of German should also broaden their horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world. The emphasis is on developing the practical skills required to communicate in the language; although a certain amount of grammar is covered, this is by no means onerous.

It is impossible to list all the jobs that studying a language facilitates. The ability to communicate fluently is a vital skill in almost all areas of professional life. Language specific jobs such as teaching, translation, diplomacy, foreign affairs, journalism, publishing, advertising, the civil service, and tourism spring immediately to mind. Language is obviously highly desirable in the business, economic and commercial world with the internationalisation and globalisation of many companies. Speaking German would enable you to work abroad, providing more possibilities and options in the currently very competitive job market.

Year 9

We offer a beginner’s course, with two lessons a week, the ideal foundation for GCSE German. Pupils have three lessons and two preps (homework) a fortnight. The emphasis is on acquiring useful vocabulary and structures quickly and effectively and enjoying the challenge of learning the language, using both an excellent published course – echt 1 – which is highly interactive and includes full digital support, as well as our own extensive range of departmental resources. At the end of the Michaelmas term the pupils take part in a “Christmas Parcel Exchange” – swapping typically British Christmas gifts, recipes and information on traditions with German ones from a German partner school. The year’s course culminates with a five-day trip to the Rhineland, with numerous opportunities for the pupils to put their newly developed language skills to the test – with visits to Cologne Cathedral, the Lindt Chocolate Museum, Sports Museum (with a game of football literally on the roof), the Haus der Geschichte (post-1945 interactive historical museum) in Bonn, the Haribo factory shop and Phantasialand, a fabulous theme park in Brühl. Due to Covid Restrictions all school trips abroad are currently suspended.

GCSE German

Exam Board: AQA

The course is based on the broad themes specified by the exam board: identity and culture; local, national, international and global areas of interest; as well as current and future study and employment. Full use is made of the native-speaker language assistant.

We offer the AQA GCSE German course in Years 10 and 11. Pupils have three lessons and two prep (homework) sessions a week; they also have the opportunity to benefit from an extra speaking lesson per week with the German Assistant, which helps them develop their own spoken language. We use the AQA GCSE Foundation and Higher Coursebooks as well as the extensive Kerboodle resources which serve to enrich and further students acquiring of the four language skills in preparation for the exams. Full support is available to the pupils during the academic clinic slots and at other times outside of class. Native Speaker pupils give presentations in designated lessons on German cultural themes, thus giving our non-native speakers the opportunity to not only strengthen their listening and speaking ability but more importantly to forge links across the school and lasting friendships with our large German community. The exam tests listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

Pre-IB Diploma German for Native speakers: Years 10 and 11

This is a course designed for native speakers only and is taught by a German native speaker teacher. The course acts as both an introduction to the study of literature at IB level and also to ensure that native speaker pupils of German still have the opportunity to develop their productive and analytic skills in their own language. Pupils have 2 lessons a week; the content is as closely linked to the new  Bavarian Lehrplan PLUS as possible. The course is examined at the end of Year 11; the IGCSE German 1st Language exam consists of 2 separate papers, with Paper 1 focusing on text comprehension and appreciation and Paper 2 on essay writing. It is provided by the Cambridge International Examination board. This qualification is widely accepted as a pre-requisite for any Sixth Form course on German Language and Literature.

A level German

Exam board: AQA

Entry requirements: Level 6 in GCSE German or equivalent

This two-year course leads to examination by AQA. It encompasses a wide range of contemporary topics, as well as exposure to literature and film. German grammatical knowledge is reviewed and enhanced, with very much a cyclical approach which helps to re-enforce a deeper understanding. Courses are usually taught by two members of staff, with a lesson a week on a one-to-one basis with the German Assistant, a native–speaker undergraduate or graduate who stays with us for a year.

IB German ab initio

Entry requirements: No previous knowledge of the language is required but you must have studied another language at GCSE.

The IB German ab initio course meets the needs of pupils who are interested in learning a new language as part of the IB Diploma.

The IB German ab initio course is a two-year course and is intended for pupils with no German or for those with little prior knowledge i.e. who have completed no more than the Year 9 course. It is available at Standard Level and takes pupils from this level up to approximately AS level.

IB German A: Literature

Entry requirements: German as a first language, and Pre-IB German course from Gresham’s or equivalent.

IB German A: Literature is a two-year course and is the equivalent course for German native speakers to the English A: Literature course. It involves the study and literary appreciation of a wide range of German authors, genres and literary periods, as well as two works translated into German. Pupils who complete both the English and German Group One courses receive the distinction of gaining a bilingual Diploma.

The course encourages pupils to explore the power of language through fiction and literary non-fiction. The reading list covers both famous ‘classics’ and more current works. Pupils will read at least nine works for Standard Level and 13 for Higher Level.

IB German B

Entry requirements: Level 6 in GCSE German or equivalent

The IB German B course is a two-year course which involves studying a range of modules which help to develop pupils’ written and spoken German, as well as developing their reading and listening comprehension skills. Higher Level IB German B courses also involve the study of two literary texts – with the emphasis being on comprehension and vocabulary learning rather than traditional literary appreciation. Courses are usually taught by two members of staff, with a lesson a week on a one-to-one basis with the German Assistant, a native–speaker undergraduate or graduate who stays with us for a year.

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A level


IB Diploma