The Spanish department is part of the Modern Languages department, situated in the Library block. Spanish is a thriving subject with a large number of pupils taking the subject at GCSE, A level and for the IB Diploma Programme.
In an ever-shrinking world, many employers highly value the ability to speak a foreign language and our aim is for our students to express themselves fluently and confidently and to understand spoken and written Spanish competently, as well as introducing them to the society and culture of the Hispanic world.
In Year 9 there are beginners sets and non-beginners sets for those who have done the language prior to joining the Senior School. The groups then merge in Year 10 as the GCSE course is started. We follow the AQA GCSE which provides an excellent grounding for A level and IB study, as pupils take final exams in all four essential skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The course is assessed at the end of the two year linear course and is separated into the following components:
• Spanish Component 1 (Listening, Reading and Translation. 2 hours, EDEXCEL, 40%)
Section A: A listening assessment based on a recording. Students will respond to comprehension questions based on a variety of contexts and sources.
Section B: A reading assessment based on a variety of text types and genres. Section C: An unseen passage to be translated from Spanish to English.
• Spanish Component 2 (Written response to works and translation), 2 hours 40 minutes, EDEXCEL, 30%)
• Section A: Students translate an unseen passage from English into Spanish. Section B: Students write an extended response on either one or two of the literary texts listed. Section C: Students who only answer one question from Section B must write an extended response on one of the films listed.
• Spanish Component 3 (Oral examination internally conducted and externally assessed, 21-23 mins with 5 minutes preparation time, 30%)
IB Diploma Programme
Spanish can be studied either at Higher Level, Standard Level, or ab initio as part of the IB Diploma.
Higher and Standard Level
The course is examined at the end of the 2 year linear course and consists of 70% external assessment and 30% internal assessment
• External Assessment: Paper 1, Productive Skills (1 hour 15 minutes standard level, 1 hour 30 higher level, 25%).
• External Assessment Paper 2, Receptive Skills (1 hour, 45 minutes standard level, 2 hours higher level, 50%).
• Internal Assessment: Oral, 12-15 minutes, (plus 15 minutes formal preparation time at standard level and 20 minutes at higher 25%), which is based on a visual stimulus at standard level and an extract from a literary work at higher level.
To study Spanish ab initio, no previous knowledge of the language is required. This course meets the needs of pupils who are interested in learning a new language as part of their IB Diploma.
• Internal Assessment: Oral Component 25%: 7-10 minutes plus 15 minutes of formal preparation time.
• External Assessment: Productive Skills 25% Paper 1: Writing (1 hour).
• External Assessment: Receptive Skills 50% Paper 2: Reading (1 hour) Listening (45 minutes).
The department runs a very popular twice-termly Spanish Society. These are usually Spanish or Latin American film nights enjoyed with tapas and are open to pupils in Year 11 and the Sixth Form studying Spanish. In the Summer term there is a Junior Spanish Society for Year 10.
From time to time when the opportunity is there, we organise theatre and cinema trips for Spanish students if there is a suitable play or film on. In previous years we have seen ‘The Three Cornered Hat’ in Cambridge, The Buena Vista Social Club playing live in Norwich and a variety of films including ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ and ‘The Sea Inside’.
The Spanish department is involved in wider MFL department events such as Translation Competitions, Language Days and organising the Flash Fiction Competition which is judged by Oxford University and encourages pupils to demonstrate their language skills through creative writing.