The Spanish department is part of the Modern Languages department, situated in the Library block. Despite only having been taught at Gresham’s for 11 years, 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 Edexcel IGCSE 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 (Oral Examination, 12-13 minutes, WJEC, 30%)
This consists of a presentation of an independent research project, (2 minutes), an ensuing discussion (9-10 minutes), on the content of the project followed by a theme-based discussion, (5-6 minutes).
Spanish Component 2 (Reading, Listening and Translation, 2 hours 30 minutes, WJEC, 50%)
The exam is based around the two main themes of Social Issues and Trends, (subtopics –Travel and Explorations and Diversity and Difference), and Political and Intellectual and/or Artistic Culture, (subtopics – Contemporary Youth Culture ). The reading element is comprehension based questions on Spanish documents in a supplementary folder. The translations are from Spanish to English and vice versa.
Spanish Component 3 (Essay paper, 2 hours, WJEC, 20%)
Two x 300 word essays based on either two literary texts studied or one literary text and one film.
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 Standard and Higher level papers cover a breadth of topics. Three topics of Social Relationships, Communication and Media and Global Issues as well as aspects for Health, Leisure, Cultural Diversity and Customs and Traditions. The course is examined at the end of the two year linear course and consists of 70% External Assessment and 30% Internal Assessment.
- External Assessment: Paper 1, (1hr 30mins, 25%), Paper 2 (1hr, 30mins, 25%), 1 x Written assignment, (20%)
- Internal Assessment: Individual Oral, (10mins, 20%), which is based on a stimulus picture and an Interactive Oral, (10%).
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%: oral activity to be internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IBO. Individual Oral 25%: Short interview with the teacher based on a picture stimulus followed by a short conversation.
- External Assessment: Written Component 75% Paper 1: Text Handling (1.5 hours) 30%: Text handling exercises based on four written texts Paper 2: Written Production (1 hour) 25%: Section A: Short writing task, one writing task from a choice of two. Section B: Extended writing task, one writing task from a choice of three. Written assignment: 200-300 words based on an aspect of the target language culture, to do in their own time.
The Spanish department runs an exchange with the Colegio San Jose in Valladolid, taking students studying Spanish for Year 11 and the Sixth Form for a week to Spain in the February half term, with the Spanish students visiting in March. Pupils have the chance to visit several Spanish cities, stay with host families to improve their Spanish and experience at first-hand Spanish culture and society.
The department also runs a very popular twice-termly Spanish Society, known as the Sociedad Abdala Bucaram. 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 also is involved in wider MFL department events such as Translation workshops and Language Days.