We started off the year in Languages celebrating excellent A Level results, with Isuri and Ahmed achieving an A grade in French and German respectively, whilst Aleksandra achieved an A* in German, which she is now putting to good use studying German Law at University.
Our GCSE results were good with 70% of French candidates achieving a C or above, whilst the last GCSE German cohort reached 64% of candidates achieving a C and above. For our Gifted and Talented pupils, this was the last year of Latin GCSE, with only 2 As and 7 A* in year 10. At the end of September, we organised Tutor Group activities around the European Day of Languages, where all tutor groups had activities to do according to their year group. In our annual Languages Assembly, we listening to a dying “click” language from South Africa, getting to grasp with the idea that languages and cultures are fast disappearing and that our cultural diversity and different languages are things to be proud of: 70% of us speak a language other than English at home, there is much to celebrate!
The Onatti Theatre Company visited the school twice, performing plays in French and Spanish. As always, the actors were hilarious and some pupils even took part. This provided a perfect opportunity to enjoy and develop language skills without work!
In November, Year 11 pupils were offered the chance to participate in a Saturday workshop to prepare for their mock examinations. With the advent of the new style GCSE, this was a perfect opportunity to practise Speaking and Writing skills, preparing in particular for the nerve-wracking speaking examination. A vast majority of pupils worked hard for these and the experience was useful for candidates and teachers alike, becoming confident with the new specifications.
The term came to a festive close with an eagerly anticipated trip to Lille Christmas market, with some pupils making a trip to Lille a yearly event. This proved to be another very successful day spent discovering this beautiful French town where pupils had time for shopping and sampling the delicious continental food in the market. Fifty pupils travelled by coach for the day and had fun looking round the market, buying lots of Christmas presents and riding on the ferris wheel.
For GCSE Spanish, the highlight of the year has to be the short residential trip to Madrid. A select 11 pupils went to visit the Spanish capital in January, developing their Spanish and enjoying the visits organised for them. We will continue offering the chance to discover a region of France or Spain every year, alternating countries: the next trip is to northern France in February 2019. Such trips provide a great and fun opportunity to discover another place and culture, whilst developing language skills.
In March, teachers in the Languages Department took part in the whole school's effort to promote reading and the love of books, dressing up as a character from a loved book. This tied in well with our focus on Year 9 short stories, which we have been reading throughout the year.
This year four Year 8 pupils decided to tackle the Capital L Language Challenge. The Challenge involves them competing against other schools to complete a variety of tasks in French, Spanish or any other language throughout the year, spending one lunchtime a week developing their ideas alongside their mastery of Spanish. Maria, Livleen, Sri and Sathyanjali came third overall and were showcased at the event on June 15th 2018 at SOAS University of London. After three successful years, we are looking forward to another group taking up the baton of using Languages creatively and for fun activities in 2018-19.
Mr Rakoto continued to organise the Spelling Bee competition with our year 7, in both French and Spanish. After school heats, three pupils represented the school in the regional final in the summer term, doing us proud in the midst of many private and selective schools. We are looking forward to continuing this scheme, developing pupils’ spelling and knowledge of vocabulary.
For the first time this year, Year 8 pupils al took part in the St Mary’s University Poetry competition. After class heats and lunchtime quarter and semi-finals, the finalists are representing the school at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, in June. A perfect way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone whilst developing your love of languages, literature and declamation. This event rounds up a very busy 2017-18 and we look forward to helping pupils enrich their learning experience, develop their independence and celebrate cultural differences in 2018-19!