Modern Languages at Portland Place
At Portland Place, we teach French, Spanish and Italian. Modern Languages are compulsory from years 5-9, and, because of their importance to the English Baccalaureate, strongly encouraged and popular with years 10 & 11. There is also the possibility to take at least one language at A level. Many other students, who already have another language, are encouraged to develop that, and we can arrange tutors for specialist languages.
We start teaching one language (at present Spanish) in year 5&6; in years 7&8, students are taught two languages of their choice (French, Spanish and-or Italian), specialising in one by year 9. Those students with a special skill in a language are encouraged to develop it, and to take the GCSE (and sometimes A level) early. Our GCSE and A-Level pass-rate is well above the National average.
Students are encouraged to express themselves in foreign tongues, and the curriculum is built around Creativity, Respect, and Love of Culture.
Year 5 & 6 students are encouraged to research and experience different parts of Spanish culture, as well as (merely) learn the language. This can include such activities as visits to a tapas bar to experience Spanish cookery, and the creation of a Spanish magazine.
In year 7, 8 and 9 students are learning to describe themselves, their environment and their experience in French, Italian and/or Spanish. They develop their 4 skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) at their own pace with interactive methods and interesting projects. They are also able to use different tenses. Students enjoy working and playing in a different language.
At Key Stage 4, most students study a language: a GCSE in a Language is now becoming a requirement for entry to most top universities in the UK. We have chosen Edexcel as our exam board for French, Spanish and Italian. French and Spanish students will be taking the IGCSE.
At Key Stage 5, students enjoy lessons based on French/Spanish/Italian culture and history including extending their knowledge of grammar and of the country itself. French is using OCR exam board and Spanish and Italian are using Edexcel.
Learning languages does not only involve learning in the classroom as the department offers extra activities to students. The Besancon exchange is an extremely rewarding opportunity to put what has been learnt in the French classroom into practice. The Sicily trip (organised with Humanities) enables students to speak Italian in situ. A visit to the Europa Centre, where students can discover a foreign culture and practise their languages skills during a day-trip, is also organised.
Throughout the year, the department promotes languages with different activities (such as the European Day of Languages, Bastille Day etc), as well as interactive and fun lessons.We aim to inspire students: Language acquisition is a boon and a joy.