Languages

At Finham Park School 2, we believe that the study of a foreign language not only provides our pupils with useful skills which are fast becoming essential in a modern and highly competitive world, but it also gives them a liberating and life-enhancing experience, which adds breadth to their cultural, social and linguistic knowledge and skills.

The languages department is made up of nine members of staff with most staff able to teach two foreign languages. We also have two or three visiting Hanban teachers from China each year. The Department has a commitment to extending learning beyond the formal curriculum. We have links with schools in Almería, Noyon and Shanghai.

In Year 7, most of our pupils study French or Spanish with a small group studying Mandarin through the MEP. In Y7/Y8 French and Spanish are taught through a bespoke skills focused course linked to Studio in French and Mira/Viva in Spanish.

Y7 topics include: Y8 topics include:
Hello! Who am I?
Spies and Villains
My Daily Routine
A Tropical Island
Spare time activities
My Holidays
My Area
Yummy ! Food and Health.
TV addict!
Films- detailed study of a
French/Spanish film.
The region of Andalucía or
The city of Paris

In Year 7 pupils are assessed on their listening and speaking skills alongside a focus on grammar and translation skills.  In Year 8 the skill of reading is added and finally in Year 9, 10 and 11 all 4 skills are assessed in line with the GCSE criteria.  Pupils are currently taught in mixed ability groups in Year 7 and 8 with setting in Year 9.  Substantial use is made of the target language in the classroom, and there is a strong emphasis on quality of relationships and on confidence building.  Lessons are lively, carefully structured and interactive.

At GCSE, the Department prepares candidates for the AQA, specification over the course of 3 years.  Again it is a bespoke course supported by Studio in French and ¡Viva! in Spanish. This is a linear course and students are examined in year 11 on the 4 skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The themes covered are:

  • Theme 1: Identity and Culture
  • Theme 2: Local, National, International and Global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and Future study and Employment

Finham Park is the home of the only secondary school Confucius Classroom in the West Midlands. As part of the year 7 and 8 enrichment programme, all pupils in year 7 & 8 take two 12 week modules in Mandarin and Chinese culture. In year 9, Mandarin is one of the options available as part of the 3 year KS4 programme.

In addition to the Confucius Classroom, Finham Park was identified as one of the hub schools to deliver the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP), an intensive language learning programme funded by the British government.  From their arrival in Y7, MEP students receive four hours per week of Mandarin tuition and complete up to four hours per week of independent study in the form of online activities, language and project work. With this generous amount of curriculum time, students make rapid progress and quickly build up confidence in understanding the language and culture of China.  They also receive plenty of opportunities to enjoy cultural activities, for example a visit this year from a Chinese language rock band and shadow-puppet workshops, as well as opportunities to represent the school at special events.