News story: Linguists show their Creativity
Modern Foreign Languages is one of the largest departments in the school. We are based in a suite of classrooms, each of which is equipped with state of the art digital audio and visual equipment. All pupils learn French throughout KS3 and then begin a second language in Year 8.
Compared with similar schools around the country, LRGS boasts a strong intake of students who pursue one or more modern languages in the Sixth Form. With over 80% of students attaining an A or B grade at A-level, results are very good. Indeed, a couple of years ago, the school received an award for the best A-level Spanish results achieved by boys in a selective state school. We currently have a number of former pupils studying one or more MFL at Oxford and Cambridge University .
Within school, we work in close collaboration with Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. We are dedicated to training PGCE students.
In June 2012 we received the Prince's Teaching Award for having a creative and challenging curriculum. We set ourselves annual targets to continue improving and developing the breadth of our curriculum.
At Key Stage 3, the curriculum is focussed on extending the pupils' cultural knowledge. Our ethos is to encourage pupils to use the target language creatively and we routinely structure Schemes of Work and enter competitions with this aim in mind.
We have a French assistant and a native speaker teacher for German and Spanish. This supports the students' cultural understanding, comprehension skills and pronunciation.
Aims of the department:
- To ensure all boys fulfil their potential in understanding and communicating in a modern foreign language
- To foster an appreciation and respect for other cultures and people groups
- To nurture an awareness and understanding of how language works
- To develop fundamental cross-curricular skills such as literacy, numeracy, ICT, problem solving and working with others
- To ensure students become informed, active players within society
European trips and exchanges
Pupils studying Modern Foreign Languages have the opportunity to go abroad on exchanges in France, Germany and Spain, where they live with host families for a week. The primary purpose is to improve language skills, but we see it as an opportunity for pupils on both sides to develop their social skills, both as hosts and guests, and to gain a greater understanding of and empathy with each other's culture
Nearly half of the Year 8 year group go on the annual Normandy trip.
Miss S Haigh BA Head of Department
A graduate of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Miss Haigh teaches both French and German. As Head of Department, she co-ordinates the teaching of French at Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form. At A-level, Miss Haigh is our expert in 17th century literature and she also teaches French cinema with the Sixth Form. She is our subject mentor for PGCE students at the University of Cumbria and a lead teacher for the Strategic Learning Network for the area. She also works with the University to deliver training about A-level teaching for PGCE students.
Mr S Young BSc
Second in Department. Mr Young Teaches both French and German. He graduated from University of Wales Aberystwyth with BSc (Hons). Following studying he moved to the French Alps where he worked in logistics. Having worked throughout the French and Swiss Alps for nine years, he returned to the North West to complete a PGCE at University of Cumbria, Lancaster. Mr Young co-ordinates French at KS3 and French trips, as well as carrying out boarding duties. When not running around getting lost with the LRGS orienteering club, he can generally be found climbing up crags in the Lakes.
Mrs Anke Dower BA
A German and French teacher with a wide experience as a classroom practitioner, Mrs Dower is a native speaker and a key member of our German A-level team. She is Co-ordinator of German and runs the Comenius Project. She also runs trips to Berlin.
Mr S Gorse BA
A graduate from Bradford University, Mr Gorse teaches French and Spanish in Lower, Middle and Upper School. As well as experience in British schools, he has taught in Canada. He is a creative teacher, developing new and refreshing ways of learning a language. Indeed, a number of his ideas have caught the attention of the media and the wider language-learning community. Particular areas of expertise and interest include the use of the internet as a learning platform for audio-visual material.
Mrs L Lightbody BA
A graduate in French and Italian from Lancaster University, Mrs Lightbody teaches French, Italian and Life (Sixth Form General Studies). She is a trained PGCE mentor.
Miss J McKenzie BA
Jemma graduated from the University of Liverpool (French and Hispanic Studies) and moved to Lancaster in 2011 to take on the role of Spanish Co-ordinator. Prior to joining LRGS, she taught for five years and was Head of Subject for three. She has run lots of trips in the past and since joining LRGS has now organised trips for Lower and Middle School to Barcelona and the Spanish Exchange for GCSE and A-level pupils. She enjoys doing practical lessons when possible such as Spanish cookery. She used to live and work as an English assistant in Logrono in La Rioja Spain, she loves swimming and badminton and also teaches French.
Mr A Yelland BA
With a wide range of experience in high profile independent and state schools, Mr Yelland possesses a certain predilection for the intricacies of French grammar. A graduate of Leicester University, he is also an avid reader of classical literature.
Each year, we host a native French Assistant who works mainly with the Fifth and Sixth Form. He or she is, however, available to help any pupil and also assists boarders.
Modern Languages 11+
At Key Stage 3, all boys are taught French in their form groups, thus creating mixed ability teaching sets. Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to support set work with independent study. When starting French at the beginning of the First Year, each pupil should purchase their own French dictionary (available at the school shop). Dictionaries are also required for when students embark on their second language.
Schemes of Work are designed around themed modules. Learning tasks are normally a balance of interactive communicative activities with more traditional reading and writing tasks, all working towards a creative end project for each of the modules. Grammar is usually taught within the context of the topic being studied. KS3 Schemes of Work have recently been re-written to ensure a smoother transition from Primary School and to maximise pupils' cultural knowledge.
Pupils have formal examinations at the end of November and in the summer term but teachers carry out ongoing assessment throughout the year. Below is an outline of the topics covered in each of the three years.
The curriculum is creative and imaginative, being comprised of a series of cross-curricular topic areas such as ‘The planets and space’ (cf. science) and ‘Festivals’ (cf. Religious Studies). It is designed to cater for the individual needs of the child, building on the linguistic skills and knowledge acquired at primary school. Provision for students who have no prior experience of a Modern Language is also incorporated into the course to ensure that they quickly achieve the same standards as their peers. By the end of Year 7 most pupils can understand and use the past (perfect), present and future (aller + infinitive) tenses.
The Second Year modules revolve around Holidays, School life, and Normandy. Pupils build up their confidence in using all three tenses and in developing the details and complexity of their written and spoken French.
Second Modern Foreign Language
In the Second Year, boys begin a second language (German or Spanish). These courses provide a taste of the language, complementing language work in French.
Pupils can either continue with two Modern Languages or drop Spanish or German to pick up Ancient Greek.
In this pre-GCSE year, boys build on previous knowledge and skills within the modules of North Africa, which focuses on the food, culture and architecture of French-speaking Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria; the Arts, which introduces pupils to French films, poetry, fables and Impressionist paintings, and Healthy Living which is slanted towards international sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. These modules provide pupils with a deeper cultural understanding whilst equipping them with the grammatical structures and vocabulary to succeed at GCSE.
11+ Extra-curricular Projects
Lower School pupils may wish to be involved in the International Society (fortnightly lunchtime meetings in Room 9). In the summer, the department organizes an outward bound residential to a château in Normandy. Students visit local places of interest and have the opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor pursuits. All meals and activities are undertaken in French. The trip offers an immersion in French language and culture, blending subject areas such as history, geography and sport.
Modern Languages 13+
In French, German and Spanish, students sit the examinations for the AQA specification. A Modern Language is compulsory at GCSE; however boys can choose any language from those they have already studied. They can't study Spanish or German if they dropped it at the end of second year, so they either carry on with one or both of the languages they study in 3rd year. Indeed, a good number continue with two languages.
Most pupils are taught in mixed ability sets. Peer mentoring is also offered to assist students to reach their potential. Teaching is supported via the Activ teach software on the VLE, allowing pupils to access an online, interactive text book. The GCSE is composed of four papers: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Speaking and writing have a weighting of 30% each while listening and reading each represent 20% of the overall grade. The contexts of learning are:
- Relationship and choices
- Free time and the media
- Home and local area
- School and future plans
- Current and future jobs
13+ Extra-curricular Projects
In the Fourth Year, boys have the opportunity to participate in our exchanges. We have established exchanges with the Herderschule in Rendsburg, two schools near Lyon, anda school in Malaga.
Modern Languages - Sixth Form
Sixth Form Curriculum
At present, we offer AS and A-levels in French, German and Spanish. The course is for students who:
- are interested in the life and issues faced by those living in other countries
- are interested in current affairs
- enjoy manipulating language
- enjoy reading
- enjoy travelling
- enjoy meeting and conversing with new people
The AS Course
The structure of the course is as follows.
Unit 1: Listening, Reading and Writing
- 70% of the AS (35% of the full A-level)
- 2 hour examination
- 110 marks
Unit 2: Speaking Test
- 30% of the AS (15% of the full A-level)
- 35 minutes speaking test (with 20 minutes preparation)
- 50 marks
The AS Course studies the following areas.
- Media: TV, advertising and communication technology
- Popular culture: cinema, music and fashion/trends
- Healthy living and lifestyle: sport/exercise, health and well-being and holiday
- Family and relationships: relationships within the family; friendships, marriage and partnerships
The A2 Course
The structure of the course is as follows.
Unit 3: Listening, Reading and Writing
- 35% of the full A-level
- 2 hour 30 minutes examination
- 110 marks
Unit 4: Speaking Test
- 15% of the full A-level
- 35 minutes speaking test (with 20 minutes preparation)
- 50 marks
The A2 Course studies the following areas.
- Environment: pollution, energy and protecting the planet
- The multi-cultural society: immigration, integration and racism
- Contemporary social issues: wealth and poverty, law and order and the impact of scientifc and technological progress
- The study of two cultural topics from an author, a director, a dramatist, a period of history or a region, amongst others.
6th Form Extra-curricular Projects
In the Sixth Form, there are a large number of travel opportunities.
- French Exchange
- German Exchange to Rendsburg; Berlin visit
- New Spanish Exchange for L6
- The Richard Long Grant for study trips to Spain
- Comenius visits to France (Aix en Provence), Germany, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Poland
- Sixth Form travel grants to assist with special, extraordinary trips
In addition, there are many possibilities for hosting and befriending international students visiting Lancaster. Within the department, from time to time, we organize speaking, reading and creative writing competitions. In terms of honing language skills, every student has a scheduled tutorial with our Foreign Language Assistant. There are also supplementary A-level workshops.
We encourage all pupils to enter the Linguistics Olympiad and invite former pupils and university contacts into School, to guide boys with their UCAS preparation.