Modern Foreign Languages

At St. Mary’s Catholic School, most students study two languages in Year 7.  In Year 7 the topics in French include About Me, Family and Friends, At Home and Out and About. In Italian, students study the topics of About Me, My Family, At School, Daily routine and My Town.  Spanish students study My classroom, Family and Friends, School, My Home, Leisure and My Town. In Year 8, students study only one language. The topics for French include My Free-time, Out and About and Holidays.  In Italian, students learn about Family (quick revision), School, Items of Clothing, Christmas in Italy, Free-time activities, My Town, Food and Drink. In Spanish, students revise personal details and learn about the topics of Family, School, Home, Leisure and Town.

In Year 9 students continue with the language they have chosen in Year 8. They start the AQA GCSE course and study the topics of Me, my family and friends and Technology in everyday life. Key Stage 3 French students use Expo 1 and 2 as a base and from Year 9 onwards the AQA French GCSE textbooks from OUP. Spanish students use Mira 1 and 2 as well as the AQA Spanish GCSE textbooks from OUP. In Italian students start the Edexcel GCSE course and study the topics of Family and Friends, Relationships and Role Models, Going out, Food and Meal, Social media and Technology. Italian students use Amici (2nd edition) textbooks.

All Key Stage 3 students are regularly assessed. Common Assessments take place termly and students are set according to ability. Grammar is an important part of the learning and students use dictionaries in class to further their learning and independence.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Modern Foreign Languages – French/ Italian/Spanish

Assessment Methods

At Key Stage 4 French, Italian and Spanish are currently options for our students. French and Spanish follow the AQA examination board, whereas Italian follows the Pearson examination board.  The final examinations consist of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing exams each worth 25% of the overall grade. There are two tiers for each examination and the students take either Foundation or Higher tier.
NB: students who are fortunate to speak languages other than those on offer at St Mary’s can also be given the opportunity to sit a GCSE and the Department will help them achieve this.
More information can be found on and

GCSE courses in French and Spanish look at three themes:-
1. Identity and culture
2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest
3. Current and future study and employment

GCSE Italian looks at five themes:
1. Identity and culture
2. Local area, holiday, travel
3. School
4. Future aspirations, study and work
5. International and global dimension

The Speaking unit is worth 25% of the qualification as a whole. Students complete three tasks: a rôle-play, a picture presentation, and general conversation.

As well as essay writing, the students complete a translation task from English into the foreign language. (In the Reading paper there is also translation task from the foreign language into English).

Key Stage 5

Languages complement many subjects at university and the skills learnt through languages are easily transferable: communication, thinking and analytical skills to name but a few.
The examination board for A Level French we use is AQA and Pearson for Italian and Spanish.

For French the themes are:
1. Social issues and trends
2. Political and artistic culture

Paper 1 is a Listening, Reading and Writing paper worth 50% of the grade and Paper 2 is a Writing examination worth 20% of the examination. This includes two set texts. Paper 3 is a Speaking examination worth 30% and includes a discussion of a stimulus card, and a presentation and discussion of an independent research project. Further information is available from:

For Italian the themes are:
1. I cambiamenti della società italiana
2. La cultura politica ed artistica nei Paesi di lingua italiana
3. L’Italia: una società in evoluzione
4. Dal fascismo ai giorni nostril

For Spanish the themes are:
1. La evolución de la sociedad española
2. La cultura política y artística en el mundo hispanohablante
3. La inmigración y la sociedad multicultural española
4. La dictadura franquista y la transición a la democracia

Italian and Spanish are similar except for the weightings of the paper. Paper 1 is worth 40% of the grade, while Paper 2 and 3 are worth 30% each. Further information is available from:



Upcoming Events

23 Sep

Join us online for our Virtual Open Evening for September 2021 Yr 7 Intake

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