Modern Foreign Languages

The aim of the MFL curriculum is to develop successful and effective communicators and to allow students to reflect on their culture alongside understanding new cultures

Curriculum rationale

The aim of the MFL curriculum is to develop successful and effective communicators and to allow students to reflect on their culture alongside understanding new cultures. Lessons encourage students to experiment with the new language structures that they learn and embrace challenge and risk in a safe environment. Regardless of ability or background, all students study a language, either French or Spanish.  Our curriculum is planned over five years to provide all students with a secure foundation on which they can build and equip them with life skills.  Leaving SJN with language skills will open up a range of pathways for their further and higher education and increase their employability. As well as building upon prior knowledge, the curriculum fosters resilience through challenge.  The curriculum is designed to enable all our students to recognise and produce language in three timeframes. We use a wide variety of strategies and resources including use of authentic materials and we encourage students’ use of spontaneous language.  The content of our curriculum enables students to develop an awareness of others and the world outside of the classroom, for example, through teaching about customs and festivals in Francophone and Hispanic countries.  Teaching of social issues broadens their knowledge of the wider world and current affairs.  We use current popular music to help students relate to popular culture.  All of this contributes to challenging stereotypes.  Our multi-sensory approach ensures we appeal to all learning styles, backgrounds and ability.


The MFL curriculum is coherently sequenced with interleaving of topics and important language structures and regular retrieval practice. There is a clear transition between each phase of learning with provision to revisit skills and subject knowledge over time so no student is left behind in their learning.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Plan                                                                                       

Half Term 



Theme 1: Self, family and relationships.   

Marriage and partnership 

Theme 2: Travel and tourism 

Theme 3: My studies  

Life at school and college 

Theme 1: Customs and festivals 

Theme 3: Future plans 


Theme 2: Social issues and global issues 

Charity/voluntary work 

Healthy/unhealthy living 

The environment 



Theme 1: Free time 

Music, cinema and TV 


Food and eating out 

Social media and mobile technology

Exam skills 
5 Theme 2: Home, town, neighbourhood and region Exam skills 

Theme 2: Home, town, neighbourhood, and region

Exam skills



In MFL students do a weekly spelling test, this is set on Beehive and students are also given a paper copy of the words they will be learning each half-term. Research shows that vocabulary is the single most important factor in driving proficiency in languages. We carefully select topic words for students to learn the English definition of and high-frequency words for students to learn the target language spelling for. Pupils should spend time at home learning and practicing the words they are set each week. They will be tested on the English definition for the first 10 words and will need to learn the French/ Spanish spelling for words 11-20. This is vital in ensuring they are well prepared for their GCSE exams. Students are supported in using a variety of strategies such as; look- cover- write- check, word pyramids, dictation etc. Another strategy we promote is to use Quizlet, a link for the week's spellings is on Beehive and uses flashcards and games to support learning the spellings. Spellings will be tested within the following week. Students may also be given additional tasks to complete. These tasks will be varied and may consist of a piece of writing or a speaking task on the topic being studied; a translation activity; a reading comprehension task or an online homework.

Curriculum Assessment

The curriculum integrates low stakes formative assessments in the form of interim tasks and weekly vocabulary tests and retrieval tests as well as summative assessments at the end of each topic.

Students are assessed in at least two skills at the end of each topic including a receptive skill (reading and listening) and a productive skill (writing and speaking).  Students are given a WWW and EBI to help them improve and are provided with a closing the gap task to help them make improvements.  Challenge tasks are provided for extension. 

Our writing and speaking assessments criteria are made explicit to students.  For most tasks the expectation is for students to extend their verbal and written responses with connectives, intensifiers, opinions and justifications. 

Summative and formative assessments are used to inform us of our students’ progress and enable us to provide intervention where students are at risk of not meeting their target. 

How the course will be examined  

The AQA GCSE has a Foundation Tier (grades 1-5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4-9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series. Terminal exams take place at the end of Year 11. 


Paper 1: Listening 

Paper 2: Speaking 

Paper 3: Reading 

Paper 4: Writing 

What is assessed? 

Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language 

Communicating and interacting effectively in speech for a variety of purposes. 

Understanding and responding to different types of written language. 

Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes 

How it is assessed? 

Written exam 


35 minutes 40 marks 


45 minutes 50 marks 

Spoken recorded exam with teacher 


7-9 minutes + preparation time  

60 marks 


10-12 minutes + preparation time  

60 marks  

Written exam 


45 minutes 60 marks 


1 hour 60 marks  

Written exam 


1 hour 50 marks Higher  

1 hour 15 minutes 60 marks 

Question Type 

Foundation and Higher Tier  

Section A: Questions in English to be answered in English Section B: Questions in the Target Language to be answered in the Target Language. 

Foundation and Higher Tier  

Role play: 15 marks (2 mins)  


Photo card: 15 marks (2-3 mins)  


General conversation: 30 marks (3-7 mins) 

Foundation and Higher Tier  

Section A: Questions in English to be answered in English  

Section B: Questions in the Target Language to be answered in the Target Language Section C: Translation from the Target Language into English 


Key message, Short Passage, Translation from English into the Target Language, Structured writing task from a choice of two  


Structured writing task from choice of two, Open-ended writing task from a choice of two, Translation from English into the Target Language 

% of GCSE 







We offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities in Modern Foreign Languages.
European Day of Languages is celebrated each year through quizzes and competitions and through celebrating the vast number of languages spoken by the students at SJN. In addition, visiting speakers are used to highlight the cultural aspects of the language and to promote the career opportunities within the subject.