About the Department
The German Department has three members of staff: Mrs Houghton (Head of German; awarded German Teacher of the Year 2016), Mrs Seth (Vice-Principal of the Girls’ Division) and Mr Dalgleish (Head of Modern Languages, i/c French). In the recent parental survey, the German Department ranked 2nd in the school for parental satisfaction (93%).
Subject Content & Syllabus
Learning German in Years 7, 8 and 9: At KS3 the Heinemann Echo Express course is followed. Year 7 enjoy a 16 week German course. Years 8 and 9 pupils receive 5 periods of teaching per fortnight. Class sizes vary from 12 – 25.
GCSE German in Years 10 and 11: Pupils follow the AQA Examination Board. The topics covered are: ‘Identity and culture’, ‘Local, national, international and global areas of interest’ and ‘Study and em- ployment’. Assessment takes place at the end of Year 11 in each of the four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. At KS4 pupils receive 6 periods of teaching per cycle and all pupils benefit from the help of a native Language Assistant.
A Level German in Years 12 and 13: A minimum of Grade A at GCSE is recommended to embark on Ger- man A Level. The AQA course is followed. Class sizes in Years 12 and 13 are often small; hence students receive an excellent level of individual tuition. All students benefit from additional weekly lessons with the Language Assistant, which are devoted to development of speaking skills. At A Level the topics covered include current issues, politics, multiculturalism and artistic culture. At the end of Year 13 students undertake a speaking exam and two written papers; Paper 1 covers listening, reading and writing and Paper 2 is an essay paper based on the study of a cultural topic. The oral examination lasts about 20 minutes in total and includes a presentation based on an individual research project.
We run a highly successful programme of extra-curricular activities. In November 2016 our Y13 German- ists won the North West Schools Debating Competition. There are two trips to Germany currently of- fered: a Berlin Trip for Year 8, and a traditional exchange with our partner school Gymnasium Salva- torkolleg, in Bad Wurzach.
Girls studying German are invited to attend the German Märchentheater club. The 2016 production of Goldlöckchen featured on the Goethe Institute website as an example of best practice in June 2016. In 2015-16, a number of guest speakers and ex-pupils visited the German Department giving a diverse range of lectures and workshops, such as German Film, Grammar, Linguistics and German at Cambridge. We actively promote student-led learning by organising events that allow older pupils to engage with younger pupils in the Foundation, such as story-telling sessions and lunchtime clubs.
In KS4 pupils can join the MFL Editorial Club, who produce a Languages Gazette, entitled Linguavox. Stammtisch is a regular lunchtime German Speaking Workshop for KS4 & 5 students. Previous workshops have included sessions on Idiomatic Phrases, Pronunciation, and Cracking Compounds. For Sixth Formers there is a break-time speaking club, Kaffeekränzchen.
German combines well with all subjects at GCSE and A Level. At university level there are a vast array of degree courses combining German with other disciplines, such as Science and Medicine, Engineering, Law, Business, History and, of course, other languages. German is highly regarded by universities; it is a facilitating subject and having German skills makes you a very employable graduate, particularly in are- as such as scientific research, electronics, aerospace, computing, law, export/import and tourism. The British Council noted in their 'Languages for the Future' report that 45% of UK businesses rate German as the most sought-after language in employees, yet only 6% of the UK adult population possesses a work- ing level of the language. This will surely give our pupils with German a distinct advantage in the future.