About the Department
The Spanish Department forms part of the Modern Languages Department at King’s and consists of four full-time Spanish specialists, all of whom teach at least one other language.
Spanish is a very popular subject at both GCSE and A Level and students achieve excellent academic results. Many students go on to study Spanish at university either as a stand-alone subject or as part of a Joint Honours Degree.
In Spanish, 14% of our most recent GCSE students achieved a top grade of 8 or 9, and 43% achieved a grade 6 or higher. 93% of pupils achieved a grade 4 or higher. Many of our high scoring pupils are now continuing their language studies at A Level. Our A Level Spanish results are consistently ambitious with 80% of our students achieving a grade A-C in 2018.
Subject Content & Syllabus
At Key Stage 3, the ‘Mira’ course is followed. Teaching is dynamic and lively and staff use a variety of activities and approaches to best teach the four skills required in a language classroom: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Year 7 embark upon a ‘taster’ course of Spanish and are taught 4 periods of Spanish per fortnight. The taster course is 16 weeks and the basics are covered, including personal information, numbers, colours and talking about themselves and their family. All students complete an assessment after 7 weeks of teaching. At the end of the taster sessions, students decide upon which languages they wish to continue studying in Year 8 from a choice of French, Spanish, German and Latin.
From Year 8 onward, pupils are put in groups based upon their language choices. Class sizes are 12 - 25 in Years 7- 9. During Year 8 pupils receive 5 periods of Spanish teaching per fortnight plus approximately one hour of homework. In Year 9 pupils are taught Spanish for 5 periods per fortnight and receive around 1½ hours of homework.
Key Stage 4: At GCSE, the AQA Examination Board specification is followed. Teaching from 2016, the skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing are assessed in four papers at the end of Year 11. The topics covered are based around three themes: Theme 1: Identity and culture, Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest, and Theme 3: Current and future study and employment. The oral examination includes role plays and a conversation, while the written examination includes different types of writing tasks of different lengths. In Years 10 and 11, pupils receive 6 periods of Spanish teaching per cycle and approximately 2 hours of homework.
All pupils in Years 10 and 11 benefit from the help of a native speaking Spanish Assistant who is familiar with the examination content. Support sessions where needed are available from the subject teacher.
At A Level, the AQA course is followed. In Years 12 and 13, pupils receive 12 periods of teaching per fortnight. The class sizes do not exceed single figures to ensure that pupils receive the right level of individual attention. All A Level pupils benefit from at least one hour per fortnight of timetabled conversation practice with the Spanish Assistant.
At A Level, the topics covered include: aspects of Spanish-speaking society: current trends; current issues; artistic culture in the Spanish-speaking world and aspects of political life in the Spanish-speaking world. Teaching from 2016, all examinations are taken at the end of Year 13. The examination consists of 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 Spanish book and a film. The oral examination lasts about 20 minutes in total and includes a presentation based on an individual research project.
Monitoring & Assessment
At Key Stage 3, all pupils are assessed each half-term and movement between sets is possible. Pupil progress is closely monitored, appropriate targets for improvement are set with guidance given and regular feedback is given to parents.
At Key Stage 4, pupils are monitored and assessed at the end of each term. Targets are set regularly and support is offered and put in place. Summer end of year examinations are taken at the end of Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. Public exams (GCSE and A Level examinations) are taken in Years 11 and 13.
There are many enrichment opportunities available to Spanish pupils at King’s. At KS3, pupils are invited to attend the MFL Clubs run at both sites. Additional enrichment activities run throughout the year to celebrate such events as European Day of Languages and El Día de Los Muertos as well as the North West Modern Languages Spelling Bee.
At KS4, pupils are encouraged to attend Spanish Club as well as be part of the newly formed MFL editorial team, Linguavox, which gives older students a chance to write in Spanish and be part of something seen by the whole school.
At KS5, there are various opportunities to contribute to the Spanish department and benefit from extra-curricular activities such as study days at nearby universities, trip opportunities and prestigious competitions such as the annual MFL Debating Competition.
Across all Key Stages, there are opportunities to compete in national level competitions which may involve creative writing in Spanish, translation of texts and students may even try their hand at linguistics in the annual UK Linguistics Olympiad.
The range of combined degrees, further education courses and careers involving a language is limitless. The skills acquired though language study are transferable and highly sought after by employers. In terms of Spanish, opportunities extend throughout Central and South America, as well as Europe. Many universities even offer funding for students to continue or extend their language knowledge by travelling or working abroad during the holidays.