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Howden School

Howden School



As a Languages Department at Howden School we aim "[to broaden horizons and] to ensure pupils can produce [and understand] language quickly" (Dr Gianfranco Conti, 11.07.19)

Language study at Howden aims to build on the skills and knowledge developed in KS2 as well as providing new opportunities to improve listening, reading, writing and speaking as well as cultural knowledge.  We teach using a method known as EPI, which offers extensive practice of common structures and chunks of languages, which can be recycled in a range of topics and contexts. Learners begin to make links between sound and spelling as well as spotting patterns in the language and applying these rules in their work 

Prior to COVID we offered an annual opportunity to visit Paris and Disneyland during the Easter holidays, we hope to restart this as soon as possible.  In Year 9 there is the opportunity for some learners to study Spanish and we have previously offered a four-day trip to Madrid.

Opportunities are also provided for some learners to learn Japanese and Chinese. There is a Japanese online club.   The Chinese Whispers Choir, organised by the Confucius Institute at Hull University, practises weekly and participates in performances, as well as national and international competitions.  There are learners in Year 7 and 8 who are studying Chinese in addition to French and we hope to enter them for the HSK awards.  

We run a half-termly rewards café to reward learners with excellent effort in class and with self study.  We also run a number of other whole school tutor time activities and house competitions to develop cultural understanding and broaden horizons. 

Life Long learning in Year 10 and 11 follows a linguistics course, drawing on resources from UKLO and looking at problem solving as well as linguistic understanding.  Some pupils are entered for the annual UKLO awards.

'Studying a foreign language opens up new worlds and helps you to appreciate other languages, countries, cultures and communities.  Exposure to music, films, food, festivals and literature are all integral parts of language learning, as well as trips and visits.  We live in an increasingly global environment, which we need to be able to access through openness and understanding.'

Miss. V. Brownlee, Curriculum Area Leader of MFL

Key Stage 3 

Year 7

All learners begin their language studies with French focusing on the topics of opinions, hobbies and holidays.  They will develop their use and understanding of verbs.  They can join the Chinese Choir and there is a Japanese themed Deep Learning Day.  A small number of pupils will have the opportunity to learn Chinese with teachers from the Confucius Institute.

Year 8

A small number of pupils will have the opportunity to continue to learn Chinese with teachers from the Confucius Institute.  Pupils participate in a Linguatrivia competition and build models of French monuments to develop their cultural knowledge

Key Stage 4 

Year 9

Learners begin their GCSE courses during year 9, where they develop their cultural knowledge and language skills. Pupils can choose to continue to learn French or begin an ab initio Spanish GCSE course, which builds on the language learning skills developed in French in year 7 and 8.  In French pupils begin by revisiting the topics of personal details and hobbies, but use an increasing range of vocabulary and grammatical structures than they met in KS3.  .  

Year 10

Learners continue with their GCSE courses, further developing their knowledge and understanding as well as beginning to formally prepare for the speaking element of the GCSE. 

Year 11

Learners continue with their GCSE courses, preparing for their GCSE examinations with an initial focus on the speaking and writing elements of the exam. 

Useful Links

• – Language learning games (ask your teacher for the password)
• – (GCSE languages)
• – Useful for translations or looking up words
• – Useful for GCSE revision
• – Language practise
• – Check pronunciation for GCSE speaking