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Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School


Curriculum Intent and Overview

Our curriculum ensures logical sequencing to enable students to progress in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students learn to rely on recall of core vocabulary and grammatical structures which they then apply to a variety of scenarios and we promote resilience as students review and improve their work. We develop:

  • A love of languages
  • An appreciation of other cultures
  • Independent, competent and confident linguists




The facility to understand and communicate in Spanish will give students an insight into another culture and way of life. Students will gain an appreciation of the way languages work, and will learn to understand their own language better. They will gain valuable transferable skills in analysing and translating texts accurately. Above all, they will develop an awareness of how language-learning can open doors both socially and economically as they consider their future plans.

The Department

Curriculum Leader: Mrs D Buckley
KS3 and K5 coordinator: Mrs C Antona
KS4 coordinator: Mrs M Benekou


What will be studied?

Year 7 – Topics include: Myself, School, My Family, My House

Year 8 – Topics include: Daily Routine, Holidays, Food and Drink, Fashion

Year 9 – Topics are taken from Modules 1 and 2 of the GCSE textbook covering Local area, Holiday & Travel and School.

What support is needed?

Module summary review questions are issued to students for each of the modules covered each year. This is the basis for preparation for assessments throughout the year and for the end of year examination.

Students have access to the ebook on Active Learn, and will be able to access audio files as well as transcripts.

How will students be assessed?

  • At the end of each half-term students are assessed in one of the four skills of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. In addition, they will be assessed on translation from and into French.
  • End of year examination in Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and translation.
  • From year 7 onwards, students develop their phonic skills. Assessments will include transcription and reading aloud in Spanish.  

What other opportunities are there?

Languages Ambassadors

Each year, Year 8 students are invited to apply to become Languages ambassadors (LAs).  During the year, students will participate in a variety of language-based activities including investigating Christmas traditions in different European countries and learning festive expressions in other languages. They prepare presentations for assemblies and take part in taster lessons of other languages, for example Russian and Greek. The LAs will also represent the Languages Department at school events, in particular at Open Evening.

Year 10 Spanish trip in conjunction with the Art Department

Students in Y10 are offered the opportunity of a 4-day trip to Madrid. The aim of the trip is to experience the language and culture of Spain through visits to art galleries such as the Prado, and participation in language classes run by staff in a local language school.


Exam Board: Edexcel

Specification number: 1SP0

What will be studied?

Studying a foreign language is an excellent learning opportunity for those who enjoy talking to other people, finding out how language works and learning about different countries and cultures.

GCSE modern languages aim to:

  • build upon skills in language and grammar acquired in Years 7-9
  • express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently
  • develop transferable language learning skills
  • deepen knowledge about how language works in order to increase independent use and understanding.
  • develop a greater awareness of the culture and identity of Spanish-speaking communities and countries
  • apply the 4 skills of speaking and writing, listening and reading to a variety of contexts

There are common themes for all four skills:

  • Identity and culture
  • Local area, holiday and travel
  • Future aspirations, study and work
  • International and global dimension

Learning Methods

A variety of methods are used. They include:

  • becoming independent language learners
  • working with a wide variety of authentic texts
  • emphasis on active use and manipulation of language
  • developing fluency and spontaneity
  • enriching vocabulary through regular testing
  • making links to other areas of the curriculum

How is the course assessed?

Students will be entered for either higher or foundation tier papers in all four skills. Students must be entered for a single tier across all papers. All papers are externally assessed by end of course examination and each paper is worth 25% of the total qualification. There are no controlled assessments.

Listening and Reading papers:

All instructions are in English. Almost all questions are set in English, with up to 4 questions set in Spanish. Question types will comprise both multiple-response and short-answer open response questions. Reading paper includes a translation from Spanish into English. No dictionaries allowed.


Candidates are required to produce written texts of varying lengths to express facts, ideas and opinions. There will be some choice of questions. The paper includes a translation from English into Spanish. No dictionaries allowed.


There will be one test of approximately 10 minutes conducted by teachers in April/May of Y11. This is recorded and sent to the Exam Board. Students will be given three tasks:  a role play, questions based on a picture stimulus and a conversation. The conversation is based on a topic of the student’s choice and another selected by the Board.

What texts are recommended?

Students will be using a classroom copy of the Edexcel Studio 9-1 GCSE textbook. This is also available on the Active Learn platform, along with

What websites are recommended?

BBC Bitesize and Edexcel for past papers

Active Learn – access to the e-Book at both Foundation and Higher. Students have access to audio tracks and to transcripts.

What equipment is needed?

A pen, a ruler and a highlighter are essential at all times. Students are required to provide their own folder and dividers in order to organise their work.

A Spanish dictionary (eg Collins School Dictionary) must be brought to each lesson.

A Level

Exam Board : Edexcel

Specification no: 9SP0

Studying languages at A Level is a great choice! Studying a foreign language enables you to develop key life skills such as the ability to communicate effectively, work well in a team, express and justify opinions and have an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. These are practical and valuable transferable skills which are highly regarded by Universities and future employers.

During the course you will develop your fluency, spontaneity and accuracy in speaking and writing another language. You will also deepen your understanding of social, cultural and political aspects of the countries where the language you are studying is spoken. Who knows – you may become inspired to study or work abroad in the future!

Students have access to an e-textbook and other resources via Dynamic Learning. They will be set assignments using this resource.

Year 12 Languages students are encouraged to apply to become Languages Prefects. This role includes supporting the Year 8 Languages Ambassadors in the preparation and presentation of assemblies, supporting the Languages department at the Post-16 Open Evening and coming up with other ways to encourage a love of language and an appreciation of culture in the school community.

KS5 Spanish Theatre trip

Year 12 and Year 13 students have the opportunity of attending a Spanish-language performance of 'La Casa de Bernarda Alba' at the Cervantes theatre in London. Students will gain an unmissable insight into the staging and effect of the play, which will enhance their appreciation of Lorca's work.

What will be studied?

Over the course of the A-level, students will study a variety of topics as listed below. Topics 1 & 2 are covered in Y12 and topics 3 & 4 in Y13. In addition, students will study a film in Y12 and a literary text in Y13 (see list of texts below). In addition to timetabled teaching hours, each student has a weekly one-20 minute conversation class . This session is dedicated to preparing students for the oral examination. Students will be expected to prepare for these sessions in advance.


How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed by examination at the end of Y13. There are two written papers and one oral examination. The weighting of the papers is as follows:

Paper 1 – 40%
Paper 2 – 30%
Paper 3 – 30%

Paper 1 – Listening, Reading and Translation (2 hours)

  • Listening comprehension: students have independent access to the audio tracks
  • Reading comprehension: based on topic areas studied throughout the two years
  • Translation: into English

Paper 2 – Written response to works and translation (2 hours 40)

  • Translation: into Spanish
  • Essays: Literature essay and film essay (based on texts studied over the 2 years).

Paper 3 – Speaking (21-23 minutes)

Students will be examined by their Teacher

  • Task 1: Stimulus card + discussion (based on topics covered throughout the 2 years)
  • Task 2: Presentation and discussion of Independent Research Project. Students will be required to present and engage in a discussion on a topic of their choice, related to the topic areas covered during the course.

What texts are recommended?

Y12 Set-text: La lengua de las maripoasas (film) dir. José Luis Cuerda
Y12 Recommended text: Modelos de Mujer (novel) Almudena Grandes

Y13 Set-text: La casa de Bernarda Alba (play) Frederico García Lorca
Y12 Recommended text: El laberinto del fauno (film) dir. Guillermo del Toro

What websites are recommended?

Dynamic Learning: students have access to the e-Textbook and to tests and support materials.

What equipment is needed?

A pen, a ruler and a highlighter are essential at all times.

Students will be required to provide a folder with dividers in which to organise their work.

A dictionary and grammar reference

Get in touch

Mr P O'Neill

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans



(To request a paper copy, please contact our Administration Department)

01727 853134