One of the most rewarding aspects of human experience is our ability to connect with others. Being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an incredible gift. Bilinguals have the unique opportunity to communicate with a wider range of people in their personal and professional lives. Knowing the language makes you a local no matter where you are, opening up your world literally and figuratively. Language skills can be a significant competitive advantage that sets you apart from your monolingual peers. They are among the top eight skills required of all occupations—no matter your sector or skill level—and the demand for bilingual professionals is rising exponentially. Employers are seeking professionals who can communicate seamlessly with customers in new and expanding overseas markets, as well as serve and sell to a large foreign-born population here at home. Moreover, there are many undeniable cognitive benefits of learning languages. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration and better listening skills. They switch between competing tasks and monitor changes in their environment more easily than monolinguals, as well as display signs of greater creativity and flexibility. It also helps to stave off mental aging and cognitive decline.
At Castle Donington College, French and Spanish are taught to all pupils in Year 7 and 8 with some specialisation in Year 9. Both languages will be offered as a GCSE and EBacc option at Key Stage 4 in 2022.
Our languages curriculum exceeds the demands of the National Curriculum and aims to develop the understanding of spoken and written language from a variety of real world sources. It increases opportunities for spontaneous speech through dialogue in order to build confidence and fluency when communicating. The subject also facilitates the production of written responses at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using a variety of grammatical structures and makes use of appropriate social conventions, including informal and formal address. It promotes curiosity, as well as developing awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries or communities where the language is spoken. The curriculum also allows for collaboration with other curriculum areas to deepen learning and encourage bilingualism. It helps to develop resilient and independent learners in order to maximise their progress and prepare them for the next stage in their education irrespective of their attainment and background. Spanish also provides enrichment opportunities to encourage responsible global citizens who would positively contribute to society.
Pupils studying languages will build on their prior knowledge and learn to express their ideas on a wide range of topics. Particular emphasis is placed on developing spoken fluency, with the majority of activities in lessons conducted in the target language. In addition to furthering linguistic competence, pupils will learn about the culture of countries where French and Spanish are spoken.
At Castle Donington College we take a thematic approach to languages, covering three broad themes (Identity and culture; local, national, international and global areas of interest; current and future study and employment). We ensure that opportunities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills exist and that the programme is relevant and appropriate to the ethos of the College and the needs of our students.
Modern Foreign Languages is taught to all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 at least five lessons per fortnight. Pupils are taught in mixed ability tutor groups in all years.