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Welcome to the Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages at Therfield School
Who are we?
We are a team of experienced teachers who are all University Language graduates with Batchelor of Arts degrees in French and/or German. Amongst our other interests and degree subjects we have Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Politics, History and Linguistics. The team have all spent time living in France and/or Germany and are passionate about the opportunities the knowledge of a foreign language can offer students.
Our Trips and Exchanges
The Faculty runs several exciting trips and exchanges. For students in Years 7/8 we offer a ‘European Experience’ trip which visits Strasbourg in France and Freiburg & Triberg in Germany. Our Year 9, KS4 and KS5 linguists are offered the chance to take part in the German exchange to Munich and we hope to be able to run the same for French in the next year or two.
In MFL, as well as our residential trips we have a wide range of extra curricular activities and events which run most years and offer something to all year groups. These include the accredited Language Leaders Programme for Year 9s, the national Spelling Bee contest for Y7 and Translation Bee for Y8 and Y9, UKLO (the UK Linguistics Olympiad) for Y8-Y13 as well as various trips to Surrey University e.g. Routes into Christmas (Y12-13) and the Routes into Languages careers event for Y8-9. We also run a range of mini projects in class to encourage students to use language for ‘real’ purposes and promote knowledge of French/German culture, for example Y10/11 run a Christmas Market, Y7s organise a fashion show, Y8s design a French restaurant and Y9s research and deliver presentations about language learning and careers.
Students who speak another language at home are encouraged to sit additional qualifications in these languages; there is a wide range of qualifications available at both GCSE and A level.
Which languages do we teach at Therfield?
All students in Year 7 start with French. Students are placed in ability groups at the beginning of year 8 to maximise their learning, and once this has happened, sets 1 and 2 take up German too. All students continue with their study of one or two languages all the way through Key Stage 3, to the end of Year 9. The setting system is flexible: students may go up or down a set to fit in with their learning requirements.
Which Language at Key Stage 4?
Languages are currently not compulsory at KS4, but the government have said that they intend to make MFL a compulsory subject within the next couple of years. Universities and colleges of further education state that they expect future students to have a GCSE in an MFL and it forms part of the English Baccalaureate qualification. The majority of students already continue with at least one language to GCSE level, and those students who have taken both French and German at KS3 can take both of them at GCSE if they wish. This is a fantastic opportunity for our budding linguists and a great route to AS and A level. GCSE classes have 5 lessons per fortnight.
How do we teach MFL here at Therfield?
Students have 5 MFL lessons a fortnight. All students have one lesson per fortnight in the MFL ICT suite which allows them guided access to up-to-date language learning software. This has been shown to greatly increase their vocabulary in the foreign language and is also good fun. Students use a language text book (Expo for French and Echo for German) to support their learning. Students are expected to learn vocabulary in their Vital Vocab book and are tested on a fortnightly basis at all levels. In class we focus on Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing, using role plays and vocabulary practice as often as possible. All our classrooms are equipped with projectors and access to digital audio allowing the team to prepare lessons which use a wide variety of teaching techniques.