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Modern Languages

Our aim is to develop a love of languages and a good grounding in different types of language. In Years 7 and 8, boys study French, German and Spanish, and they subsequently have the chance to pick up Arabic (Year 9) and Russian (Year 10). In addition, we run ab initio courses in Japanese and Italian in the Sixth Form. One Modern Language is a compulsory component of the GCSE curriculum, but many boys do two or even three.

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School has been at the forefront of the teaching of Modern Languages for the last forty years. A recent evaluation of our languages provision has led to further developments within this part of the curriculum.

In Years 7 and 8, the aim is to develop a love of languages and provide a good grounding in Romance (French & Spanish), Classical (Latin) and Teutonic (German) languages. During Year 7 boys study all four languages on a carousel. In Year 8 they choose to continue to study two of these languages and thereby to deepen their understanding of them.

On entry to Year 9 all pupils (including new 13+ pupils) study two languages. They may continue to study the two languages they chose in Year 8 or they may decide to begin the study of an Exotic language (Arabic).

The full suite of languages is completed on entry to Year 10 when the School gives pupils the opportunity to begin a Slavic language (Russian). All pupils must choose at least one Modern Language to study through to IGCSE, though most boys study two languages and some will choose to study three languages.

The IGCSE examination is taken at the end of Year 11. All four languages follow the CIE specifications. In addition, top Year 11 sets in French, German and Spanish follow the School’s own extension course, accredited by the Institute of Linguists.

All our languages are offered at A level. We currently enter pupils for the AQA AS examination at the end of the Lower Sixth and the A Level examination at the end of the Upper Sixth. In addition we offer non-examined enrichment courses in Italian, Russian, Japanese and Arabic for those boys wishing to encounter a new language or culture.

A further distinguishing feature of the department is the very wide programme of trips and exchanges in which boys are strongly encouraged to participate. Indeed, we believe we have more ‘traditional’ reciprocal exchanges than any other school in the UK. We have close – and in some cases very long-standing - links with schools in many European countries. We firmly believe that our pupils are well-served by spending a period of time living with a foreign family and experiencing at first hand the culture of the language they are studying.

Some photos of students in MFL, please click to open the image full size in a new window