In the Modern Foreign Languages faculty at St Bede’s, the Catholic values of mutual respect are encouraged as students learn to celebrate different cultures in the context of learning their languages. Students are encouraged to consider their Catholic faith in different contexts by studying expressions of faith in other cultures, for example by learning about the main Christian festivals. They are also encouraged to value the created world, as themes connected to global citizenship are taught at each key stage. Valuing the diversity of our student body, the faculty facilitate the entry of students for GCSE in their community languages, where such examinations exist. The vision is to extend this provision to include all students for whom this would be possible.
The MFL faculty strives to be outstanding, and it has built on previous successes and increased the number of students studying GCSE in either French or Spanish, and has larger groups for A level in each language. The progress of students, including BAME and Pupil Premium, in both qualifications is currently above average, and the faculty endeavours to continue these excellent outcomes. Languages are particularly valued by our A level students, and many aspire to continue their languages studies when they leave Areté. A high proportion choose to continue studying a language or languages at university level. While some opt for a conventional languages degree route, more elect to take a combined degree with law, engineering or another discipline. The faculty continues to develop A level linguists with the fluency and competence to enter these fields of study with confidence.
The MFL faculty is developing a challenging curriculum which is well-aligned to “Curriculum @ St Bede’s”, and based on phonics, grammar and vocabulary, as is required in the new GCSE which the first cohort will take in 2025. The curriculum plan is well sequenced with the phonics, grammar and vocabulary required carefully considered and ordered. There will be opportunities throughout to practise retrieval and strengthen students’ knowledge by using a variety of topics, all based on high frequency vocabulary. Each element of phonics, grammar and vocabulary is revisited on a systematic basis, with sentence building activities to encourage independent expression.
All teaching staff in the faculty fully understand the theory underpinning “Teaching and Learning @ St Bede’s” and use a wide range of practical methods to implement these ideas. There is an excellent culture of constant reflection and improvement in the faculty. This will be made possible by faculty leadership, reflective practitioners and fostered in the college CPD programme.
With a history of successful visits abroad, which had to cease during Covid, the faculty now plans such visits again. These are opportunities for language practice, and not just cultural visits.
The MFL faculty is well known and respected in our feeder primary schools, in which we have a primary outreach teacher, who instils in these younger students an inquisitive curiosity for learning a language.
Good relationships are visible in MFL classrooms, and are essential for continued success. Modelling Gospel Values in their demeanour, colleagues continue to guide students, and implement the St Bede’s Way. Colleagues are consistent in their use of praise, house points and other rewards, as well as when sanctioning. Staff liaise with the pastoral team to help students enhance their learning, and maximise their progress.
All colleagues currently contribute to the success of the faculty and their successes are celebrated. Leaders are humble and self-reflective, but also have creative ideas and a willingness to implement them. Workload is managed well, within a culture of mutual support. The faculty is an inspiring and rewarding place to work.