Southgate’s MFL department curriculum embeds listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through strategies that develop student confidence in these four skills.

The department's philosophy is that languages are more than grammar and vocabulary – they are a means of communication, learning about other cultures and broadening our students’ horizons. From the start, we instill in students the understanding that language is how we communicate with people from around the world; that mistakes do not matter as communication is key. Students learn to appreciate that they are global citizens and that being able to speak and understand just English is not enough in the modern world.

In Y7 we emphasise the importance of phonics and the sound systems of the language to ensure students grow in confidence with speaking and pronouncing words accurately; this supports their skills in listening. We begin by teaching present tense of common verbs such as ‘to be’, ‘to have’ as well as regular verb endings in the present. We also teach students how to recognise and use past, future and conditional tenses so they can access higher-level texts and are preparing for the rigours of the GCSE.

In Y8 and Y9 we build on and enhance the language skills and strategies developed in Y7. We teach past, future and conditional tenses as well as how to write in a more sophisticated way, giving and justifying opinions. We expose students to more challenging language and teach them techniques to understand and write at higher level. KS3 trips enhance student learning as they begin use language in authentic situations. The KS3 languages club offers students opportunities to have fun with the language.

At KS4 we consolidate prior knowledge of tenses and how to apply them in writing and identify them in listening and reading in different contexts and registers. We expose students to more authentic language such as idioms, using authentic texts and resources such as literature and poetry. Memorisation and revision techniques are regularly discussed in lessons as well as the skills of decoding spoken and written texts. Students learn about grammar and etymology through learning the target language. KS4 trips afford students the opportunity to experience using language spontaneously in real-life situations.

At KS5, learning is very much embedded in the culture of the target language’s countries. Students revisit grammar learned at KS4 and learn how to form compound tenses. The focus is on developing students’ fluency and spontaneity in speech. Students learn how to write essays discussing and analysing key themes and symbolism in film and literature. Research skills are developed for students’ individual research projects.