Modern Languages

‘Wide range of languages on offer, new state of the art language labs’ - Good Schools Guide

The aims of the Modern Languages Department are to promote interest in and enjoyment of language learning. Central to our teaching approach is encouraging all of our students to be independent, no matter what their level and giving them the tools to further their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge outside of the classroom. Whilst communication remains at the forefront of day to day work, a rigorous approach to grammar plays a central role in many lessons. We value all skills equally and stretch all students in every lesson.

We offer French, German and Spanish to GCSE, with French as a compulsory language in the first year of the Lower School. Italian is being offered to the F Block for the first time in 2013. We currently follow the CIE IGCSE syllabus. At A Level we offer French, German and Spanish. We follow the OCR syllabus in French and Spanish but offer the PreU in German. We try to cover as much literature as possible alongside the set A Level topics, exploring cultural themes in greater depth wherever possible. Upper School students can also opt for an ab initio language and we currently offer Russian GCSE, Japanese GCSE and Italian AS Level.  

We typically run three or four trips per academic year; there are Upper School exchanges with schools in Vienna and Madrid, along with a French home-stay trip to Montpellier. Lower School trips also happen regularly.

The students also, write, edit and code their own online magazine Page Polyglotte. Click the image below for the latest version.

The School recently opened its purpose-built, impressive Modern Languages building with 11 classrooms, two language labs and a sixth form linguists’ common room with 3D European television, along with four interview rooms for work with foreign language assistants.

The state-of-the-art language labs feature software that allows students to join sessions from any networked school computer.

Head of the Modern Languages Department, Rachel Wickes, said she could not have hoped for better teaching accommodation.

“The classrooms are spacious and light, thanks to 500m2 of glass, and because the building is designed specifically for language teaching, the sound insulation in each room is fantastic.

“Students and staff love the new centre, which provides the perfect environment for learning,” she added.

The building is also on target to achieve an 'excellent' green rating from world environmental assessors BREEAM*, the new language centre follows a strict sustainability strategy covering all aspects of environmental excellence, from health and well-being to ecology. Click here for more information.

 Page Polyglotte - click here


C.M. Brown, B.A. Head of Department 

Dr. A.C. Leamon, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Head of French 

Mrs C.A. O’Mahoney, B.A. Head of Spanish 

Mrs W.J. Corvi, B.Ed., P.G.C.E. 

S. Foulds, B.A., P.G.C.E. 

Miss J. Holroyd, B.A., P.G.C.E. 

Dr. B. Parolin, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., P.G.C.E. Teacher in charge of Italian 

Ms C. Piquard, M.A., P.G.C.E. 

Ms B.S. Sanchesz-Alonso, B.A., B.A., P.G.C.E. 

Dr. J.C. Smith, M.A., D. Phil., P.G.C.E.

There are also four language assistants, two in the French department and one in the German and Spanish departments respectively.