At St. Andrew's School, all pupils learn two modern languages – French and German. French is taught throughout the school, beginning in the Nursery, and German is introduced in Year 5 (age 9). All lessons are taught by specialist language teachers, and the Head of Department is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a setter for the I.S.E.B. (Common Entrance/Common Academic Scholarship examinations board). Every child is entered for the C.E. or a scholarship exam in both languages at the age of 13.
Up to and including in Year 4, the teachers deliver the curriculum using a wide range of materials, but always with a strong oral/aural emphasis. For the very youngest children, the lessons are 15 minutes long, with the emphasis very much on having fun. The length of lessons increases gradually to 35 or 40 minutes in Year 3 onwards. In Years 5 to 8, the Voilà! and Na Klar! courses are used, and a greater balance is achieved between the four language learning skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing). Oral confidence is developed, whilst the importance of grammar and vocabulary is stressed.
A range of media is used, from the traditional textbook and exercise book, through interaction with the teacher and fellow pupils and listening to material on CD and video/DVD, to online games and interactive exercises on the Smart Board. Occasional live video conferences take place between our pupils and children at French- and German-speaking schools in Europe. All pupils in Year 4 spend three days on a multi-activity trip based near Le Touquet in northern France, and another 7-day trip to Germany is planned for Easter 2014.
French and German are important world languages, each with approximately 100 million speakers in central Europe. Whether our pupils will use them for business or pleasure, it is our aim that they will leave St. Andrew's enjoying communicating in another language, and it is always rewarding to hear of their successes in French, German and other modern languages at their senior schools and beyond.