Those who know no foreign language know nothing of their mother tongue.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The MFL department believes that languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment.

Through studying a Modern Foreign Language pupils learn to appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. By making comparisons with others, they gain insight into their own culture and society. The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world.

All students at Acland Burghley learn Spanish or French in KS3, and are encouraged to continue studying a language to the end of KS4. From September 2018, we are offering keen linguists in Y9 the chance to study a 2nd language (either French or Spanish) alongside the language currently being studied. 

Learning languages gives pupils opportunities to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and creativity. They explore the similarities and differences between other languages and English and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways. The development of communication skills, together with understanding of the structure of language, will lay the foundations for future study of other languages and support the development of literacy skills in a pupil’s own language.

All students at Acland Burghley learn Spanish or French in KS3, and are encouraged to continue studying a language to the end of KS4. In Y9 we discuss in lessons ‘What’s the point?’ in studying a language so that students understand the importance in their future studies and careers of having a Language GCSE. We have a strong uptake in languages at KS4 and and our results have been consistently good. A pleasing number of our students go on to study languages at A level and we work as part of the LaSWAP sixth form consortium to offer French and Spanish A level to our students.

There is an opportunity for keen linguists in our new Y9 cohort to study a second modern foreign language (French or Spanish) during curriculum time from September 2018. We anticipate that this option will be attractive to keen, more able linguists who are seriously considering choosing 2 modern languages for GCSE from September 2019. These students might also be thinking about taking French and Spanish at A level from September, and may possibly even look to apply for a degree in Modern Languages at University.

We also encourage students who speak another language at home to take public examinations in their native language and have an excellent success rate across a wide range of languages including -Turkish, Bengali, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, Russian and Farsi.

All the MFL teachers are enthusiastic about the languages they teach, and work hard to instil their students with this enthusiasm. Amongst the staff in the department we come from very different paths into teaching languages with a range of experiences that we draw from as a department and share with our students. There are native speakers and non-native teachers of French and Spanish and other languages spoken including German, Portuguese and Italian.

Head of Faculty

Katty Jacob | 


Bethan Williams (2nd in charge) |

Martha Collins |

Lawrence Deacon |

Stella James | 


Claire Short |

Katherine Smith |    



In KS3 Languages our Schemes of Learning and resources allow pupils to explore diverse topics at KS3.

Lessons are taught using a communicative approach, with a variety of interactive tools and activities. Students are encouraged to communicate through interactive lessons ensuring that we cover all four language learning skills (listening/speaking/reading/ writing). Students are encouraged to practise the language they are learning outside of the classroom and to use recommended websites to enhance their learning. From September 2018, Y7s will follow a new digital textbook (Allez 1 for French and Claro for Spanish) tailored to the new GCSE specification which they will be able to access from home. Login details will be provided by their class teacher. 

Students are encouraged to practise the language they are learning outside of the classroom and to use recommended websites to enhance their learning!

For each year group we also subscribe to the following language learning websites and username and passwords are available from their MFL teacher. We encourage students to be learning vocab from the topic they are currently studying from the excellent vocab testing website and a wide range of vocab covering all the topics at KS3 and 4 can be learnt through fun and games at Vocabexpress also consolidates grammar learnt in the classroom and is available as an app. A great on-line dictionary can be found at and is great for verb tables in Spanish, whilst for French you should visit

We ask that parents watch out for students using translator websites such as google translate as they do not help with language learning and cause many problems! 

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 There is a competition to make the best traditional French log cake every Christmas!


At KS4 we follow the AQA syllabus for Spanish and French GCSE. Pupils are externally examined in all four components (listening/reading/speaking/writing). Each skill represents 25% of the overall GCSE grade.

GCSE Spanish or French has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series.

Core content

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

KS4 students follow a digital textbook (AQA GCSE French and AQA GCSE Spanish) tailored to the new GCSE specification which they are able to access from home. Login details are provided by their class teacher. To enhance their vocabulary, students also use vocabexpress following the list provided by the AQA GCSE specification.

To help students with their revision, we recommend the CGP GCSE AQA French/Spanish (for the grade 9-1 exams) revision guide. It can be purchased from the MFL faculty.

AQA French specification

AQA Spanish specification

Spanish trip