Spanish at Key Stage 3
Year 7 students learn how to greet each other and to say the date of their birthday, to count to 100, to say the alphabet and how to pronounce words, using the Spanish rule of stress. Students also follow classroom commands and learn the present tense of regular ar, er and ir verbs, as well as the uses of the two verbs ‘to be’, ser and estar. Students study adjectival agreements, give opinions, list and describe teachers and family members, talk about family pets and learn the names of countries and nationalities in Europe. They learn how to tell the time, talk about school subjects, describe their bedroom and talk about free-time activities at home. Students learn how to use reflexive verbs to describe daily routine, sports and hobbies outside the home, places in the town, the weather and how to say I like (me gusta / me gustan). The grammar topics covered include adjectival agreements, negatives, uses of the verb to have (tener), stem-changing verbs and some irregular verbs in the first person singular. Students are expected to use ACOIN in speaking and writing. This refers to adjectives, connectives, opinions, intensifiers and negatives.
From the first term students are encouraged to engage in short conversations and to use Spanish spontaneously in class. Creativity is encouraged. By constantly recycling and revisiting language, understanding Spanish language patterns and acquiring grammatical concepts, learners are soon able to speak and write with confidence and originality. Students constantly compare Spanish language patterns with English ones, thus improving understanding of the syntax of the foreign language.
Work covered enables students to work at level 5 of the National Curriculum by the end of Year 7.
In Year 8 topics adjectives, nationalities and places in the town are revisited. Students learn to talk about television programmes, use comparatives, and how to make arrangements with friends for going out and how to make excuses for not being able to do so. The present tense of the verbs poder (to be able to) and querer ( to want) are taught. Students are expected to progress from saying their likes and dislikes to talking about what others like/dislike. Phrases that link with infinitives are acquired and students learn the preterite tense. This enables them to describe a past holiday. Students learn about Spanish speaking countries, time expressions, high numbers, comparative adjectives, superlative adjectives, complex sentences and the near future tense. Students learn how to shop for food and order food in a restaurant, how to describe clothes and name a range of different shops. Students are taught how to say when they are unwell and to describe their symptoms to a doctor or pharmacist and to explain routines that should be followed to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Topics covered in Year 8 are a good stepping stone for GCSE work in Year 9. Students work with three tenses and so can reach level 7 of the National Curriculum. Students have a good understanding of Spanish syntax and are able to work confidently in a range of tenses, manipulating and recycling language to speak and write with confidence.
GCSE in Spanish
Studying a language will improve all communication skills, which are the foundations of future career success. Colleges, universities and employers all value a language qualification due to the expansion of the European Union. Many universities are now offering joint degrees, such as Spanish with Physics or Spanish with History. By studying a modern foreign language you will have a greater choice of career pathways in Britain and abroad. In this global world, if you can communicate in other languages, the more valuable you are as an employee. Spanish will be one of the leading languages in the global economy over the next twenty years.
What will I learn?
You will learn to speak, read, write and understand what people are saying to you in Spanish. It is great fun to go to Spain and practise what you have learnt in school. Learning a language requires hard work and commitment. You will be supported to achieve your best in this subject.
How will I be taught?
From Year 9 you will follow the MIRA GCSE course, and learning is further supported with textbooks, worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, Électro packages and television programmes. The Spanish Foreign Language Assistant at the Academy will help you develop your speaking skills, as will the summer trip to Spain at the end of Year 10.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course is assessed through examinations and controlled assessments.
What qualification shall I obtain at the end of the course?
At the end of the course you will gain a GCSE in Spanish.
What can this qualification lead to afterwards?
The skills learnt at either GCSE or beyond, will enable you to take your place within a competitive workforce and display good communication skills. A qualification in any modern foreign language opens doors and commands respect, leading to higher salaries and opportunities for promotion.
Spanish A-Level is open to candidates with a good GCSE grade and leads to many degree routes, including further study of language. Spanish graduates find employment in business, UK and European government, engineering, financial services, media, technology, travel and tourism, the charitable sector and as teachers, interpreters and translators. However, there are many roles where languages are a complementary rather than a key skill, so young people who study Spanish to A-Level have the skills for work in business, marketing, sales, Customer Support or Consulting, Events Management, Media and Government.
How much extended learning shall I have to do?
You will be expected to complete homework at least once a week. Grammar and vocabulary learning will be on-going. For extended learning, there will be an emphasis on creativity and fluency in writing and in speaking preparation.
Where can I find out more about this qualification?
You can speak to any teacher of Spanish.
Some year 9 and sixth form students have been lucky enough to be involved with language orientated trips this term at Warwick University and University of Birmingham. The year 9's took part in an apprentice day where they were asked to ‘sell’ Birmingham and the sixth form students spent a day brushing up their translations skills ready for their summer examinations.