Modern Foreign Languages


What we are trying to achieve with our curriculum

The MFL curriculum seeks to promote confident learners who can work both independently and collaboratively, and so from year 7 onwards, students are gathering knowledge and skills to enable them to develop critical thinking skills and succeed in language learning. We aim to engage students in order that they will enjoy their studies and thrive, taking pride in their achievements. Each student’s unique and individual strengths are celebrated through regular acknowledgment of these achievements. Students are taught the National Curriculum. We are proud to offer a broad curriculum whilst giving students the full 5 years to fully develop their skills in their first MFL and maintaining the opportunity to study more than one language, with all year 9 students studying Italian. In KS4, students build on the foundations laid down in KS3 to broaden their understanding of language and the wider world. Studying MFL gives the opportunity to improve many other areas such as numeracy and an awareness of careers and global issues. Most of the study undertaken in MFL supports students in improving their literacy through knowledge of grammar, attention to detail and proofreading, oracy and broadening vocabulary. Moreover, the school’s ethos, grounded in the Catholic faith, is reinforced through MFL teaching, with virtues being explored as and when they form part of the curriculum, and modelled through the department’s staff and teaching.


How we deliver our curriculum

All staff are very experienced and highly qualified language specialists. We have excellent resources including the latest, up to date, course books and digital resources for KS4, which assist us in differentiating for learners with a range of ability. Continued professional development is a strength within the department and close links to the COLDS HoDs and Wakefield Network meetings ensure we work collaboratively with other schools. The skills, topics and grammar we study are interleaved throughout the whole curriculum, so that pupils revisit and widen their knowledge as they progress through the school. Each module is assessed following a programme of study of approximately 8 weeks. The SOLO and SPADE systems are used to ensure feedback is both formative and summative and students respond to feedback to further their learning. All 4 skill areas are examined over the course of a full term. In KS3 students are encouraged to develop study skills and memorisation techniques so that once they reach KS4 they have developed the skills and behaviours required to achieve their potential. Careers using MFL are covered within the KS3 and KS4 syllabus. Mathematical thinking skills are promoted within the context of language learning, for example in searching for patterns or breaking down problems into smaller parts. RED time is used to develop independence and resilience throughout both key stages. Native speakers of French, Spanish, Italian or Polish are supported in sitting an extra  GCSE in their own language.


The difference that our curriculum makes to our pupils

In KS3 many students who struggle with written work or reading are able to access listening and speaking in MFL, giving them confidence and a new sense of achievement. The number of students with lower prior attainment, who opt for a GCSE in a MFL has increased significantly in recent years.  Students improve presentation skills and learn to have face to face conversations and project their voices. Often the more creative students enjoy song or like to perform their prepared pieces while the more mathematically minded enjoy the logical thinking and systematic approach required. Studies have shown that students who study a language, perform better in other areas, as the part of the brain stimulated in learning a language increases their capacity for learning.

GCSE results in MFL are of a high standard.

KS4 exam results – August 2022 over 80% achieved grade 4-9.





In years 7 and 8, students study either French or Spanish, depending on their form group. They can then choose the language they studied in year 7 and 8, or study Italian instead (or in addition to this language), starting in year 9.


Topics covered include talking about yourself, family, free time, describing where you live, food, holidays and shopping.


Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the 4 main skills developed. Students will also be taught basic grammar to support their learning.







Students choose either to study the language they studied in year 7 and 8, or take Italian instead (or in addition to this language). Students who have studied French in years 7 and 8, will not be able to take Spanish GCSE, and vice versa.



Students study the following themes:


•  Theme 1: Identity and culture


•  Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest


•  Theme 3: Current and future study and employment




GCSE languages have a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9).


Students must take all four question papers (listening, reading, speaking and writing) at the same tier.




Why study a language?


Learning a foreign language opens doors to unlimited career possibilities and opportunities for further study.


Higher education institutions and employers actively seek people with language qualifications and career opportunities are excellent. From tourism to the diplomatic service, banking to teaching, languages play a crucial and practical role in the modern world.


Successful linguists are good communicators, intellectual problem solvers and intelligent thinkers; research shows that those who study a language perform better at GCSE across all subjects.


Learning a language encourages an appreciation of different cultures which, in turn, can ignite a desire to travel beyond the familiar to discover the world around us.




DID YOU KNOW? St Thomas à Becket celebrates their highest ever GCSE progress score! Click here to find out more