At Bourne Grammar School we strongly believe in languages as a skill for life and something students should enjoy and find rewarding. Our curriculum is devised to develop students' cultural knowledge whilst developing their language skills in the most spoken language in continental Europe.
Spanish is compulsory from Year 7 to GCSE. The top 50% of linguists are provided with the opportunity to study either French or German. This opportunity is offered on the basis of the Spanish end-of-year examinations in Year 8.
At the start of Year 7, it is assumed that students have little or no knowledge of Spanish. The year starts by looking at basic introductions and studying classroom-based vocabulary which familiarises students with the concept of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ nouns. In term 2, students learn how to conjugate verbs into the present tense to talk about activities they do in school and their opinions of the subjects that they study. Furthermore, they are introduced to the concept of adjectival agreement. The term ends by exploring Spanish Christmas traditions.
In term 3, students learn how to talk about their family and pets and consolidate their understanding of the present tense and how to use adjectives correctly. In term 4, students work on descriptions of their home and local area and will study the difference between the verbs ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ which both mean ‘to be’.
In term 5, the topic is free-time activities and students learn a variety of sport and pastime-based vocabulary and are introduced to ‘stem-changing verbs’ and the near future tense. The year finishes with more work on our local area, focussing on places in the town and city as well as a reading and writing project which allows students to demonstrate and appreciate the progress they have made in their first academic year studying Spanish.
Students start the year by consolidating some of the key grammar points looked at in Year 7 – the present tense and adjectival agreement – to talk about their free-time and friends. The main grammatical foci are reflexive verbs and forming comparative sentences. In term 2, students revisit the near future tense from Year 7 and use it to talk about future plans in their local area. They also learn about how to make plans with other people and to accept invitations/form excuses using conversational phrases.
Term 3 introduces a key grammatical structure – the preterite (simple past) tense – in the context of past holidays and travelling. Students are exposes to new vocabulary on: countries; modes of transport; holiday-based activities; and opinions in the past. In term 3, the topic is ‘food’ and students will study food and drink-based nouns and verbs as well as weights and quantities and useful vocabulary and phrase to use when dining in a Spanish restaurant. Students will be involved in market and restaurant-based conversations and learn about cultural difference between eating habits in Spain and the UK. The key grammar points for this term are the difference between ‘tú’ and ‘usted’ (the informal and formal ways of saying ‘you’) and using past, present and future tenses together.
In term 5, students study the topic of ‘clothes’ and look at specific nouns and adjectives to describe what they are wearing. The key grammar points are using comparative and superlative structures. At the start of term 6, the focus is on Barcelona and students will learn about famous monuments in the city as well as shop-based vocabulary. Later in the term, students are introduced to aspects of the GCSE Spanish exams and start to develop specific skills to help them with writing 40 word essays and describing a photograph.
Throughout Year 9, students study at GCSE foundation tier level and some of the key skills which are require for GCSE success are developed during this transitional year between KS3 and KS4. The year starts by looking at holiday activities and weather, revisiting the present tense and the preterite tense and introducing the concept of the imperfect tense. The key skill which is focussed on is describing a photograph using the present continuous tense and understanding the success criteria of this part of the GCSE Spanish speaking exam. In term 2, the topic is ‘school’. Students develop their knowledge of giving justified opinions and using comparatives and superlatives when describing their school life. Vocabulary on school facilities and rules is introduced as well as the more complex grammatical constructions of negative expressions and the phrase ‘desde hace’. Student also develop their essay writing skills, looking at what makes a good GCSE-level essay and how to develop their answers.
Term 3 focuses on talking about friends and family in detail as well as technology and social media-based vocabulary. The present continuous tense is revisited in this term. In term 4, students develop their Spanish knowledge of free time activities, looking at a wider variety of topic-specific vocabulary including: talking about TV and films; talking about what they usually do; and discussing extracurricular teams and clubs. The imperfect tense is studied in detail, building upon the introduction they were given in term 1, so that students are able to say what they used to do.
In term 5, the topic is ‘town and region’ and students learn to give and understand clear directions and develop their ability to describe their local area in greater detail. The simple future tense is studied for the first time in this term and students are introduced to the ‘role play’ card section of the GCSE Spanish speaking exam. The year finishes by focussing on global and social issues in which students are exposed to some of the most challenging vocabulary and concepts from the GCSE Spanish course, studying key words, phrases and grammatical structures to allow them to understand and discuss environmental and local problems and potential solutions.
Years 10 and 11
Students follow the AQA GCSE Spanish course, full details for which are available here.
The specification covers three distinct themes which are:
- Identity and culture;
- Local, national, international, and global areas of interest;
- Culture and future study and employment.
Themes apply to all four question papers. Students are expected to understand and provide information and opinions about these themes relating to their own experiences and those of other people, including people in countries/communities where Spanish is spoken.
Years 12 and 13
Students follow AQA A-Level Spanish course, full details for which are available here.
The AQA A-level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. It fosters a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity, which are valuable to the individual and society.