Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)


Languages is a particular strength at Bishop’s – we value the knowledge, skills and understanding developed in a study of a foreign language.  We offer French, German and Spanish as the languages we teach.

Teaching and Learning

There are many desired outcomes from teaching languages. These include improved communication skills, better grammatical awareness, inter-cultural understanding, enjoyment and a sense of achievement.  Language knowledge can be useful in many areas, including business, tourism, education, medicine and industry.

All students at Bishop’s study either French or German for 3 hours per week in year 7 as their main modern foreign language. At the end of Year 7, the top 25% of the year group will be given the opportunity to study Spanish as a second language in Year 8. This decision will be based on the results from the assessments in the autumn and spring terms, performance in lessons and enthusiasm for language learning. Single linguists continue to progress in their one language, having 3 lessons per week. Dual linguists have a more condensed programme of language learning over years 8 and 9, studying 2 languages simultaneously and progressing rapidly towards their targets.

In lessons, students participate in a range of activities which develop their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, with an emphasis on producing language. Students are encouraged to develop independent writing skills and spend quite a high proportion of their lessons speaking the target language to improve fluency and confidence. We use a range of resources including authentic materials, often from the internet. We subscribe to several language learning websites and students can play games aimed at testing vocabulary and encouraging language retention. Our text books are differentiated, to give all students the best resources to enable them to fulfil their potential.

In Key Stage 3, students will have four Milestone assessments during each term based on the skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. These are graded in line with GCSE grades 1-9. Students will have records in the front of their exercise books upon which they record the grades they are working at. In addition, they will have a record of their target for the current academic year, so that they and parents/carers can see the progress they are making towards their target. 

At Key Stage 4 the majority of students at Bishops will choose to study their language to GCSE.  Those who have studied 2 languages at Key Stage 3 will choose one language for GCSE or will decide to study for 2 GCSEs in Modern Languages.  Many of our students continue to perform well above the national average for GCSE languages and we are a proud contributor to the school’s excellent percentage of students who leave year 11 with 5 GCSEs which include a Modern Foreign Language (EBACC)

In addition to the languages we teach, we encourage students with other language skills to gain GCSE accreditation for these. Over the past few years we have had tremendous success with students gaining top grade GCSEs in Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic, Chinese and Italian.


We have 6 dedicated classrooms, all well-resourced with an Interactive Whiteboard.  We also have access to 2 laptop trolleys which enable students to use online resources on occasions. 

Students have access to text books in class and some resources may be sent home. KS4 teaching resources contain an online element which students can access at home to help them complete homework tasks, study vocabulary or do additional practice.

At GCSE, we use a variety of resources, including the Pearson Education GCSE Higher book published to assist students in their studies for the Edexcel GCSE. We use video clips and listening resources from a variety of sources to enhance the students’ experience of the language in class.  Students will do lots of spoken work as well as focusing on learning vocabulary and grammar.  We seek to develop their ability to use language independently so that they can write and talk about topics which interest them.

Students should note that if they are considering Higher Education courses, some universities may insist on a GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language WHATEVER the course students wish to take.

Year 10 and Year 11 Students:

Exam Weighting
100% Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing. 25% each exam at the end of Year 11.

Extra-Curricular Activities

During their time at Bishop’s, it is expected that all students will be offered the opportunity to visit a country where the language they are studying is spoken.