Ysgol Abersychan School

International Languages Department

Organisation for the academic year 2020-21


International Language Department Staff

Mrs Michelle Wilkshire (Subject Leader) Michelle.Wilkshire@abersychanschool.co.uk

General Aims

The overall aim of the International Languages Department is to stimulate and challenge all pupils and to show them that learning a language can be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. We aim:

  • To develop the ability to use the language effectively for purposes of practical communication.
  • To promote the four basic skills in the target language of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
  • To provide a sound base of the skills, language and attitude required for further study (be it at work or for leisure).
  • To increase pupils' awareness of languages other than their own.
  • To make pupils aware of the existence of traditions, cultures and political systems other than their own.
  • To arouse pupils' curiosity in the people and customs of the foreign country.
  • To provide opportunities to discuss aspects of Welsh life and culture, while exploring the similarities and differences of their own culture and that of the target language (Curriculum Cymreig)
  • To create an awareness of the increasing international nature of society.
  • To emphasise that the target language is not just a school language but spoken and written by a large population in many countries.
  • To develop a better appreciation of the pupils' mother tongue while supporting the school's literacy policy.
  • To create a foundation on which to develop further language studies.
  • To develop an awareness of the value of a foreign language for future employment
  • To instil in pupils an appreciation of environmental issues and contribute to pupils' environmental education


The Curriculum at Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 all pupils study French. The department has a variety of resources and textbooks available. We mostly follow the Métro and Allez Textbooks for French along with using other resources sourced and created by the department.

The New Curriculum

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience (Area) addresses fundamental aspects of human communication. It aims to support learning across the whole curriculum and to enable learners to gain knowledge and skills in international languages.

Learning and experience in this Area aims to enable learners to communicate effectively using Welsh, English and international languages. It aims to encourage learners to transfer what they have learned about how languages work in one language to the learning and using of other languages. This multilingual and plurilingual approach is intended to ignite learners’ curiosity and enthusiasm and provide them with a firm foundation for a lifelong interest in the languages of Wales and the languages of the world; and thus to make them ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives.

These are the four statements of ‘What Matters’

  • Languages connect us.

Languages connect us with people, places and communities. This Area is designed to equip learners, as citizens of a bilingual Wales in a multilingual world, with the ability to use Welsh, English and international languages. Meaningful learning experiences in a multilingual context go hand in hand with learning about one’s own cultural identity as well as the cultural identities of others. Engagement with this Area can therefore foster in learners pride in their sense of identity and belonging to Wales as well as the world.

  • Understanding languages is key to understanding the world around us. 

Languages and literacy are fundamental to human communication. They enable us to make sense of what is heard, read and seen, and thus to develop our understanding, empathy and our ability to respond and to mediate effectively.

  • Expressing ourselves through languages is key to communication.

Clear and effective communication through spoken and written language is an important life skill. It calls for the ability to use and adapt language in a range of roles, genres, forms, media and styles and in a suitable register. In a bilingual and multilingual context, this also calls for the ability to choose an appropriate language and to mediate. 

  • Literature fires imagination and inspires creativity.

Literature expands horizons. In all forms, it can inspire and motivate us, while also helping us to learn more about language and communication.

With consideration to the four statements and an understanding that pupils’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills will be developed through literature and through exploring the links between languages, culture and identity, pupils will study the following topics at KS3:



All About Me/out sur moi

  • Greeting
  •  Name/ introductions
  • Where you live/ countries
  • Numbers/ age
  • Months/ dates/ birthday
  • The weather

Self and Relationships/Mon monde perso

  • Colours and school equipment
  • Physical descriptions
  • Characteristics
  • Family pets

School Life/Au college

  • School subjects
  • Opinions
  • Talking about the timetable
  • Discuss a typical school day
  • School uniform

Freetime/Mes loisirs

  • Hobbies and free time
  • Sports
  • Leisure activities
  • Sporting events

My Area/Mon quartier

  • Places in the town
  • What you can do in your area
  • Directions

At Home/Chez moi

  • Talking about the house
  • Daily routine/ time
  • Household chores

In Town/En ville

  • Shopping
  • Food
  • Quantities

Food Drink/À table

  • Mealtimes
  • What you eat and drink
  • Going to a café/ restaurant
  • Quantities/ recipes

Health and Fitness/J’ai mal

  • Body parts
  • Illness
  • Going to the doctors/ pharmacy
  • Healthy lifestyle

The World of Media/Le monde des médias

  • Television and Film genres and preferences
  • Musical preferences
  • Literature

The Life of an Adoescent/Être Ado

  • Teenage lifestyle/problems/ pressures
  • Relationships
  • Pocket money

Technology and Social Media/Accro à la technologie

  • Old and new technology
  • Using technology/ gadgets
  • Social media
  • Pros and cons of technology

Holidays/Les vacances

  • Countries
  • Transport
  • Accommodation/ booking into hotels/ campsite
  • Holiday activities
  • Past/ present/ future/ ideal holidays

We aim to ensure that pupils fulfil their potential not only in having high expectations in terms of their achievement and behaviour but also by trying to cater for the different learning styles of individual pupils.

On a very general level, differentiation is undertaken by both task and outcome.

Activities can be set which are open-ended. These provide opportunities for pupils to work at a variety of levels. Differentiation can then be shown in the quality and range of language used. We can also differentiate by offering different levels of support and by catering for differences of interest by allowing pupils to choose from a range of materials or activities.


Lessons tend to be organised into the following three categories:-

  • core: language, structures and tasks that all pupils are expected to master.
  • reinforcement: extra practice for these pupils who need it in order to achieve the planned core outcomes.
  • extension: language, structures and tasks for those pupils capable of carrying out more advanced and complex work.

The Curriculum at Key Stage 4

 KS4 Pupils in Year 11 are studying GCSE German (WJEC examination specification) and pupils in Year 10 are studying GCSE French (WJEC examination specification).

The content of the GCSE will cover the following three broad themes:

THEME 1: Identity and Culture

Youth culture

  • Self and relationships
  • Technology and social media


  • Health and Fitness
  • Entertainment and leisure

Customs and Traditions

  • Food and drink
  • Festivals and celebrations


THEME 2: Wales and the World- areas of interest

Home and Locality

  • Local areas of interest
  • Transport

Germany and German Speaking countries/ France and French speaking countries

  • Local and regional features and characteristics
  • Holidays and tourism

Global Sustainability

  • Environment
  • Social issues


THEME 3: Current and future study and employment

Current Study

  • School/ college life
  • School/ college studies

World of Work

  • Work experience and part-time jobs
  • Skills and personal qualities

Jobs and Future plans

  • Applying for work/ study
  • Career plans



Pupils will complete an exam in each skill area (Listening, Speaking, Reading and writing). The Department enters pupils for the WJEC examination in Modern Foreign Languages.

Assessment is tiered, i.e. externally assessed components/units are targeted at the grade ranges of A*-D (Higher Tier) and C-G (Foundation Tier).

Questions and tasks are designed to enable candidates to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do. A candidate may enter for one tier only in each component at any particular examination sitting.


Tier Grades Available

Higher A*, A, B, C, D

Foundation C, D, E, F, G


Candidates who narrowly fail to achieve Grade D on the Higher Tier will be awarded Grade E.


The weighting of assessment objectives across examination components is as


LISTENING: 25%         SPEAKING: 25%       READING: 25%     WRITING: 25%


Speaking - Unit 1

Pupils have to complete 3 Tasks.  (7-9 minutes foundation tier, 10-12 minutes higher tier)They will comprise:

  • Role-play
  • Photo card discussion
  • Conversation

Speaking tasks are administered by the classroom teacher and sent to WJEC for marking. The speaking exam will take place in May of year 11. Pupils will be allocated a date/ time to attend the exam. The date cannot be changed and pupils must attend on the date/the time given. Pupils have one chance only to complete this assessment.


Listening - Unit 2

The examination, lasting about 35 minutes at Foundation Level and 45 minutes at Higher Level, is designed to allow candidates to show that they are able to understand spoken German/ French in a variety of situations. Each item is heard twice. Use will be made of non-verbal responses, such as box ticking, multiple choice and matching and verbal responses in English. The listening test may assess, among other things, the comprehension of public announcements, instructions and requests, interviews, news items, short dialogues and monologues such as weather forecasts. The use of dictionaries is not allowed.


Reading - Unit 3

The examination, lasting 1hour at Foundation Tier and 1 hour 15 minutes at Higher Tier, is designed to allow candidates to show that they are able to understand and respond to written German/ French in different registers and contexts and from different sources. Use will be made of non-verbal responses such as box ticking, multiple choice and matching and verbal responses in English. The reading test may assess, among other things, the comprehension of written public notices and signs, magazines or newspaper articles and personal information such as that found in letters, notes, e-mails or messages. The use of dictionaries is not allowed.


Writing - Unit 4

Candidates must complete a written examination (Foundation tier 1 hour 15 minutes, higher tier 1 hour 30 minutes) in which they respond in German/ French to a number of tasks. The use of dictionaries is not allowed.


Useful websites, podcasts, youtube, channels for revision








Important dates for the diary

March - Annual visit to Paris to celebrate the ‘Welsh St David’s Festival’ at Disneyland Paris

May - GCSE Oral Examinations

May/June - GCSE Listening, Reading and Written examinations.


Extra - Curricular opportunities and visits

Visits to the target language country

The department is committed to incorporating educational visits providing they will enhance pupils’ relevant understanding and experience, and that their inclusion is practicable, considering the constraints of staffing, cost and time. Visits help to develop pupils’ investigative skills and longer visits in particular encourage greater independence.

A major consideration in the organisation of any visit must be the safety of the participants and in this, as in all other respects we ensure that we fully adhere to both the LEA guidelines and the school policy. We always use reputable companies to organise our visits and ensure that the venue is suitable and that any officials from the venue, who will be involved in the visit, are qualified and dependable.

We work closely with ‘Schools into Europe’ and annually visit Paris in March to attend the ‘Welsh St David’s Festival’ at Disneyland.


After school activities

Pupils who have opted to study a language at GCSE level attend weekly/ fortnightly after school revision classes prior to sitting their GCSE’s.



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