At St. Bede’s, our intention is for our students to
- be able to communicate with people around the world and to foster tolerance, dignity and an appreciation of other ways of life. Spanish is considered one of the top five most needed languages globally and by delivering an outstanding Spanish curriculum, we provide students with the tools they will need to succeed in an increasingly globalised world and to be able to interact and communicate with people beyond their immediate surroundings.
- be able to access a broader study of the Hispanic world through not only language but also through culture, tradition and international perspectives through teaching our students with a holistic approach.
- to be able to use language to establish international relationships, since as Catholics we are called to establish loving relationships with others in the world.
- be able to have the option to pursue further study or a career in languages, regardless of individual starting points through meticulously planned scaffolding and appropriate challenge for all.
- be able to acquire the Spanish language through a context-based Key Stage 3 curriculum that is rooted in culture, builds on skills acquired in Key Stage 2 and prepares students for Key Stage 4 and 5 study. Through a range of cultural lenses, from the Amazon Rainforest to the study of Frida Kahlo, we cover the key linguistic concepts from the National Curriculum in a way that engages students and fosters a love of learning.
- to be able to transfer strong literacy in Spanish to strengthen English literacy and to promote a love of reading and writing in both languages and the confidence to speak aloud in front of others.
- to be able to reflect on strengths and emerging needs in order to confidently identify areas for improvement and to be able to use linguistic terminology in order to become a confident linguist and lover of languages.
From the very first lesson in Year 7, our planning ensures that each lesson covers all four of the following skill areas, as we do not believe that they can stand independently of one another. These become more challenging, not only in concepts but also in the ability to apply the skills in different contexts. Therefore, our curriculum has been designed in a way to retrieve and interleave prior learning alongside introducing new learning. In Key Stage 4, concepts are revisited alongside the introduction of new and more challenging structures and grammar. Students are required to apply these skills in different themes and topics. The challenges of Spanish at A Level are two-fold; the level of language required, and the complexity of the content studied. More familiar content, for example family in the Hispanic world, is the starting point, and more challenging content, such as classic literature, comes later in the course of study.
Using and manipulating grammatical structures
Whilst teaching at Key Stage 2 develops sentence-level writing and speaking, In Year 7 students start by writing a full story in Spanish through manipulating grammatical structures. Our approach to using and manipulating grammatical structures builds from the fundamentals and then follows a spiral curriculum. Students recall Key Stage 2 learning of the difference between masculine, feminine, singular and plural nouns. This then builds to adjectival agreement, definite and indefinite articles and is regularly revisited. In Year 10, students build on their understanding of masculine and feminine nouns by producing extended descriptions of their favourite actor. This is then revisited and further strengthened in different topics, such as family and friends. In Key Stage 5, students form a more sophisticated understanding of masculine and feminine nouns by applying the relevant grammatical rules to direct object pronouns. This is then revisited and further strengthened in different topics, such as the influence of celebrities.
Giving and justifying opinions
Giving and justifying opinions is a skill that we believe lends itself to all of our topics and as such is interwoven throughout all of Key Stage 3 at varying levels of difficulty that expands on more opinions introduced at Key Stage 2. For example, at the start of Year 7, students learn to say what different animals like to do using the present tense, but by the end of their Key Stage 3 journey they are able to use opinions in a variety of tenses and across all of the contexts studied so that it has become a transferrable skill. The ability to give and justify opinions in Key Stage 4 is expanded and developed, and students are expected to provide examples to support their reasoning. In Key Stage 5 the ability to give and justify opinions is consistently used to enhance students’ understanding of contemporary Hispanic issues. For example, after learning to give opinions on problems with technology in Key Stage 4, A Level Spanish students are challenged to demonstrate knowledge of, through the use of tangible examples, how the internet can affect the lives of young Hispanic people.
Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation
All teachers at St. Bede’s are teachers of literacy, and we know the importance of strong literacy in our subject. Our approach to accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation not only considers Spanish literacy, such as exclamation marks and question marks at the beginning of sentences, but also reinforces rules that straddle both languages, such as capitalisation of proper nouns. We believe that the strong teaching of phonics is also something that will allow students to reach their full potential in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and so we ensure that phonics are carefully planned into schemes of work and assessment. This allows students to unlock new words through a comprehensive phonetic understanding of a foreign language. Accurate writing and speaking of Spanish is integral to success at GCSE level. The curriculum is planned with common misconceptions in mind, to ensure that students to not conflate words that look similar but have different meanings, such as fui/fue. Through continual use of formative and summative assessment, teachers quickly identify and rectify emerging grammatical needs and misconceptions. In Key Stage 5 this approach is continued, ensuring that students are aware of the importance of their spelling to avoid errors in communication, such as with ‘hablo’ and ‘habló’.
Tenses (and moods)
At the start of Year 7 students implicitly learn the present tense in the third person singular form. This goes on to cover third person plural, first person singular and first person plural towards the end of Year 7. In Year 8, students will start with the present tense again but in a different context to ensure they are able to transfer this knowledge. They will then go on to learn the preterit tense, and later to combine both present and preterit together, before starting future tense in Year 9. From Year 10 onwards, the curriculum is designed to retrieve and interleave these tenses whilst also introducing new and more challenging tenses, such as the conditional, imperfect and simple future. This approach ensures that both appropriate cognitive load and forgetting rates are planned for.
After learning the preterit, present, near future, conditional, imperfect and simple tenses in Key Stage 4, from Year 12 onwards the curriculum is designed to retrieve and interleave through continual exposure to authentic texts and materials, whilst also introducing new and more challenging tenses and moods, such as the present and imperfect subjunctive. This approach ensures that students can are confident in employing multiple tenses and moods in order to replicate the Spanish spoken by native speakers.