Modern Foreign Language

In the languages classroom at Cokethorpe, we create a happy, positive learning environment where pupils are encouraged to participate actively in lessons.

We aim to produce young linguists who are enthusiastic and who feel at ease communicating in French and Spanish.

All pupils are required to communicate as much as possible in French and Spanish both with the teacher and with each other. Making mistakes is part of the territory and a good linguist will not be thrown if they do not get it right first time, but will learn, improve and try again.


First Form to Third Form

The First Form learns French for a whole year and Second Form learns Spanish. This allows pupils to fully progress and concentrate on one language at a time. They express their preference at the end of Second Form and in the Third Form, they can continue with the language of their choice or both. The timetable allows all pupils to study two languages with no clashes and the regular lessons facilitate strong progress. 

We organise the spelling bee competition and an exchange of letters with a school near Paris in the First Form and go to the cinema in Oxford during the film festival with all year groups. We also arrange for plays to be performed at School in either French or Spanish for all year groups.

We also offer French and Spanish AOBs so that pupils can always keep up with their languages. 

Pupils will learn a variety of skills in their language lessons: 

  • Listening: Pupils will listen to a variety of forms of spoken French and Spanish and understand the content as well as transcribe words and phrases with increasing accuracy.
  • Speaking: We aim to improve pupils’ ability and willingness to use the language to communicate in the classroom, by taking part in conversations, expressing personal opinions and working on pronunciation and intonation.
  • Reading: Pupils will read and understand a variety of adapted, authentic materials including songs, poems, short stories and letters. They may be asked to translate short passages into English or they may be asked to respond to questions.
  • Writing: Using a widening range of vocabulary, structures and tenses, pupils will write short, creative prose in French and Spanish to express their ideas and opinions. They may also be asked to translate short passages of English into French and Spanish. 
  • Grammar: The understanding of verb conjugation, use of tenses, gender and adjective agreement makes our linguists more independent when speaking and writing in French and Spanish.
  • Phonics: Work on French and Spanish phonics increases pupil confidence when dealing with new vocabulary. 
  • Memory: We use a wide variety of methods to help pupils retain new vocabulary, ranging from mimes and signing to colour charts, chanting and singing. 
  • Performance: Pupils are encouraged to play an active role during lessons. All language lessons include an element of performance and everyone can expect to be asked perform in front of their class.


Fourth Form to Fifth Form

French and Spanish are popular options at GCSE level and we would expect most pupils to continue with their study of a language. We currently offer the iGCSE with Edexcel. We offer AOB options for further practice and reinforcement. The iGCSE is a great course to continue languages at A Level as pupils develop strong linguistic skills and the ability to think on their feet. 

Conversation classes are offered to all pupils at GCSE on a fortnightly basis. We also run two extremely successful language exchanges to France and to Spain.

Head of Modern Foreign Languages
: Miss M Bertholle 

Trips, Activities and Extension 

There are a number of extra-curricular activities held by the Modern Foreign Languages department, as well as a number of clubs and classes aimed at supporting pupils to progress in the various disciplines that are essential to grasping a language. Conversation classes and GCSE Support Sessions are also held to aid with learning.

French and Spanish Exchanges

Fourth Form pupils are given the opportunity to participate in the French Exchange to Marignanne, near Marseille or the Spanish Exchange to Bormujos, Seville. Pupils are matched with a pupil of the same age with whom they will stay and who they will host during their visit to England. The whole Cokethorpe group travels to either Paris or Seville where they will have the opportunity of experiencing life with the family, spending some time in the partner school, visiting the surrounding area and putting into practice the language they have learned at School. The value of such a visit cannot be over-estimated. The French and Spanish groups then visit Cokethorpe when they will stay with their English families and visit the local area during the School day.

French and Spanish Theatre Productions

French and Spanish Theatre companies visit the School to perform plays entirely in their chosen language, giving pupils the opportunity to listen to language already covered in class.

First Form Spanish Singing Competition

The First Form take part in a fun afternoon of Spanish singing. It offers a great opportunity to practice vocabulary and pronunciation in a fun and familiar style of delivery.

Lunchtime Clubs and AOB

The Modern Foreign Languages Department hold a number of clubs and AOB options for our linguists, either to support the current curriculum or to offer a taste of another language. Options for AOB change on a termly basis but currently pupils are able to learn Beginner’s Italian, Conversational Spanish or Language through Film. Previous AOB options have included Beginner’s German, Russian and Japanese Language.

First Form Spelling Bees

First Form French and Spanish Spelling Bee.