Dereham Neatherd High School

Dereham Neatherd High School

A Specialist Language College

Year 7 Change Curriculum Letter

Dear Parent/Carer

Year 7 Language Curriculum Change

We are pleased to inform you that at the end of Year 7, students will opt to study one language to take into Year 8 and continue into Year 9. We came to this decision due to a variety of factors. The changes to the GCSE qualifications mean that students will be required to speak and write more spontaneously in the target language as part of their exam. Due to this, we find that it will be in the students’ best interest to focus on one language so that they can master key vocabulary and grammar. In addition, students will have five hours a fortnight of lessons as opposed to three hours of each language in Year 8 as they would have done in previous years. Teachers will use the additional hours of lesson time to consolidate prior learning as well as to create opportunities for students to communicate in the language more spontaneously and creatively.

We are of the opinion that students will find learning a foreign language much more rewarding when they have more lessons and don’t have to worry about confusing Spanish and French. We understand that this can be demotivating. We have noticed an increase in engagement and motivation in language learning with our current Year 9 students who chose to study one language at the end of year 8. We would like to bring this positive change sooner in the students’ curriculum so that they can benefit earlier.

Starting after the Christmas break, students that are not in the Lifeskills sets (7wFr1D and 7eFr1D) will begin to study Spanish in addition to French. Their normal five hours per fortnight will be split so that they will have French for three hours and Spanish for two hours. Students who had been studying Latin previously will now be studying Spanish during those two hours. We believe this will allow students to experience both Spanish and French in Term 2 to a good degree which will allow them to make an informed decision as to which language they wish to continue. These changes will not affect any of the students’ other lessons on their timetables.

We understand that there will be a few students who may wish to have the opportunity to take both French and Spanish at GCSE. We will offer a weekly Spanish study group at lunchtime for students potentially interested in picking up Spanish in Year 9 so that they can choose to take both languages in Year 10.

We hope that these changes will have a positive impact on students’ enjoyment of language learning. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Lambert
Subject Leader of MFL