The learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for all children. Learning another language raises awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and gives pupils an insight into their own culture and that of others.
In some cases, holidays abroad may have exposed some children to different languages and cultures, and they may have experiences of this which they will feel happy to share with the rest of the class. This sharing is encouraged at St Dominic’s and these are experiences valued as a contributory factor in developing the children’s cultural and linguistic awareness.
Lessons are delivered in a fun and non-threatening way, and through a variety of different methods. New language is introduced to the children in manageable amounts, and familiar language is regularly revisited. Small group sessions enable the teacher to lead the children through the acquisition of new language, and the use of ICT, games and visual activities which require a physical response, help that language become familiar to the children.
At St Dominic’s, all Key Stage 3 children are included in the teaching of Spanish, with the work differentiated according to individual needs, and using a variety of teaching styles. All children are set suitable learning challenges and are encouraged to participate in the lessons. At the end of Year 9, the pupils have the opportunity to choose Spanish at GCSE level and beyond. In the past pupils completed the course and 85% gained Level 3, the highest award possible at this level. In 2011 St Dominic’s received the Good Schools Guide award for the best results at GCSE short course achieved by boys taking Spanish at an English school. This is very special for a small school like ours. In 2012, one of our Year 10 pupils took Spanish GCSE a year early and achieved an A* grade.