Here at Red House, we recognise the importance of learning a Modern Foreign Language and believe strongly that cultural awareness should play a major part in every young person’s school curriculum.

A foreign language gives us access to another culture and our lives take on a new dimension.  Language learners are much better equipped to adapt and cope in a fast-changing world.  Looking at different cultures leads to tolerance of diverse lifestyles and customs and the ability to handle new situations effectively.  Learning another language opens up new opportunities and gives you perspectives that you might never have encountered otherwise.

For survival in the global community, every nation needs individuals who are competent in other languages; who can bridge the gap between cultures; contribute to international diplomacy; promote national security and world peace; and successfully engage in international trade. Business is not the only area of employment where language competencies are needed:  multiple government agencies, the travel industry, engineering, communications, the field of education, international law, economics, public policy, publishing, advertising, entertainment, scientific research, and a broad array of service sectors all have needs for people with foreign language skills.

Language learning alsohas a positive effect on intellectual growth and it enriches and enhances mental development. People who have learned foreign languages show greater cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, and higher order thinking skills, such as problem-solving, conceptualizing, and reasoning.  Research shows that knowledge of other languages boosts students’ understanding of languages in general and enables students to use their native language more effectively. Foreign language learners have stronger vocabulary skills in English, a better understanding of the language, and improved literacy in general.

The great German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, said in 1827: “Whoever is not acquainted with foreign languages knows nothing of his own.”

To help every pupil achieve their full potential, whatever their ability, we try to ensure that our teaching will enable pupils:

  • to develop an understanding of the nature of a language and language learning
  • to develop the ability to use the language effectively and creatively for the purposes of practical communication
  • to develop a firm base of the skills and language required for further study, work and leisure
  • to develop a sound knowledge of grammar
  • to develop an understanding of the nature of a language and how a language works
  • to gain an insight into the culture and civilization of the country
  • to increase pupils’ understanding of themselves and their own culture
  • to provide a firm base of the skills and language required for further study, work and leisure
  • to enhance skills which can be used in other areas of the curriculum
  • to enable pupils to work both independently and co-operatively and to develop personal qualities such as initiative and independence
  • to ensure the highest level of success in external examinations

In the Junior School pupils are introduced to a foreign language (French) in Key Stage 1 and continue to study French to GCSE. In Year 7, the most able pupils are given the opportunity to learn a second language: either German or Spanish. In Years 10 and 11, German and Spanish are option subjects.

In the Modern Languages Department, we believe in using the communicative approach to teaching and learning by using the target language as much as possible. Grammar is taught progressively in order to lay a sound foundation for further language study. We aim to help every pupil achieve his/her full potential, whatever his/her ability.

The Modern Languages Department offers pupils the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities in order to enrich their language learning experience:

  • In Year 6 pupils take part in a National Language Learning competition making use of ICT. They have learnt a variety of languages ranging from German and Portuguese to Japanese and Thai and have competed at national level with pupils from other schools.
  • From Year 7, there is a well-established programme of residential visits abroad.