Years 7 and 8

In their first year at Cobham Hall, students follow a carousel programme which introduces them to the three core languages: French, Spanish and German.  In each language, they learn basic communication and vocabulary, with the emphasis on speaking skills and the common principles of language acquisition.  At the end of Year 7, students may then choose between Spanish and German as their second language for Year 8.

In Years 7 and 8, students cover the foundations of Spanish, including learning how to introduce themselves and other people, how to talk about their families and pets, about food and things they like and dislike.  By the end of Year 8, they should also be able to tell the time, talk about their house, daily routine, sport and hobbies and give directions.  They will begin to learn present, past and future tenses.

Girls learn vocabulary and grammar constructions which enable them to read, write, listen and speak about everyday contexts.  They do activities across all of the four major language skill areas – reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Throughout their language acquisition, girls are encouraged to be independent learners.

Role plays frequently liven up lessons and simulate real-life situations to be handled in Spanish.  At the end of Year 8, girls also hold their own version of Spanish X-Factor.

Year 9

Girls continue to build on the foundations laid in Years 7 and 8. They explore topics such as healthy living, family and relationships, future plans and social issues. The grammar and vocabulary taught in Year 9 prepare students for their IGCSE in Spanish. Writing and reading texts become longer and more complex. Role plays and other interactive activities continue to be used to strengthen the four language skills.

Year 9 Beginners

The Year 9 Spanish Beginners class is aimed at students who have had no prior experience of learning the language.  Students have the opportunity to develop their linguistic and cultural awareness of the country and the language.  They gain an insight into the Spanish language, following a tailored course to accommodate their different abilities.

Students are taught the basics of the language in order to enable them to have short conversations, such as introducing themselves and talking about their interests.  Vocabulary is taught via a topic-based programme which enables them to understand simple every-day phrases.  Students learn how to use the grammar and vocabulary they have learnt in written and spoken tasks which refer to simple everyday contexts.  There is also a focus on communicative and transactional language, along with language-learning skills and techniques.  Students learn by using a variety of activities which cover the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  To enhance their classroom learning, students are also able to make use of additional online resources, such as Linguascope and Memrise.  Topics covered include: introducing yourself, family and home, school life, hobbies and holidays and food.

Year 11: GCSE  (for examinations in 2017 only)

In the GCSE year, girls build on key topic areas introduced in Year 9.  They continue to develop and consolidate vocabulary and grammar and are exposed to authentic Spanish texts.  Classroom learning is complemented by online resources which facilitate further independent study of the language.  Assessments include Controlled Assessments, unit tests and national GCSE examination papers in the summer term.

Years 10 and 11: IGCSE  (for examinations from 2018 onwards)

Students follow the Cambridge syllabus for IGCSE Spanish which is focused on key topic areas: everyday activities, personal and social life, the world around us, the world of work and the international world.  Students continue to develop and consolidate vocabulary and grammar and to work with authentic Spanish texts.  Classroom learning is complemented by online resources which facilitate further independent study of the language.

Assessments include regular class tests across all four skills in Years 10 and 11, unit tests, internal examinations at the end of Year 10 and IGCSE examination papers at the end of Year 11.

Years 12 and 13: International Baccalaureate

Spanish can be studied at ab initio, Standard or Higher Level for the IB.

Ab Initio Level is suitable for girls who have little or no experience of learning Spanish. The course aims to equip students with sufficient language competence to deal with simple, straightforward information and to express themselves in familiar contexts.  The aim of the course is also to help the students gain some intercultural understanding of the relationship between their own culture and that of Spanish-speaking countries.  The ab initio course enables students to progress through from level A1 of the Common European Framework Reference for Languages to Level A2/B1.

Standard and Higher Level students are taught together, with Higher Level girls receiving two additional lessons per week.  Standard and Higher Level classes are taught almost entirely in Spanish.  Higher Level students will be expected to have greater fluency and will tackle more complex texts, as well as being expected to use more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar in their writing and speaking.

Across all three courses girls are exposed to a variety of oral and written materials drawn from authentic sources.  Students are immersed in Spanish magazines, newspapers, books, television series and films to give them a practical and realistic experience of the language.  Girls are constantly encouraged to express themselves in Spanish and are taught how to use online resources to support their language learning.  As the second year progresses, girls focus on preparing for their final IB examination in Spanish.

All Year Groups

Language Assistants – The Languages Faculty at Cobham Hall benefits from the support of native speaker language assistants who support students in the development of their communication skills at all levels throughout the school.  Students receive both whole class and one-to-one support.

Globetrotters Club  – In keeping with the spirit of internationalism at Cobham Hall, all students are welcome to join the activities provided by the Language Faculty’s weekly club.  The Globetrotters Club offers a range of enjoyable activities to promote international culture and enhance girls’ understanding of a variety of customs and traditions from around the globe.