At the heart of Cobham Hall is its international ethos. With on average 25 nationalities represented, it is safe to say that we are a multicultural school to the core. The main identity of a country is tied up in a language, of which there are over 7,000 in the world.
By learning a language, you open windows of opportunity and doors of understanding which help you not only to understand yourself but also to understand others.
Being at Cobham Hall is like a journey around the world: learning culture and customs from friends and classmates. Learning one language, you open up your understanding of other languages, and it becomes easier the more you learn.
Our Languages Faculty truly believe that everybody has a proven capacity to learn languages and here at Cobham Hall we further the opportunity to increase that capacity.
One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way. – Frank Smith
Years 7, 8 and 9
In their first year at Cobham Hall, students study two languages: French and Spanish. In each language, they learn basic communication and vocabulary, with an emphasis on speaking skills and the common principles of language acquisition. All students will choose between the two subjects for Year 8 onwards. For girls entering the School at Year 9, a Beginners’ Spanish class may also be available for those with no prior experience of the language.
Language is introduced and practised with the aim of working from individual words to building communicative competence and confidence in a wide range of contexts. Pupils are supported across the four key skill areas of listening, reading, speaking and writing in a range of different ways, while grammatical structures and rules are also explored and developed. ICT presentations, props, games, activities, mime, role-play, songs and puzzles are all tools used to learn and consolidate lesson material. Girls are also encouraged to celebrate the culture of each language too.
Years 10 and 11: GCSE French or Spanish
At GCSE level, pupils consolidate and build on the language acquired in previous years. Topic-specific vocabulary and grammar are reviewed and revised and activities continue to be based on the four key skill areas. Further use of available online and digital resources is promoted, in order to support the development of independent linguistic awareness and progress.
Communicative independence is reinforced by students giving presentations, working in groups, planning activities to support learning and making choices about activities which will develop their own linguistic competence. Continued use is made of ICT, online resources, puzzles and activities to support language acquisition. Time is also spent thinking about effective revision strategies and designing tools to support these.
Years 12 and 13: A Level French or Spanish
Choosing to study a Modern Language at A Level is the smart route to a great future in today’s global, multilingual and interconnected world. This two-year programme builds on the skills acquired at GCSE to boost communicative fluency and to immerse students in the culture and heritage of the country where the language is spoken. Key topics cover contemporary political and social issues relevant to teenagers and to their future careers. Students also study works of literature and film as a means of cementing and contextualising the linguistic and cultural content of the course. More than one language can be studied.
Outside the Classroom
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 across the school receive whole class and/or one-to-one support.
Co-Curricular activities include a World Film Club, to open further discussion about other languages and cultures, and a Languages Spelling Bee.