Modern Foreign Languages

sandbach high school

General information


The Modern Foreign Languages department at Sandbach High School strives to stimulate a passion for language learning in all our pupils. 


Our principal aims are: 

  • To nurture an enjoyment of foreign languages in our pupils 
  • To empower students as effective users of foreign languages  
  • To encourage appreciation of and respect for different cultures  
  • To motivate pupils to fulfil their potential by balancing challenge with support 


We are proud of our policy of Languages for All to GCSE. We seek to live the visions and values of the school throughout our curriculum and in the extensive extra-curricular opportunities we offer. 

Curriculum Lead

Miss H O’Rourke 


We are deeply committed to creating confident linguists with an intrinsic love of languages and an appreciation for the culture of other countries.  We seek to nurture curiosity in our pupils and build their skills and resilience so that they are well prepared to use their languages in real-world applications in their education, working life or free time.  


At all key stages students learn, through the skill areas of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, the key concepts which are needed to understand and communicate in the target language. We take time to revisit key topics, structures, pronunciation patterns and grammatical concepts throughout our curriculum to strengthen our pupils’ knowledge and to develop excellent oracy and literacy skills. At all Key Stages pupils have opportunities to experience language in authentic contexts and learn about the culture of the countries where the language is spoken. Lessons from Year 7 through to Year 13 are characterised by varied activities to develop the full range of language skills.  


French and Spanish are equal first foreign languages. Each year group is divided into two populations with one learning French and the other Spanish. Students study their first foreign language from Year 7 to Year 11. They have the opportunity to take a second or third language to GCSE level, choosing from French, Spanish and German. 


 Our approach supports pupils in building up knowledge from small chunks of language into longer sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Lessons at all key stages are interactive and engaging and we use extensive modelling techniques and extensive processing tasks. We devote time and attention to practising vocabulary recall, as well as accurate pronunciation and spelling, and explicitly teach students how to apply their knowledge in different contexts. Students are provided with a knowledge organiser to support their learning in lessons and at home.  


Formative assessment is at the heart of our lessons at all key stages, and we use a variety of assessment tools in lessons to monitor each student’s understanding and progress. Students receive regular written feedback to which they have the opportunity to respond. All four skills of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking are also assessed through formal tests and exams each year.  


Our students are well-prepared to make the transition from one year to the next and between key stages.  Almost all young people at Sandbach High School finish Year 11 with a qualification in at least one foreign language and many achieve a qualification in more than one. We also have a strong history of our A Level students gaining university places to continue to study languages. Students engage well with the range of extra-curricular activities offered including university study days, foreign film viewings and exchanges with our partner schools in Spain and Germany.   


At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA GCSE syllabus, with examinations in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, which are sat at the end of the course. You can find more information about the GCSE specification for French, Spanish and German on the AQA website.  


At Key Stage 5 we offer A Level courses in French, Spanish and German.  Students follow the AQA syllabus, with examinations in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing at the end of the course. You can find more information about the A Level specification for French, Spanish and German on the AQA website. 


We are always willing to offer assistance to students in preparing for GCSE examinations in additional languages which they have learned at home. In recent years students have sat examinations in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish. 

Wider Curriculum

We offer a range of regular weekly clubs and educational visits within the department, including opportunities to travel abroad. In addition to this we create opportunities for our pupils through national and regional languages competitions which promote language learning and careers in MFL.  


Opportunities include: 


  • Spanish Exchange 
  • German Exchange 
  • Normandy Residential 
  • MFL Film Club 
  • HOME Cinema Trips 
  • Business Language Champions (GCHQ) Competitions 
  • Escape Room Events 
  • Flash Fiction Competition 
  • German Olympiad Competition 
  • Taster days at Girton College, Cambridge 
  • Lunchtime Drop-Ins 

Useful Links  



Follow us on twitter @SandHighMFL 

Follow us on Instagram @sandhighmfl 



5 tips to succeed at Key Stage 3 



1. Be brave 

Have a go at every activity and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Volunteer ideas in lessons and have a go at extra challenges. 

2. Practise often 

Use resources such as Language Gym and Quizlet to revise vocab you’ve learnt in lessons. 

3. Be curious 

Why not make a playlist of songs from the country of the language you are studying? 

4. Be organised 

Keep your pupil booklet in the back of your exercise book ready for every lesson. Add extra vocab to it, if you come across it! 

5. Look for details 

What similarities and differences can you see between English and the language you are studying? 


5 tips to succeed at Key Stage 4 

1. Be brave 

Try your best in every lesson task. Volunteer ideas, speak in the foreign language as much as possible, and have a go at extra challenges. 

2. Practise often 

Use resources Language Gym, Quizlet and Languages Online to practise vocabulary and grammar outside of lessons.  

3. Be curious 

Have you looked on Netflix and YouTube for some films and series in the language you are studying? 

4. Be organised 

Make sure you bring your exercise book and reference book to every lesson, and make sure all homework is completed on time. 

5. Look for details 

Make sure you always check your work to check for correct verb forms and agreements. 



5 tips to succeed at Key Stage 5 

1. Be brave 

Always speak in the foreign language in lessons. Volunteer ideas and opinions and don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree with others in debate. 

2. Practise often 

As much language learning happens outside the classroom as it does inside so be prepared to work independently and go beyond set homework tasks. 

3. Be curious 

Try to use authentic materials as much as possible to gain exposure to the target language and culture. Stay up to date with current affairs. 

4. Be organised 

Ensure that your folders and books are kept up to date with class work, homework and independent work. 

5. Pay attention to detail 

Try to use complex structures and a range of tenses in your work accurately. Practise using synonyms and structuring your ideas in different ways.