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Modern Languages

Every student who takes the IB will take a language at either Beginners, Standard or Higher Level.

Bexley Grammar offers a range of languages that can be studied as part of the IB course. French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Chinese are currently offered at Higher and Standard Level. In addition, at least two Beginners languages are offered each year, generally to students who have not continued languages to GCSE level (or who struggled to obtain a pass grade at at language GCSE) as this enables them to start a language from scratch in Year 12. This year (2017-18), French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin were offered.

Please note - students can choose one language at any level or two in any combination.


Is suitable for anyone:

  • wishing to start a new language from scratch; on its own or with another Language.
  • who has studied a language at KS3 and wants to pick it up again.
  • who enjoyed GCSE but found their Language hard; attained a grade 4/C or less but is keen to improve.
  • who wasn’t keen on their Language learning at GCSE but understands the benefits in learning a new language.

Rough course outline:

  • The content emphasis is on culture - learning about traditions and celebrations and comparing with your culture. So important in today’s society.
  • You discuss food, family, school, work, technology etc.​

Standard Level

Is suitable for:

  • any student who wants to build on their existing GCSE level (recommended grade 6/B or above).
  • students who have enjoyed MFL at GCSE but whose priorities lie elsewhere.
  • good linguists who want an additional Language to support a language at Higher Level and beyond.

​Rough course outline:

  • You study issues such as marriage and divorce, stereotypes, religious and national festivals, advertising, tourism etc.
  • You learn to write in different styles and registers e.g. an article, a letter of complaint, an email etc.​

Higher Level

Is suitable for:

  • any student who wants to build on their existing GCSE level (recommended grade 7/A or above).
  • students who think that their Language GCSE was one of your favourite subjects.
  • students who are thinking about they may possibly study Languages at university.
  • anyone who is good at Languages and understands the benefits language learning has in supporting a University application with any other combination of Highers.
  • students who might consider living or working abroad.

Rough course outline:

  • You study issues such as those at Standard Level, including immigration, the press / censorship, terrorism, body image, bilingualism etc.
  • You study 2 pieces of literature - but don't panic! We choose accessible, interesting texts (one of the French ones is only 100 pages in large font!)
  • You learn to write in different styles like in Standard Level and also use your imagination to create a short additional text linked to the literature e.g. and alternative ending, a diary entry as if you are a character, a news report based on an even in the book etc.

A bit more about the course and the lessons

The Year 12 Standard and Higher courses will improve the overall level of students’ competence in the language, especially cementing the foundations of grammar laid down at GCSE. They will learn to skim and scan texts, and will be encouraged to read for pleasure as well as to write in both a controlled and targeted way and to express themselves freely. They will study three core topics (Communication & Media, Global Issues and Social Relationships) and at least two of the following five options: Health; Customs & Traditions; Leisure; Science & Technology; Cultural Diversity).

The Year 13 courses will focus increasingly on the respective targets of Higher or Standard Level, with the Higher Level group extending the range and quantity of the material they cover, specifically through the study of target language literature, as well as refining their use of the language to reach the required Higher Level. The course is examined at the end of Year 13 with a range of written and spoken exams. Students will sit a reading comprehension paper (Paper I), an essay paper (Paper II) and a written assessment conducted in class which will give students the chance to write more creative pieces. In addition, students will sit three interactive oral exams, where they debate an issue with their peers, as well as an individual speaking exam in February of Year 13.

Students will develop the four skills they have known at GCSE to the levels required to deal with adult themes, where they will need to reflect complex ideas and shades of opinion and to tailor their language to the situation in which they are using it. This will be achieved through a wide range of activities encompassing a variety of styles and registers. Full use will be made of the school’s access to a wide range of media (via satellite, the Internet, periodicals and films) to provide the broadest possible range of exposure to the language used by native speakers. All the time they will be encouraged to use the spoken language as their means of communication. To encourage this, additional support will be provided outside timetabled lessons by a foreign language assistant. The Learning Resource Centre will be stocked for research and reading for pleasure, as well as offering Internet access, while the language lab offers facilities for self-study.

At the heart of the IB is the idea of encouraging an awareness and appreciation of other peoples, their cultures and perspectives. In Modern Languages we want to help achieve this by taking each student to a country where their language is spoken at least once during the course, and we organise a successful work experience trip each year to help students combine their linguistic skills with the opportunity to gain business experience. The Modern Languages Department also runs a range of Key Stage 5 cultural trips​ (to from local ones to the theatre, to those to China, Japan and Russia)​, ​and exchanges with schools in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

We hope that this will encourage students to adopt an international outlook and provide them with a firm basis for further study, work and leisure linked to the language they study, and maybe others they choose to study in the future.