As part of their Key Stage 4 studies, students are required to learn a modern language. At Ballyclare High School, students may continue with both of the languages they are studying in Year 10 or they may decide to choose only one of them. Students are entered for GCSE examinations in French, German and Spanish with CCEA. It is hoped that the study of languages will be enjoyable and will promote a positive attitude towards other people and their culture.
The content of the course is organised into three Contexts for Learning. These are outlined in more detail below:
Context 1: Identity, Lifestyle and Culture
- Myself, my family, relationships;
- Social media and new technology;
- Free time, leisure and daily routine;
- Culture, customs, festivals and celebrations.
Context 2: Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest
- My local area and the wider environment;
- Community involvement;
- Social and global issues;
- Travel and tourism
Context 3: School Life, Studies and the World of Work
- My studies and school life;
- Extra-curricular activities;
- Part-time jobs and money management;
- Future plans and career.
In their classes, students take part in activities which will allow them to use the modern language by developing their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The course is assessed through a combination of written papers (listening, reading and writing) and one teacher-facilitated speaking test.
Unit 1: Listening – 25%
Students can be entered for either Foundation or Higher tier. Students answer 12 questions and responses include: selection; gap-filling; answering questions in English and answering questions in French/German/Spanish.
Unit 2: Speaking – 25%
Students will complete one teacher-facilitated and externally marked speaking examination. There is only one tier of entry. The test lasts 7 – 12 minutes. Each test includes: two role plays and a general conversation.
Unit 3: Reading – 25%
Students can be entered for either Foundation or Higher tier. Students answer 12 questions and responses include: selection; gap-filling; answering questions in English; answering questions in French/German/Spanish and translating short sentences from French/German/Spanish into English.
Unit 4: Writing – 25%
Students can be entered for either Foundation or Higher tier. Students answer four questions and responses include: a listing and short phrase task in French/German/Spanish (Foundation Tier only); short phrase / sentence responses in French/German/Spanish (both tiers); short responses in French/German/Spanish to one or more pieces of text (Higher Tier); translation of short sentences from English into French/German/Spanish (both tiers) and one structured, extended writing task in French/German/Spanish from a choice of three (both tiers).
Careers & Further Study
The GCSE course builds on the Key Stage 3 study and prepares students for further study. French, German and Spanish can all be studied at Advanced Level.
The study of a language can lead to numerous careers. Those which use languages as a main skill include interpreting, translating and teaching. Careers with languages as a secondary skill include government service, law, travel and tourism, secretarial work, sales and marketing, commerce, finance and industry and the media.