Skip to content ↓
  • we value...


    Continuing not in the absence of fear but to triumph over it.

  • We Value...


    Doing the right thing when no-one is watching you do it.

  • We value...


    Thinking of yourself less... not thinking less of yourself

  • We value...


    Working hard to achieve... no matter how far you have to go

  • We value...


    Changing the world... with one act of random kindness every day

  • Modern Foreign Languages

    Welcome to the Modern Foreign Languages department

    Curriculum intentions and Aims

    Through the study of MFL, students will develop their intercultural understanding whilst simultaneously enhancing their communication and comprehension skills to become confident global citizens.

    We believe that the study of a foreign language not only provides our pupils with useful skills which are fast becoming essential in a modern and highly competitive world, but it also gives them a liberating and life-enhancing experience, which adds breadth to their cultural, social and linguistic knowledge and skills.

    MFL is one of the larger departments in the school and is well-regarded. It is made up of eleven members of staff with most staff able to teach two foreign languages. We also have a visiting CLEC teacher from China each year. We offer our students the opportunity to study French, German, Spanish and Mandarin through the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

    The department employs a range of strategies to ensure students learn in an enjoyable, positive and inclusive environment. We deliver the curriculum through a bespoke skills focused course which aims to build cultural capital through implementing lessons that are lively, carefully structured and interactive. We have adopted Dr Gianfranco Conti’s method of Extensive Processing Instruction (EPI) to enable our students to become successful language learners and our teaching resources reflect the EPI principles.

    Substantial use is made of the target language in the classroom, and there is a strong emphasis on quality of relationships and on confidence building.


    Students are taught in mixed ability classes throughout Years 7, 8 and 9. Our emphasis is on developing confidence in the language so in Year 7 we consolidate students’ experience of language learning at primary school with a focus largely on phonics, high frequency structures and the use of cognates. In Year 8 the focus on phonics continues and we introduce students to grammatical structures such as the past, present and future tenses. In Year 9 we lay the foundation for GCSE language study by introducing students to the use of more complex vocabulary and grammatical structures.

    In Year 7 students are assessed on their listening and speaking skills alongside a focus on grammar and translation skills. In Year 8 students are assessed on their listening, speaking and reading skills alongside grammar and translation skills. In Year 9 all four skills are assessed.

    Y7 topics Y8 topics Y9 topics
    • Introducing myself
    • Family and Friends
    • Where I live
    • A Day in my Life
    • Free time
    • My Area
    • Food and Lifestyle
    • Media
    • Life as a Teenager
    • A region of France/Spain/Germany
    • My school
    • My free time
    • Travel
    • Me, my family & friends
    • My town & region


    The majority of our students are entered for a GCSE in French, Spanish or German. Students are taught in sets from Y10 to enable us to focus on preparing candidates for the most suitable tier of entry.

    We prepare candidates for the AQA specification over the course of 2 years following a bespoke course developed by our teachers for our students. Throughout KS4, students are regularly assessed in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing using GCSE exam style tasks in order to prepare them for their final exam at the end of Y11,

    The themes covered are:

    • Theme 1: Identity and Culture (relationships, free time, technology, festivals)
    • Theme 2: Local, National, International and Global areas of interest (home and local area, travel and tourism, global and social issues)
    • Theme 3: Current and Future study and Employment (school studies, life at school, education post 16, careers and future plans)


    The Department has a commitment to extending learning beyond the formal curriculum where we offer a number of international links and extra-curricular activities including cinema visits, penfriend exchanges, visits to our partner schools and activities in partnership with the University of Warwick.


    At KS5 we currently offer French and Spanish at A level (AQA specification)and Mandarin (Edexcel) and/or IB Mandarin Standard Level Diploma. We benefit from smaller class sizes enabling us to personalise learning to students’ individual needs. We are fortunate to have a strong and supportive team of subject specialists and the department is well resourced. We encourage our A Level French and Spanish students to visit France or Spain during their course and have organised work experience exchange visits with our partner schools in France and Spain.

    A Level French

    • Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends
    • Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues
    • Artistic culture in the French-speaking world
    • Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world
    • Grammar
    • Study of a French language film
    • Study of a French language text

    A Level Spanish

    • Aspects of Hispanic society
    • Artistic culture in the Hispanic world
    • Multiculturalism in Hispanic society
    • Aspects of political life in Hispanic society
    • Grammar
    • Study of a Spanish language film
    • Study of a Spanish language text

    MANDARIN Chinese

    Finham Park is the home to one of two secondary school Confucius Classrooms in the West Midlands and was awarded Global Confucius Classroom of the Year in 2018. As part of the year 7 World Class Studies enrichment programme, all pupils in year 7 take a 12-week module in Mandarin and Chinese culture.

    In addition to the Confucius Classroom, Finham Park was identified as one of the hub schools to deliver the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP), an intensive language learning programme funded by the British government. From their arrival in Y7, MEP students receive four hours per week of Mandarin tuition and complete up to four hours per week of independent study in the form of online activities, language and project work. With this generous amount of curriculum time, students make rapid progress and quickly build up confidence in understanding the language and culture of China. Please visit the Mandarin Chinese page for more information.

    links to websites related to Our languages courses

    Department staff

    Head of Department, International School Co-ordinator and Confucius Classroom Manager Ms J Darby (M.Ed)
    Head of French (Deputy Head of Department) Ms J Staton (BA)
    Head of Spanish Ms D Malin (MEd)
    Head of Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) Ms L Zhu (MSc, CTeach)
      Ms K Bellew (MA)
      Mr S Marfleet (BA)
      Ms L Jones
      Ms L Meacham (BA)
      Ms S Lopez-Villen (MA)
      Ms M Yu (BA)
      Ms J Mansell (MA with TESOL)