Pupils can opt to take Spanish in the First Form, and no previous knowledge of the language is assumed. At this stage the basic grammatical foundations are laid and all four linguistic skills are developed, though the emphasis is placed on enjoyment and using the language productively. In the Third Form, students can choose to study Spanish as beginners, but there is a continuers set too.
In the exam years, pupils follow the IGCSE course in which all four skills are examined at the end of Fifth Form, through separate tests for listening, reading, writing and speaking. Pupils seeking to boost their language at the start of the course can take part in the study trip to Tarifa in the south of Spain or the Argentinean exchange. Every Fifth Form pupil has one lesson a week with the Spanish Assistant and is encouraged to participate in travel to a Spanish speaking country.
In the Sixth Form, the Pre-U syllabus is taught with a focus on politics, history and current affairs, alongside grammar and textual manipulation. The course also allows pupils to expand their understanding of Hispanic culture through detailed study of key cultural figures and their works, such as Lorca, Márquez and Cervantes.
Great emphasis is placed on studying the various themes in a Spanish context, and much use is made of extracts from Spanish newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts. Particular importance is attached to developing fluency and maturity of expression. Every Sixth Form pupil has one lesson a week with the Spanish Assistant and is encouraged to participate in trips to a Spanish speaking country. Trips vary each year, and have included cultural visits to Barcelona, study trips to Salamanca, and an exchange with a school in Buenos Aires.
A significant number of pupils go on to study Spanish at university, including Oxford and Cambridge, frequently combining it with other languages or with other subjects such as History, English, Economics or Philosophy.
Miss M Viruete Navarro
Head of Department