St Bede's Inter-Church School

St Bede’s Inter-Church School

“Cum Deo - With God”  •  Cambridge
St Bede’s Free School Go
Ofsted Outstanding


The Modern Foreign Languages Department at St. Bede’s currently consists of four full-time members and one part-time member of staff. We are also fortunate to have dedicated French and German language assistants who support staff and students in lessons.

Languages are primarily taught in four specialist classrooms located in a single Languages building. Classrooms are bright and spacious and are all equipped with ‘Smartboard’ interactive whiteboards.

Languages are compulsory for approximately 70% of the cohort at GCSE and students are encouraged to continue with the study of at least one of the languages (French and German). We seek to foster self-confidence, develop a love of languages in all students regardless of ability and our expectations are high. Students of all abilities enjoy their language lessons and participate well.  Students from Years 8 to 11 receive two hours of teaching per week in both languages, Year 7 students receive two hours of French.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 and Year 8)

In Year 7 students study French and are taught in mixed ability tutor groups. After October half term they are taught in the same groups as their English sets. This arrangement continues into Year 8. In Year 8 most students begin the study of German as a second foreign language. The course in both languages allows students to make rapid progress in their use and understanding of the foreign language – starting with simple nouns and phrases, to sentences and paragraphs, whilst at the same time using more complex language as different tenses and more advanced structures are introduced.

Key Stage 4 (Year 9, Year 10, Year 11)

The GCSE in French and German is a natural progression from the topics and grammar that have already been studied. For example, students already know how to talk about themselves, family and friends, school, hobbies, where they live, food and drink. The aim of the course is to enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the foreign language (including grammar) in a variety of contexts.

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing skills are all examined in the final term of Year 11. New skills to be examined include spontaneous conversation, translation from and into the foreign language, and use of authentic texts in the Reading exam. Students who opt to take a GCSE in French and / or German will be adding an international dimension to their choice of subjects, which is something many employers and higher education providers want.

Content: There are five topic areas to be studied:

  • Identity and Culture
  • Local area, holiday and travel
  • School
  • Future aspirations, study and work
  • International and global dimension


Students take four exams worth 25% each of the final GCSE grade. They can study at either Foundation or Higher level, and will be awarded a grade between 1 and 9, with 9 being the highest.


Paper / skill being examined





Listening exam


This requires students to listen to recordings in French / German and answer questions about what they hear. Some of the questions will be multiple-choice and some will require students to write short answers in English and French / German.





I hour approx


Reading exam


The reading section will give students texts to read and questions to answer. Some of the questions will be multiple-choice and some will ask for short answers in English and French / German. Texts will be from authentic French / German sources such as magazines and books. Students will also need to translate sentences or a short passage from French / German into English.





1 hour approx


Speaking exam


In this part of the exam students will undertake a role play with the examiner (the student's teacher) and talk about a photo. They will also talk about two of the five topic areas that have been studied.





10-15 mins


Writing exam


In the Foundation paper students will write about a photo, write a short passage and write a longer one on one of a choice of two topics.

In the Higher paper students will write longer passages about two topics from a choice of four.

At both levels there is also a translation exercise from English into French / German.





1 hour approx.


This qualification offers suitable progression for students wishing to study French at A Level. Students will also develop their ability to solve problems, work independently and communicate confidently. Having a GCSE in a language can considerably boost a student’s further education and employability prospects.

Trips and Visits

These are currently under review

Names and contact details of staff:

Mr S Westgate (Head of Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages):

Mrs S Barton (Teacher of MFL):

Miss H Welchman (Teacher of MFL):

Miss J Watson (Teacher of MFL):

Mrs B Davidson (Teacher of MFL):

Useful links: for an excellent online (free!) dictionary. select KS3 or GCSE for a range of interactive Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing tasks. Includes grammar revision and tests in all skills.  for some excellent interactive language and grammar activities.  for exam-related information