Spanish is one of the official languages of the European Union and the United Nations, and is spoken as the first language in 21 countries. With 400 million speakers, it is the third most spoken language in the world after English and Mandarin. In our department we raise awareness of the importance of language and language learning, both in the classroom and on trips to Spain, and our highly experienced and qualified staff employ a range of teaching strategies which combine the best of new ideas with excellent practice.

About the department

We aim to develop skills, confidence and creativity in the four key areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Teachers are specialised, experienced and enthusiastic, using a wide range of activities and strategies to help students enjoy learning foreign languages while developing their linguistic ability. Authentic resources and the use of the foreign language in and outside the classroom are considered a vital part of languages teaching at St Mary’s and the department offers a range of extracurricular activities and trips abroad in order to enhance the language learning experience at our school.

Key Stage 3
Our KS3 curriculum, provides our students with the key concepts of grammar, content and cultural understanding that they need to succeed. We use a range of teaching resources including the Viva text books. Topics are taught through the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, but we also focus on the core grammar points in preparation for the GCSE course. Pupils are encouraged to participate actively in lessons. We incorporate engaging activities to support learning in every lesson, such as cultural research, using mini whiteboards, watching cultural video clips and playing competitive Team games online in our computer room. We subscribe to various language learning websites that pupils can access both at home and at school for vocabulary learning and practice.
Year 7 Topics



-Describing yourself



Year 8 Topics


-Free Time

-Describing your town

-Describing yourself and others

-Daily Routines

Year 9 Topics

-Holidays cont

-Shopping for food

-Eating in Restaurants

-Shopping for clothes

-Describing a town cont

Key Stage 4
Students who opt to study Spanish at GCSE will follow the AQA syllabus. The course builds upon the skills developed at Key Stage 3 and further develops fluency and depth on the following topics:

1. Identity and culture

2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest

3. Current and future study and employment

Students are assessed on 4 skills, and can be entered either at foundation or higher level:

Tier: Foundation Higher
Paper 1 - Listening - 25% 35 minutes 45 minutes Students answer a variety of questions on extracts recorded by native Spanish speakers.
Paper 2 - Speaking - 25% 7-9 minutes 10-12 minutes Students will have to take part in a role play, describe a photo and have a general conversation on the topics studied.
Paper 3 - Reading - 25% 45 minutes 1 hour Students will have to answer a range of questions on Spanish texts. There will also be a translation from Spanish to English.
Paper 4 - Writing -25% 1 hour 1 hour 15 Students will have to write a short structured task in Spanish and, if entered for higher tier, an open ended task. There will also be a translation from English to Spanish.

Exam Board:  AQA -  Specification code: 8698, QAN code: 601/8160/6

For further details please visit:

Key Stage 5
Students who opt to study A Level Spanish will follow the AQA syllabus. The course build upon the four skills developed at GCSE and covers a wide range of topics including:

1. Aspects of Hispanic society: current trends

- Modern and Traditional Values

- Cyberspace

- Equal Rights

2. Multiculturalism in Hispanic Society
       - Immigration

       - Racism
       - Integration

3. Artistic culture in the Hispanic world

- Modern Day Idols

- Spanish Regional Identity

- Cultural Heritage

4. Aspects of political life in the Hispanic world
       - Today’s youth, tomorrow’s citizens
       - Monarchies and Dictatorships
       - Popular Movements

Students will also study a film, currently El Laberinto del Fauna, by Pedro Almodóvar, and a play, currently La casa de Bernada Alba by Lorca.
In Year 13 students will complete an independent research project on a topic of their choice.

Students are assessed in 4 areas:

Paper 1 50% 2h30 minutes Listening, reading and translations
Paper 2 20% 2 hours Two essays on each of the works studied
paper 3 30% 21-23 minutes Discussion on one of the themes studied and presentation of the individual research project.

Exam Board: AQA - Specification 7692

For further details please visit:

The government has recognised that there is a modern languages skills gap. Choosing to study a language at degree level is a way of boosting your employability.


Besides the traditional paths of interpreting, translating and teaching, students with language skills are in demand. Universities value a Languages A-level as a highly academic subject due to the transferable skills that students develop - these skills can be used in almost any career with pathways including jobs in business, law, journalism, politics, architecture and engineering. There are now many university courses which combine languages study with another subject.

For further information about the Spanish curriculum please contact:

Mrs L Craven

Head of Spanish Department

For further information about the Spanish curriculum please contact:

Mrs C Parkin
Head of Spanish Department