The modern languages department offers a range of GCSE courses, all of which contribute to the English Baccalaureate.
In Key Stage 4, there are three-year GCSE courses in French, German and Mandarin Chinese. Pupils are taught in mixed-ability classes for three lessons per week. Pupils are encouraged to continue the language that they are doing, but may also start a new or second language from scratch if they are motivated to do so. The new specification GCSE is 100% final exam, with 25% of the mark coming from each skill – listening, speaking, reading and writing.
GCSE courses are also offered in Key Stage 5. There are one-year intensive courses in French and Spanish for which pupils have six lessons per week. Chinese GCSE is offered as a two-year course in Years 12 and 13 for students who wish to enrich their other Level 3 courses.
All GCSE pupils are expected to regularly learn vocabulary. Students will be given vocabulary lists to learn and will be encouraged to practise using vocabulary learning websites such as memrise. They will also need to learn new grammar rules including tense formation so that they can apply these in their own work.
All languages are examined by Edexcel and therefore have exactly the same assessment arrangements.
What is GCSE like?
If you’re continuing with the same language, you’ve been studying for GCSE languages from the moment you started the course at Homewood. It includes all the topics that you have completed in Years 7&8 and builds on them. If not, you have also learnt loads of the skills you need to learn a language and can use them to learn your new one.
By the end of Year 8, you will have completed the following parts of each of the 4 GCSE topics that you cover:
Travel & Tourism
- What's in Town
- Public Transport
Sports & Leisure
Media & Culture
Business, Work & Employment
In Key Stage 4 (years 9, 10 & 11) you will have 3 lessons of language per week and you will always have the same teacher.
What exams must I take?
For GCSE you must be tested in speaking, listening, reading & writing (as you were in Key Stage 3). The new specification GCSE is 100% final exam, with 25% of the mark coming from each skill – listening, speaking, reading and writing.
What does the exam involve?
There are foundation and higher tier papers and each candidate is entered for the same tier in all papers according to ability. This will be decided in consultation with the teacher based on the performance of the student in lessons and assessments.
Paper 1 – Listening
You listen to several passages in the target language and answer questions about them. These are a mixture of multiple-choice questions in English and the target language and some open-ended questions.
Paper 2 – Speaking
This is made up of a role play, a picture-based task and a conversation on 2 topics. The first topic is chosen by the candidate and the second by the exam board.
Paper 3 – Reading
This is made up of a series of passages in the target language with questions about them in both English and the target language. There is also a short translation into English.
Paper 4 – Writing
This is made up of 3 shorter writing tasks in the foundation tier paper or 2 longer writing tasks in the higher tier paper and a translation into the target language.