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Upton-by-Chester High School


French, German, Spanish & Mandarin Chinese

Our motto in the Languages Department is ‘Achievement through Enjoyment’. We aim to make studying a language fun and a languages classroom in Upton is an enjoyable place to learn. Because language lessons are so varied and include a range of skills, we believe that there is something for everyone. Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology and students are encouraged to be interactive and explore different ways of learning. Staff are dedicated to keeping up to date with new and innovative techniques in the classroom, working with interactive whiteboards and iPads. French and Spanish are offered.

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Email the department:


  • Mrs J. Thompson (Critchley), Head of Department, French & Spanish, E-learning Facilitator
  • Mrs L. Stanisstreet, 2nd in Department, Spanish & French
  • Miss W. Gordon, Director of Sixth Form, German & French
  • Miss S. Welch, Head of Year 8, French & Spanish
  • Miss L. Stedmans, French
  • Miss S. Beuzit, 2nd Deputy Head, French & Spanish
  • Mrs L. Granville, Mandarin Chinese
  • Mrs P. Trott, French, German & Spanish
  • Mr C. Doherty, Spanish
  • Mrs H. Aston

Language Assistants

  • Mrs N. Harlot, French Assistant
  • Mrs M. Serrano Williams, Spanish Assistant


Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8)
At Key Stage 3, learning is topic-based and is centred upon the world with which students are familiar. We cover a diverse range of subjects such as school, free time, where we live, family, pets, jobs, pocket-money, clothes etc. To ensure that learning is fun, lessons are very varied and may include group and pair work, speaking, reading, writing, listening, song, mime and a wide repertoire of games to help students practise and learn.

Key Stage 4 (Years 9,10 & 11)

We believe that in today’s world, where the emphasis is on global communication, a qualification in a language is a valuable asset. As businesses and industries seek to forge stronger links overseas, there is an increasing demand for those who are able to communicate with others in their language and linguists are much sought-after in the job market. The language courses offered at Upton are designed to enable students to develop their language skills to a degree where they are confident in communicating in the foreign language.

Students are encouraged to explore a range of contexts, through the foreign language, relating to their own lifestyle and that of those people in the country of the foreign language. The course enables them to gain knowledge and understanding of the language and culture. The topics covered are relevant to the modern world and young people and include a wide spectrum of themes under the three broad themes: Identity & Culture, Local, International & Global Areas of Interest and Current & Future Study & Employment.

Methods of Assessment:

  • Listening paper, Foundation or Higher Tier (25%)
  • Reading paper, Foundation or Higher Tier (25%)
  • Writing paper, Foundation or Higher Tier (25%)
  • 1 speaking exam at end of course, teacher conducted (25%)
  • Students are entered for either Foundation or Higher Tier 

Curriculum Information

Students studying Spanish in years 7 & 8 follow the Mira Express course and students studying French in years 7 & 8 follow the Studio 1 and 2 course.  At GCSE, our French, German and Spanish students sit the AQA examinations and they follow the OUP AQA GCSE courses with online textbooks available to them at   Students have their own log in details to access these resources.  Our Mandarin students sit the Edexcel examinations and follow the Edexcel Mandarin course book.  Links to the exam board websites can be found in the useful website section with links to past exam papers and support materials.  We offer revision guides available to purchase to follow our course books and we highly recommend these resources to our students.  Letters are sent to parents regarding the revision guides but please contact the department for further information.

Sixth Form

In the Sixth Form learning becomes more personalised. Languages are taught in small groups and the atmosphere is informal and teaching is geared to the needs of each individual. We study diverse topics that are global issues, such as the environment, health, addiction, aspects of the modern family, immigration and technology. Students also receive individual speaking sessions with the Languages Assistant to improve fluency and increase exposure to native speakers.

Methods of Assessment are by skill:

  • Listening, Reading and writing are assessed in a formal exam
  • Speaking is assessed in a formal exam conducted by the class teacher.

Homework Policy

The Languages Department sets homework for all students and the task will vary depending on the year group and ability level. However, students should expect to receive homework at least once per week. We use homework as a means of consolidating what has been learnt in lessons or as a means of extending students’ subject knowledge and securing further progress.

At Key Stage 3, students can expect a variety of homework which may include completion of worksheets, vocabulary learning, reading, writing and research.

At Key Stages 4 & 5 homework may be along the same lines but will be more extensive and students are expected to be more thorough and to spend more time on their homework.

Students can complete additional work outside of lessons in addition to homework. 

Extension tasks have been set on for all students in years 7-11 that students can complete at any time over the course of their studies. Teachers monitor and recognise students’ use of this website to extend their learning.

All vocabulary that students are required to revise and learn can be accessed on the website  Students have been shown how to use this website and access their class by their teacher. Students are expected to revise their vocabulary on a regular basis outside of lessons. 

Marking Policy

Our marking policy is in line with the whole school marking policy. Student feedback is critical in ensuring that good progress is made. 

Students have two books in Languages; a Class Book and Progress Book. Class Books are used as notes books for work in lessons and students peer or self-assess the work in these books. Teachers will check the books regularly to ensure books are well presented but are not expected to mark these books. The Progress Book is where students will complete work that the teacher will mark. Students will also complete redrafted work in this book and read and respond to teacher feedback. 

Marking of work will be written in a contrasting coloured pen and student response to targets or feedback will be written in purple. Feedback can be delivered in both written and verbal form. 

Teachers will mark work and provide targets using the Departmental prompt bank, which is contained in the student planner. 

Students will record their vocabulary and assessment scores either in their progress book or at GCSE, their Progress in MFL booklets.

Further Opportunities in the Languages Department

We consider that exposure to the culture and language is a vital part of language learning and have organised numerous trips to local restaurants, where students have sampled authentic dishes and ordered in the foreign language.

At certain times of the year, we run lunchtime French and Spanish clubs for students, which are advertised along the languages corridor.

The Languages department believes that any language acquisition can open doors and we aim to promote global language learning in our classrooms. We celebrate European Day of Languages and students can learn about languages and diverse culture of the European Community.

We believe that early exposure to foreign language learning is extremely beneficial, and we have developed links with local primary schools to ease the transition to Secondary School language learning, so that when Year 7 students arrive at Upton, teachers here are familiar to them.

We have forged links with local universities and take our students for Language Taster Days, in which they can participate in workshops, be immersed in the foreign language and gain an insight into learning a language at degree level.

Useful websites

Follow us on Twitter: and you can find:

  • Tips on how to improve your grade
  • Useful phrases
  • Trip information
  • Links to useful websites
  • Competitions

And much, much more!