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French & Spanish

We are an inclusive Languages Department whose motto is ‘Achievement through Enjoyment’. We aim to make learning another language fun and a languages classroom at Upton is an enjoyable place to learn. As language lessons are so varied and include a range of different learning and teaching approaches, we believe that there is something for everyone. Classrooms are well equipped and the department is well resourced with a number of online learning platforms.  Learners 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 and Languages pedagogy. French and Spanish are taught to KS5.

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Follow us on Twitter: @UptonLanguages



The Languages Department strives to develop a love for languages and learning about different cultures. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum for all learners, which is rich in skills and knowledge, promotes diversity and a deeper understanding of other cultures.  A well-mapped and sequenced curriculum that is ambitious, with high expectations for all is in place, building upon key transferable skills taught across the learning journey. 

The learning of all learners is well supported to ensure equity of access, consistency and continuity of experience across the department. We recognise that our disadvantaged or SEND learners may have greater difficultly accessing the curriculum. All learners are supported with high quality learning and teaching that is adapted to suit their needs. We ensure that learners have access to all resources and are provided with free copies of revision guides. We check their understanding through targeted questioning, we have a quality first marking and feedback approach and we consider their place on our seating plans.  

Learners will develop transferable communication skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing competencies in the target language over the course of their studies. They will respond to listening and reading texts from a variety of sources and develop their ability to express their own experiences and opinions with increasing spontaneity and fluency.

Learners will be explicitly taught grammatical structures and syntax using formal terminology in order to develop their awareness of language construction in both the second language and in English.  The teaching of vocabulary is both explicit and implicit along with the etymology and morphology of words in order to make links with other languages and other cultures. 

We aim to inspire lifelong linguists and enrich learners’ cultural capital by broadening their understanding of the wider world, cultural experiences and language knowledge.

Language learning goes beyond grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Learning about other cultures underpins all language learning and teaching. Language is part of our everyday lives and is entwined with culture; consequently, broadening the cultural capital of our learners is a key part of all language lessons. 

Exposure to other cultures broadens learners’ cultural capital.  In language lessons, learners develop their knowledge of other cultures, learn tolerance, appreciate diversity and learn key customs, traditions and etiquette. Language lessons are cross-curricular; not only do they consider the literature of another country, they necessarily involve learning about the history, geography, current affairs, human rights, all aspects that help develop their knowledge and understanding of the world and contribute to British values. 

Second language acquisition develops first language literacy levels.  Learners are exposed to different forms of writing, learn about the origin of words, deepen their knowledge of grammar and expand their vocabulary in order to communicate effectively in another language. 

Language learning helps to prepare young people for life in further education and in the world of work.  Language learning develops key ‘soft skills’ which are highly sought after in the work place. Learners learn how to listen closely, respond carefully using the correct register, infer meaning from context, and speak clearly so that they are able to communicate in the most effective way possible.  

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 & 9)

At Key Stage 3, whilst learning is topic-based, skills are regularly revisited and our curriculum is centred upon the world with which learners are familiar. We cover a diverse range of subjects such as personal information, family, pets, school, free time, holidays etc. To ensure that learning is fun, lessons are varied and may include group and pair work, listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities, songs and a wide repertoire of games to help maximise learning. 

Click here for further information: Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4 (Years 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 learners to develop their language skills to a degree where they are confident in communicating in the foreign language.

Learners 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%)
  • Learners are entered for either Foundation or Higher Tier 

At GCSE, our French and Spanish learners sit the AQA examinations and they follow the OUP AQA GCSE courses with online textbooks available to them at  Learners have their own log in details to access these resources. 

Links to the exam board website can be found in the KS4 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 learners.  Letters are sent to parents regarding the revision guides but please contact the department for further information. 

Click here for further information: Key Stage 4

Key Stage 5

In the Sixth Form learning becomes more personalised. Languages are taught in small groups 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. Learners also receive individual speaking sessions with the Languages Assistant to improve fluency and increase exposure to native speakers.

We also follow the AQA A level courses.

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.

Click here for further information: Key Stage 5


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 learners have sampled authentic dishes and ordered in the foreign language.

At certain times of the year, we run lunchtime French and Spanish clubs for learners, 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 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 learners arrive at Upton, teachers here are familiar to them.

We have forged links with local universities and take our learners 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.

Staff & Responsibilities

  • Mrs J. Thompson, Head of Department, French & Spanish
  • Mrs H. Marcano, Second in Department, Spanish & French
  • Mrs P. Trott, French & Spanish
  • Miss S. Welch, French & Spanish
  • Miss L. Stedmans, French
  • Mr S. Bell, Spanish & French

Language Assistants

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

Homework Policy

The Languages Department sets homework for all learners and the task will vary depending on the year group and ability level. However, learners 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 learners’ subject knowledge and securing further progress.

At Key Stage 3, learners 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 learners are expected to be more thorough and to spend more time on their homework.

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


Our feedback policy is in line with the whole school feedback policy.

Feedback will take place regularly and can be delivered in a variety of ways.  The purpose of feedback in Languages is to check for understanding, to inform subsequent planning, to offer learners guidance so that they can improve further and to praise good work and effort.  In the majority of lessons, most work will be marked, corrected, amended or improved by the learners in purple pen. Green pen will be used for teacher marking where deemed appropriate. 


Assessment is both formative and summative in Languages. Summative assessments will assess the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, which includes translation.

Assessment information will be shared with learners prior to the assessment with details posted in Show My Homework.

2023-2024 Upton by Chester Assessment Schedule

Useful websites

Follow us on Twitter: @UptonLanguages and you can find:

  • Exam tips
  • Useful phrases
  • Trip information
  • Links to useful websites
  • Competitions

And much, much more!