Brighton Hill Community School

with specialist sports status

Brighton Hill Community School

with specialist sports status
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Home >> Study >> Modern Foreign Languages >> MFL at Key Stage Four

Published on - 31-10-2012

MFL at Key Stage Four

Our students in Year 9 who have chosen to continue with a Modern Foreign Language complete a Foundation year to prepare them for the requirements of the GCSE specification. This is an intensive course for those opting for German or Spanish which covers the KS3 course in one year, building upon the language-learning skills which students have developed in Years 7 and 8.   In Years 10 and 11 students follow the AQA GCSE Specification A course.  Our current Year 11 students in the top 2 sets study GCSE French as a core subject and students in the third set study the AQA FCSE German course, having completed the AQA FCSE French course in Year 10.  

All students, regardless of ability, are given the opportunity to study French, German or Spanish as an option from Year 9.  We firmly believe that students should study at least one language for their five years of secondary education, as the knowledge of a modern foreign language can only be of benefit to a student, no matter which career path they choose to take.

GCSE French and Spanish
Current Year 11 French students in Sets 1 and 2 and all Year 10 option classes follow this qualification from the beginning of Year 10.

We use the AQA specification for GCSE, for which all 4 skills of Listening (20% of final grade), Speaking (30% of final grade), Reading (20% of final grade) and Writing (30% of final grade) are assessed.  In Year 10, students begin the GCSE controlled assessments in Speaking and Writing and submit their best two assessments in each skill at the end of Year 11.  They sit final examinations in Listening and Reading, at either Foundation or Higher tier, at the end of Year 11.   Students follow programmes of study in the following areas over the course of Years 10 and 11:

Home and Environment
Work and Education

Students spend 4 hours per 2 weeks on KS4 French and Spanish

For more information about the AQA GCSE qualification, please visit:

General information for students and parents and access to past exam paper

Information about the GCSE French specification

Information about the GCSE Spanish specification


Foundation Certificate in Secondary Education (FCSE)
In the current Year 11 Set 3 follows the FCSE German course which consists of 3 units, studied over one year, arranged into 4 themes which correspond to current GCSE themes.  In Year 10, they completed 3 units of the FCSE French course.  These students will therefore receive a double qualification at the end of the two-year course.

All four language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) are taught and assessed throughout the course and students are awarded a Distinction (equivalent in points to a grade D at GCSE), Merit or Pass at the end of the course.

We have found that this course is perfectly suited to students who would struggle with a GCSE but who have an interest in languages.  It covers current topics and provides scope for personalised learning and projects, developing students’ ICT, research and group work skills.
For more information about this qualification, please visit the following website


Students at Key Stage 4 are encouraged to access their homework and additional resources on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), accessible via the College’s website ( GCSE students complete one vocabulary learning homework per fortnight from the GCSE glossary on the relevant VLE page and one reading or writing homework per fortnight, usually set by individual class teachers on the VLE according to the set the students are in.  The exception to this is when students are preparing for controlled speaking and writing assessments at stages 2 and 3, when they are set drafting and memorizing homework tasks.  Students are also able to access controlled speaking assessment preparation booklets, controlled writing and speaking assessment preparation lesson slides and practice listening and reading tests via the relevant pages on the VLE.  The VLE gives students and parents the opportunity to access information from home, enabling students to extend their learning outside the classroom and to become independent learners.


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