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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Spanish

Why learn Spanish for GCSE?

In today’s world, speaking a foreign language is becoming increasingly important. It is widely recognised that Spanish in particular, is one of the most valuable and useful second languages to learn.

Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by over 480 million people, and is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. It is also the second most widely spoken language in the various countries of the world after English. Twenty-one countries, including Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Peru, have Spanish as their official language, and it is becoming ever more important in the United States.

Research has shown that Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn for speakers of English. Its pronunciation system is simple and regular, and many words are similar to English.

How is the subject taught?

At GCSE level, students continue to learn through the main skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Students have access to a multimedia room which helps develop all four skills for GCSE and promotes autonomous learning by using websites such as www.aprender.org.uk  

GCSE Spanish Curriculum
 

What topics do we study?

There are five themes:

Theme 1 – Identity and culture

Theme 2 – Local area, holiday and travel

Theme 3 – School

Theme 4 – Future aspirations, study and work

Theme 5 – International and global dimension 

  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 Core text 10.1
Holidays
(GCSE Theme 2)
Local Area and the environment
Exam skills
Aut.2 Core text 10.1
Holidays
(GCSE Theme 2)
Local Area and the environment
Mock exams
Spr.1 Core text 10.2
School
(GCSE Theme 3)
Sporting events, music events
Spr.2 Core text 10.2
School
(GCSE Theme 3)
Global dimension
Sum.1 Review of Themes 1, 2 & 3 Review of all 5 themes
Sum.2 Mock Exams Exams 

What is the exam like?

Candidates for the new Spanish GCSE will either be entered at Foundation or Higher level. All exams will take place at the end of the two year course and students will be tested on all four skills. You will have four exam papers: Listening (25%), Speaking (25%), Reading (25%) and Writing (25%)

Our exam board is Edexcel. 

Career Pathways 

What does it lead to?

Spain is one of Britain’s most important trading partners, and South America is becoming ever more important. This means that companies are looking for people who are able to communicate in Spanish, so even if you want to become an engineer or lawyer, Spanish will make you more employable and lead to better pay.

What about Spanish at university?

You only have to look at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website to realise that there are lots of opportunities to study Spanish at university.   As well as studying languages as a main subject, Spanish can be studied alongside most subjects: Law and Spanish, Business and Spanish, etc.

For more information click on our A Level Spanish Course.

For advice on apprenticeship courses, click here.

What jobs can you do with languages?

There are lots of jobs out there that you can do if you know a second or even third language.    Here are just a few examples of jobs where knowing another language will be useful:

  • Translator
  • Interpreter
  • Flight Attendant
  • Photographer
  • Journalist/Foreign Correspondent
  • Teacher
  • Personal assistant

You can watch a great series of videos of young people who are working in jobs that use foreign languages on the BBC Bitesize website.

For examples of careers leading from this subject click here.

Spanish GCSE FAQs 

How many hours of languages will we have a week?

You will have 5 hours of language lessons per fortnight.

Is one bit of the exam more difficult than the others?

You all have your strengths and weaknesses.   Ultimately, which subjects and which sections of the exam you find easy and difficult depend on you.   However, remember that the more effort you put in, the more you get out.   The exam becomes easier the more practice you do!

What grades can I get with each tier?

The Higher tier targets grades 9 through to 4.   The highest grade if you do Foundation tier is a grade 5.

How do I know whether I’ll be doing Foundation or Higher tier?

No decision on your tier of entry will be made now.   You will have mock exams in Years 10 and 11 and these practice papers will help both you and your teacher determine which tier is appropriate.

How is GCSE Spanish different from Spanish in lower school?

You have been studying for Spanish GCSE since you started learning the language in Year 7!    You will continue to be tested on the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing but there will be a wider content.   Your teacher will also be preparing for exam style questions.

Should I buy a revision guide?   Which one do you recommend?

The MFL department recommends the books produced by Pearson as they tie in with the Edexcel specification.   They are:

Edexcel Spanish (9-1) Spanish Revision Guide

Edexcel Spanish (9-1) Spanish Revision Workbook

Target Grade 5 Reading / Target Grade 9 Reading

Target Grade 5 Reading / Target Grade 9 Writing

The school generally gets a discounted price and will sell these to you in September.

Is there a Spanish trip?

At the time of writing, we are unsure what will happen with educational visits next academic year due to the global events.   School Spanish trips for the last few years have gone to Madrid where students have had the opportunity to visit our exchange school as well as see some of the sites.

Can we do double languages? Say for example if we've done French, can we start Spanish?  or, if we have done French can we do Japanese too?

Yes, there is the possibility of doing two languages of all combinations.

French, Spanish and Japanese come in the first set of language preferences and then there is the chance in 'Preference Block 2' to pick up a second language (French, Spanish or German)..

The decision whether to run the group will depend on the numbers who choose this as an option.

When second language groups are viable, they tend to be small groups.  This is a huge advantage as it means you get more individual attention and opportunities for feedback as well as increased participation on your part.