Welcome to the Modern Foreign Languages Department

Spanish at NFS 

Here at Nottingham Free School, our students benefit from having four lessons of Spanish each week. We follow the Zoom Españ​ol 1 and 2 course in Years 7 & 8, which has an excellent range of resources on the iPads which we use to assist learning. We endeavour to develop our student's reading, writing, communication and numeracy skills in Spanish; as well as their social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness. Similarly, British Values is a key theme which we embed in our curriculum across a number of themes.

Our students will learn to read, write, speak and listen in Spanish covering a number of authentic topics including personality, school, hobbies and interests, home town, food, holidays and the media. They will learn how to express viewpoints and understand other cultures, as well as discuss key issues in society. 

As well as learning the language, students will be learning about different Spanish speaking countries and cultures, which will prepare them well for an increasingly globalised world and workforce. Learning a foreign language is so rewarding and it enables students to improve their literacy and problem solving skills as well as working in a team and independently. 

Students will be well equipped at the end of Year 8 to embark on the Edexcel GCSE Spanish course which will study these topics in more depth and cover a wider range of grammar, with a focus on translation, literary texts and using a range of different tenses.  


Each week, students will have a section of words or key phrases from their vocabulary booklet to memorise and some grammar, reading, writing, or listening tasks alongside this.

Students will be given a new vocabulary booklet each year and are expected to look after the booklets and bring them to lessons for their whole time at NFS. The key to success is repetition; practising vocabulary and verbs from these booklets little and often several times a week, with the aim of being able to know all of the words and verbs from memory. 

The weekly homework challenges in Spanish prepare students for their next step, equipping them with numerous skills including: independent learning, memorisation strategies, problem solving, recall, setting targets and building resilience to failure.  


We take pride in our work and our student's books in Spanish are exemplary. Students are encouraged to present their well and respond to teacher feedback in order to improve the accuracy of their work and make sustained progress. 

Pen Pals

Mrs Barrett has set up a link with a Spanish school in Castellón called Ies Matilde Salvador and the students will be given the opportunity to set up pen pal email correspondence with some Spanish students from this school. We feel this is invaluable for them to experience real-life situations for conversation and interaction with young people from a different culture.

Trip to Spain

The Year 9 students had an amazing trip to Spain which they thoroughly enjoyed - they spent time with their Spanish pen pals and spoke lots of Spanish, as well as did lots of cultural activities. Watch this space for some student accounts of the trip. 


GCSE Examinations in Spanish

We will be following the Edexcel Spanish GCSE course. Themes which will be covered throughout the GCSE course include: identity and culture; local, national, international and global areas of interest; current and future areas of study and employment. There are two tiers of entry for the final Spanish exam: foundation, which covers grades 1-5 and higher, which covers grade 4-9.

To be successful at GCSE level, students will be expected to write and respond spontaneously to questions on the above topics in a variety of tenses. We cannot predict which topics will feature in the exams at the end of Year 11, therefore it is crucial that all students spend time every week, preferably most days for a short period of time, in order to build confidence and a wide breadth of knowledge of the Spanish language. 

Students will also be provided with opportunities to enhance their entrepreneurial and informed employability skills through presenting in small groups, research projects and information about careers and pathways available with studying languages. 

At the end of the course, pupils will sit 3 exam papers: reading (25%), writing (25%) and listening (25%). There will also be a 7-12 minute (depending on tier) speaking assessment (25%).

At the beginning of Year 9, students will be allocated to a group based primarily on their achievement in the June examination in Year 8.

At various times throughout the course, students will sit an internally-assessed exam in order to show current progress and what they need to do to improve further. 

Final decisions about tiers of entry are not made until the later stage of the course.



If they wish to continue Spanish to A Level, students will study a range of topical global issues as well as current affairs and develop key skills such as debating, translating and interpreting, presenting and extended writing. Studying a language makes you an adept communicator, both orally and in writing.

Additional skills gained through learning a language include the ability to gather, assess and interpret information; lead and participate in discussions and groups; organise work and meet deadlines; develop opinions and propose ideas and read pages of text and pick out the essential points. Even for students who do not wish to pursue a career in languages, having a language GSCE on their Curriculum Vitae will make them more attractive and employable when applying for jobs or college and university places.


Language skills are in demand and can be used in almost any career, particularly within businesses that trade internationally.

Jobs directly related to a language degree include:

Jobs where a language degree or joint with another discipline, would be useful include:

WHAT ABOUT STudying other languages?

With the changes to the curriculum and the GCSE language exams becoming much more rigorous and linear (no coursework element - 100% examination), it is imperative that students have as much contact time with Spanish as possible in order to fully get to grips with the complex grammar, wider vocabulary and literary texts.

Students will be expected to respond spontaneously in writing and speaking to unpredictable questions. We ran French with some of Year 8 for two terms this year (2015-16) and four students chose it as an option for GCSE, therefore it was not feasible to timetable. 

Moving forwards, we have decided that all students will study Spanish, which could lead to a GCSE (for some students, Spanish will be compulsory; for others, it will be optional to continue after Year 8). If they wish to experience French, we can run this an an extracurricular club, but at the moment, we cannot offer it as a GCSE option. This could be subject to change down the line as the school expands. 


PARENTAL SUPPORT & Key tips for language learning

  • Repetition is key - spend 15 minutes every day practising vocabulary 
  • Focus on the hardest words and phrases which are least like the English - spend more time on these
  • Use highlighters to colour code the easy, medium and difficult words or phrases
  • Test yourself or get someone to test you: cover up the words in English, uncover, then check. 
  • Translate the words out loud into Spanish to help with pronunciation
  • Go back over previously learnt sections of vocabulary often 
  • Record a list of the words on your phone in Spanish, with enough time left in between each one to play it back and translate the words out loud
  • Practise writing and speaking in different tenses often and try to memorise the structures for these 
  • Use flash cards to learn the most difficult phrases, as well as to prepare for written and spoken assessments as they break the text down into shorter chunks and can be colour coded for visual clues
  • Go to www.kerboodle.com, login with your username and password and practise the listening activities on the topics of your choice
  • Do extra listening practice on http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/spanish/
  • Ask Miss Tervit for some extra work to challenge you (extra GCSE & AS level work available)

Modern Foreign Languages

January 2019


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