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The Thomas Hardye School has a large Modern Languages Area, with nine full-time and two part-time Teachers, four of these teach German. All students study French and one other language (Spanish or German) in Year 9 and continue with either one or two languages in Years 10 and 11. All students study at least one language to GCSE standard. Results at GCSE are excellent, 68% A* - C in German in 2009 (84 candidates) and 70% A* - C (431 candidates) was the overall combined results for Modern Languages.
The philosophy of the Area is to give every student the opportunity to enjoy their learning experience of a foreign language and culture. This is linked to a clear commitment to a sense of achievement, a responsibility for their own learning and progress, an awareness of the direct link between the learning experience and the needs and demands of the outside world and a preparedness to work cooperatively.
The School has a strong and enthusiastic team of linguists who work very closely together both inside and outside the classroom. They provide an effective and exciting programme of study for all year groups. This is largely topic based, linked to work undertaken in our partner Middle Schools with an emphasis upon differentiated teaching and learning styles. Consequently the team uses a combination of the traditional textbook based teaching style and differentiated packages for each topic, following the National Curriculum Guidelines. The Area has a policy of "fine setting", allowing those students with particular expertise to develop at a more substantial pace. The size of groups reflects this policy with those students who have support teachers.
The Area is exceptionally well resourced with interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, televisions and DVD recorders, a state of the art satellite system, OHP's in every classroom, listening equipment and individual headsets to facilitate group work. Students also have the opportunity to work in small groups with Foreign Language CD-Roms. The Area also has a large ICT suite. The Language Area also has full access to the School's excellent ICT facilities. A recent HMI visitor commented that they had never seen resources of such quality and quantity in a maintained school. The Area moved into a new purpose-built building in September 2004.
Many students choose to continue with Languages in the Sixth Form, either through the A level or International Baccalaureate route. Once again results at A Level in all three languages are excellent in German. A Level A – C 57% in 2010, A – G 100%. The School has won the European Curriculum Award for its whole curriculum approach to resources for study in the European Community.
There are very well established links with France, Germany and Spain and Exchanges and other study opportunities are organised every year with Schools in these countries. The area also has the support of four Language Assistants two in French, one in German and one in Spanish.