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What actually is required - French, Latin or Spanish?

(25 Posts)
Kungfumama Sat 24-Sep-11 18:46:46

Hi ladies:- would really appreciate if you can share with me your knowledge on this. Which modern foreign language(s) would children be actually required to learn in Primary and becoming mandatory in Grammar schools or independent schools as required by the National Curriculum?

I am planning a relocation to the UK for Sep 2013 with DC aged currently 9, 7, and 2+. I want to make sure to prepare my DC for the language front right now if needed. They already speak 3 languages including English.

I didn't grow up in England myself though DH is British he has been working out here in Asia for 10 years+ so he has no clues.

From browsing the websites, different schools seems to be doing different things, mainly French, some Spanish, Latin! So which one?

Pls help! Thanks so much!!

picnicbasketcase Sat 24-Sep-11 18:49:14

DS's school do French in lesson time. They've never done any Latin or Spanish. They run after school clubs for French and German as well. They also did one day where they learned some Welsh. So I think it does vary from school to school tbh.

catsmeow Sat 24-Sep-11 18:50:34

Three Languages!
Oh, if only.
If only.

spanieleyes Sat 24-Sep-11 18:51:59

Modern Foreign Languages are no longer mandatory in primary schools ( or aren't at the moment, who knows what will be the case next week or next month!) so if a school wants to teach a language they can choose whichever they want. many schools select the language of the secondary school they feed into. But we feed into 6 different ones and between them they teach French, Spanish, German and Mandarin in year 7!

IndigoBell Sat 24-Sep-11 19:08:59

Although most (all?) schools claim the teach kids French or whatever, unless they're a private school I don't think the kids actually learn any smile

My DS is in Y6, has been 'learning' French an hour a week for years - and can't say a single sentence.

So I really, really wouldn't worry about this aspect of UK schools.

hocuspontas Sat 24-Sep-11 19:26:13

IME secondary schools assume no prior knowledge in any MFL.

spanieleyes Sat 24-Sep-11 19:30:46

They have to as the primary schools that feed them will all have taught different languages and, as IndigoBell says, not exactly to a high standard in many cases!

ragged Sat 24-Sep-11 19:36:52

They don't learn more than a few tourist phrases (German, French or Spanish), which are quickly forgotten.

As for Latin, DC-y5 is apparently very lucky to get to study Latin, in a special programme that will attract national press, Lateedah, blardeeblar (I'm having to twist her arm to get her to do it). That's for ten weeks, she'll probably never get encounter Latin tuition again.

Hopefully different in most private schools, you gotta be paying for something.

Can't do anything but French/German GCSEs around here, even our closest language college switched to being a Specialist Sports Academy, instead.

cat64 Sat 24-Sep-11 19:42:08

Message withdrawn

gabid Sat 24-Sep-11 19:46:57

Some primary schools seem to teach a little of whatever the teacher has done for GCSE, but a language is not taught so that children can use it, they are just meant to give them a taste of language learning and cultural awareness. So when they start secondary school they all start from the beginning. Its sad, but there we go, the British aren't linguists. So, I don't think there is anything you need to prepare your children for, with 3 languages already they won't have any problems.

mopsyflopsy Sat 24-Sep-11 20:26:25

German and French are taught at our Primary school, but as others have said, they don't learn very much. I think most Secondary Schools offer Spanish, German and French GCSEs and A Levels round here.

Which languages do your children speak already?

Kungfumama Sat 24-Sep-11 20:30:38

Thanks so much for the on the ground insightful advice!!! This forum is great! I have been losing sleep over this as I have been worrying about their adjustments and all the logistics involved in moving house, schools, country etc. So sounds like we'll have one less to worry about with the long laundry list of things I need to set right in the next months!

My DC would be thrilled to know they would have some spare time to play just to be kids, without needed to be dragged into an intensive French course or something!!

Thanks again you guys are fabulous :-D

meditrina Sat 24-Sep-11 20:38:38

AFAIK: no language is specifically required. The ones most commonly offered are French and Spanish, and I agree with the other posters who say the levels achieved by the end of primary are pretty variable.

Latin is more frequently encountered in the private sector, but there are few if any secondaries which require a specific level at entry.

Many secondary schools (state and private) will offer any/all languages from scratch simply to allow for the varying standards and previous choices of their intake.

Kungfumama Sat 24-Sep-11 20:39:59

Ooops.... I do meant to ask again would anyone know how does the MFL at the secondary schools work? Are kids required just to pick one amongst whatever offered at the school or is there some mandatory requirements of some sort? Any knowledge sharing on that front be great! Thanks all!

harbingerofdoom Sat 24-Sep-11 20:56:32

AFAIK languages are not compulsory after the age of 14. This has had a knock on effect, obviously.

Before this ruling DD1 was able to study two languages to GCSE. The following year this option was removed from the timetable.

Sad and short-sighted all round.

spanieleyes Sat 24-Sep-11 21:01:08

The language offered again depends on the school. My son's school splits the year 7 intake in two, half do French and the other half do German ( they all do mandarin too!) After 2 years they can drop the one they have been doing or start the other! Each school seems to have it's own method!

CardyMow Sat 24-Sep-11 21:04:39

My DS1 & DS2's Primary starts teaching Spanish in Reception. In Secondary, it changes to French or German depending on which half of the year they are put in.

strictlovingmum Sat 24-Sep-11 21:07:03

DS just concluded his education at the Grammar school, in his case he managed just fine with Italian, German and English, all fluent, easy conversing level, (stealth boast) they found him impressive.
I don't recall any formal requirement for specific language for him to be able to sit entrance exam and eventually get the place at the school.
Saying that, I think school will look favourably at the students with some knowledge of foreign language/languages.
Good luck with the move.smile
Kungfumama, usually they start with one language Y7, then in Y8 pick different language, the one picked in year Y8 children tend to do for GCSE's, but they can do more then one.

cat64 Sat 24-Sep-11 21:38:42

Message withdrawn

hocuspontas Sat 24-Sep-11 22:30:52

Dd3's school has compulsory French and either Latin or Spanish starting in yr 7. At least one language is compulsory at GSCE now because of the EBacc. They also do Mandarin if they want to at some point. Dd2's school have compulsory French and either Spanish or German starting in yr 7.

cory Sun 25-Sep-11 00:30:40

In dcs' state secondary, one modern language is compulsory up to GCSE level (age 16); there is a choice between French and Spanish, but they only have one class in Spanish so you have to really motivate why you want to study Spanish.

startail Sun 25-Sep-11 01:01:25

No foreign language teaching at our primary school. Paid for, privately run club at lunch time. Sadly not even that in Y6 because too many children have given up.

Kungfumama Sun 25-Sep-11 16:55:10

Thank you all for your generous advice! Sounds like it is not until secondary years would they need to seriously studying MFLs. Thanks again!

Kiggy Mon 26-Sep-11 14:00:59

It totally varies from school to school.

My three all did / do Spanish at primary - which is not offered at year 7 by any of the local secondaries. Local comp randomly allocates all children to French or German in year 7 and offers the other in year 8 to those with aptitude for the first.
DD's grammar does French and German in year 7 with Spanish and Latin offered later - her brother at the equivalent boys school does Latin and French with a choice of Greek or German in year 8 so even they couldn't agree!

The general consensus does seem to be that the first foreign language is the hardest and subsequent ones are quicker to pick up so if your children already speak three languages I'm sure they will do fine.

weblette Mon 26-Sep-11 18:20:36

At dd's grammar school everyone does French from the start of yr7 with either German or Spanish depending on which form class they're allocated. They do some Latin but only start it properly in Yr8.
As for the standard dd is the only one in her class with substantive prior knowledge.

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