Website Menucontent
Close Menucontent

Modern Languages

Introduction to the Modern Languages Department

Personnel and responsibilities

The Modern Languages department at Lancing College has six full-time members, all of whom are capable of teaching at least two languages. There are also native-speaker assistants for French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese. The department is run by the Head of Modern Languages who is also Head of German, and there is both a Head of French and a Head of Spanish.

Staff Position
Mr Sergei A Drozdov (BEd Siberia, Russia) Head of Department, Head of German
Mrs M Brookes (Referendarstudium 2, Münster) Teaches German
Mr D Graham Davies (BA Portsmouth, ALCM) Head of Spanish, teaches French
Mr Olivier De Sales (BA Université Montesquieu-Bordeaux IV) Teaches Spanish and French
Mrs Laura Fryer (BA Newcastle) Head of French, teaches Spanish
Mrs Qiao Liang (MA Sussex) Teaches Chinese
Mrs Clare Mann (BA Leeds) Teaches Spanish and French
Mr Kevin Perrault (Masters Nanterre Paris-Ouest la Défense, PGDipEd with QTS Birmingham) Teaches French
Dr Mark SW Palmer (BA Sussex, PhD Edinburgh, MIL) Teaches German and Italian
Mrs I Tarbet (Msc Cranfield) French Assistant
Ms Magda Yeates (Licenciada, Bogotá) Spanish Assistant

French, German and Spanish are taught as part of the curriculum in the Department, and Italian, Mandarin and Russian are offered as co-curricular options. In the Third Form (Year 9), pupils usually study two modern languages and then choose at the end of the year whether to continue with both to GCSE or whether to drop one of them. It is a requirement for all pupils to study at least one modern language to GCSE, although in exceptional circumstances, extra support for English or lessons with the Learning Support Department can be arranged instead. Italian and Russian are currently offered as a Sixth Form enrichment course with the possibility of pursuing a GCSE, and also as a club for beginners. Chinese (Mandarin) is offered as a GCSE option for students who have prior knowledge of the language, and as a club for beginners. Mandarin can be continued as part of the Sixth Form General Studies programme. All pupils are entered for the AQA GCSE exams in German, Spanish and French and Sixth Form students are entered for AQA A Level exams. We offer French only as a continuation course in the four sets of the Third Form, as the vast majority of students joining Lancing would have studied French elsewhere for a number of years. Preferences for the second language are taken into account as far as possible, while remaining careful to achieve a balance between German and Spanish. There are four sets in Spanish, with one being a small continuation set, four in French and two in German in the Third Form. Students are set according to their abilities wherever possible.


The classrooms are situated in the Modern Languages corridor and are modern, well-equipped rooms. All rooms are now equipped with interactive whiteboards, projectors and computers on the College network. Significant use is therefore made of internet resources, the day’s news broadcasts and other authentic material. All rooms also have the full range of audio equipment, video/DVD machines and television linked to a satellite dish, although the most commonly used resources are now digital. IT suites and the Library are in easy access of the rooms. The individual departments are well stocked with teaching and learning resources, and the Library has become a central resource for Modern Languages, with foreign books, magazines, CDs and films. All pupils have iPads and are encouraged to use IT in their work, which is displayed both in the classrooms and in the corridors.



Teaching and Setting

Students have four periods per language each week throughout their time in the Senior School. In the Sixth Form, there are usually eight periods per week, with small group oral tuition with the language assistant in addition (usually one extra period per week). Students who wish to continue with languages in the Lower Sixth (Year 12) at AS Level are normally expected to have achieved a good grade (A* or A) at GCSE. Those that wish to continue to A2 Level are normally expected to have achieved a good grade (C or above) at AS Level. 

Students are organised into sets from the start of the Third Form according to ability, based on results in Common Entrance, Scholarship or reports from previous schools. Having stated this, the ability to set fully has been reduced in favour of giving pupils greater choice; with pupils able to choose to study any two from French, Spanish and German, this means that all three languages need to exist in two option blocks, leading to slightly more mixed ability sets.

At the end of the Advent Term, there is an examination for all students and further changes are made on the basis of these results for the remainder of the year, provided that the option blocks allow it (which will be the case most pupils). A second examination is taken towards the end of the Summer Term. It is mainly on the basis of the results of these exams that students are setted for their GCSE choices In the Fourth Form, examinations take place in February; on the basis of these results that any further (and usually final) set changes take place.


  • French

    French is taken by the majority of pupils (around 80% of the year group) in the Third Form (Year 9). The majority of these continue with French to iGCSE and a significant proportion choose to carry on in the Sixth Form as well. Normally up to two thirds of a year group will take French to IGCSE, with around 15 taking AS in the Lower Sixth (excluding native speakers).

    The French Department recognises that many pupils will come to Lancing having already studied French for several years. The course in the Third Form has therefore been recently remodelled with the aim of maintaining pupils’ interest, while ensuring that all essential grammatical and linguistic areas are covered. In addition to the new course book (Studio 2 and 3), there are a number of modules which can be explored depending on the ability and interests of the class. These include film (guided study of at least one film per term), history (the First and Second World Wars in parallel with the History Department, but in French and from a French perspective), music (from crooners to rappers), guided reading (using simplified French readers either individually or as a class) and an introduction to French poetry (from the Renaissance to the 20th century). 

    The book used for all classes in the Fourth and Fifth Forms is the AQA GCSE course, which is used in addition with other teaching resources. There are also explicit links between the French syllabus and the PSHE course at this stage. Studying film and reading books also continue throughout this period, and there is a link with the Art Department to study some French painters.

    In the Sixth Form, the Department organises a trip to Paris open to pupils in both years, which involves lessons in a language school as well as cultural visits and free time. All those studying French are encouraged to spend as much time in France as possible, and to take advantage of the links Lancing has. The course in the Sixth Form focuses far more on contemporary issues in France, and all pupils are strongly advised to develop their language through authentic French language material in their own time. All Sixth Formers are also encouraged to participate in the French book club (open to all years and to staff) and some of them will be asked to lead seminars on the book of the term.


  • German

    Lancing is fortunate to have a very strong German Department, which is by now almost unique. The German Department is among the healthiest in the country both in terms of absolute numbers taking GCSE and in terms of the proportion of the year group that study it. This is a tradition of which the College is proud, and which looks set to continue, despite national trends.

    The course book used by the Department is the new, exciting Stimmt 1 in the Third Form and AQA German for the other two years. In recent years the German Department has achieved excellent results at GCSE, with a 100% of A*-C grades. On average about six to eight pupils per year choose to continue with German to AS/A2 Level following the Zeitgeist course, as well as numerous authentic materials. The results at A Level are outstanding with a consistently high A-B average. There is a long-standing German exchange for Year 10 with a school in Detmold near Hanover, with about 15 pupils per year taking part in the exchange, as well as a four day trip to Berlin in the Fifth and Sixth Form. Students also have opportunities to attend various German film cinema screenings and theatre productions.


  • Italian

    Italian has been taught to GCSE and A Level on an ad hoc basis over the past 15 years at Lancing. It is now taught as an option to pupils who have sat their French GCSE in the Fourth Form. The new course book is Progetto Italiano. It continues to be offered in the Sixth Form if there is sufficient demand. The main course book is Amici.

  • Mandarin

    Mandarin is currently taught in three ways; as an extra-curricular language for non-native speakers, on the timetable for those who have done French GCSE a year early, and as part of the Sixth Form general studies programme on two lessons per week. This will lead to an ASSET qualification (a flexible qualification which can be taken in whichever skill is appropriate and at whatever level is appropriate). It is hoped that some pupils who are introduced to Mandarin in the Fifth Form will continue with it as an additional subject in the Sixth Form, leading to a GCSE, or an AS for the exceptionally able, by the time they leave the College. The Department also takes advantage of the Chinese native speakers among the pupils to put across some elements of the culture of contemporary China to the wider school. Depending on timetables, it is hoped that some of the native speakers in the Sixth Form will help develop the spoken skills of those that take Mandarin in the Fifth Form. 

  • Spanish

    Spanish is taught at all levels throughout the College. There has been a surge in interest and therefore numbers studying Spanish at the College in recent years. This reflects the growing popularity of Spanish on a global scale in every conceivable sphere, including business and trade, tourism, culture, academia and interpreting. As a result, there are now five members of staff involved in the teaching of Spanish at the College. 

    A very substantial majority of Year 9 students opt for Spanish when they first start at Lancing. Most usually decide to continue with the language for two more years to GCSE. In the Sixth Form, numbers vary between approximately five and 12 opting for AS Level, with a slight reduction in numbers continuing to A2. 

    In Years 9-11, the courses currently followed are Viva and Mira. In the Sixth Form pupils follow Edexcel Spanish for A Level, with a dynamic learning component. 

    There is an ‘e-mail tandem’ programme available to students in Year 11 and above. This involves sending messages, in Spanish and English, to our sister school in Oviedo, Asturias. There is also an annual exchange programme between the two schools.


Lancing College, Lancing, West Sussex BN15 0RW | Contact | Terms