Modern Foreign Languages

In the Third Form pupils usually study two languages, then choose at the end of the year whether to continue with both or just the one at GCSE Level.

It is a requirement for all pupils to study at least one language at GCSE although, in exceptional circumstances, extra support for English or lessons with the Learning Support Department can be arranged instead. French, German, Spanish and Latin are taught in the curriculum while Italian, Mandarin, Russian and Ancient Greek are offered as additional GCSE courses during academic enrichment time.

Speaking another language not only enhances career prospects, but also opens the possibility of work or study abroad; there is also an increasing trend among UK universities to require a foreign language at GCSE level.


Mr Sergei Drozdov

Head of MFL

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About the Curriculum

Students have four periods per language each week throughout their time in Senior School. Students are organised into sets 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; French, Spanish, German and Latin are equal choices and pupils can choose to study any two of the four. This means that all four languages need to exist in two option blocks, leading to slightly more mixed ability sets. French and Latin are offered as continuation courses and German and Spanish are taught ab initio. We use Viva, Stimmt and Studio 3 Rouge textbooks in the Third Form, and AQA textbooks for all languages in the Fourth and Fifth Forms.

Learning approach

The Department pursues a teaching methodology based on the four pillars of language learning:

  • A modern language is a practical, communicative subject. This is reflected in a participative approach where pupils are encouraged to use the language in a real life setting through pair work and group work. Courses chosen reflect the modern, communicative nature of the subject. 
  • Languages offer intellectual rigour at all levels. The learning of vocabulary, insistence on written accuracy and the importance of grammatical structure all play a central role in language learning at Lancing. The Department welcomes the return of the more traditional role of grammar/translation.
  • Languages offer a cultural insight into the foreign country. Courses reflect this and are supplemented by audio-visual materials which bring the country, its people, customs and cultural achievements into the classroom. Exchanges enhance the classroom experience. Students gain a European perspective through their language learning and are able to recognise their role as European citizens. Literature, art, poetry, music, cinema, all feature in the cultural aspect of language learning at a higher level.
  • Languages are creative. The Department encourages students to adapt languages to their own needs and to develop all four language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Pupils are encouraged to produce imaginative work using their languages. The use of iPads and language learning apps is a common practice.


The Department organises trips to countries where the target language is spoken, either in the form of exchanges or regular trips. Language trips offer a personal, social and cultural experience for pupils, which stimulates interest and enthusiasm for language learning. The German exchange with Detmold has existed for over 40 years, and is offered to students in the Fourth Form. There is also a biennial trip to Berlin for the Fifth and Sixth Form. An email tandem programme with a school in Oviedo is run by the Spanish Department, with a physical exchange taking place annually. There are also residential trips to Cadiz for the Fourth Form Spanish students, and a residential trip to La Rochelle for the Fourth Form French students. Additionally, there is an annual three-day trip to Brussels for Third Form students in conjunction with the Science Department.