Trip to China
Trip to China

"Languages are the pedigree of nations" (Dr Samuel Johnson) 

Curriculum in MFL - Possible pathways at St Mary's Calne

All year groups - native speakers cannot study their own language in a class (most of the time, there are occasional exceptions) and girls need to choose another language to study.

LIV Form (Year 7)
One language selected, 4 hours per week (French/Spanish – this is dependent on numbers, with a minimum of three girls for a language to run).

Plus Mandarin – 1 hour per week (compulsory).

MIV Form (Year 8)
Girls continue with one language (the one they started in LIV), and add in a second (2 hours per week per language).

Options for a second language (Spanish/German).

If girls choose just one language, they will also study Global Dimension (1 hour per week, but not for the entire year).

The Global Dimension is a subject to broaden the mind, looking at issues at home and around the world. It is important for all of our girls to develop a global perspective and a view on the world that makes connections between diverse people, places and issues. 

In January 2015, St Mary’s Calne was awarded the Foundation level of the British Council's International School Award.  Taking part in the award links the school with others around the world, teaches our pupils about other countries and cultures, provides an internationally recognised accreditation for the school’s international work and enhances teaching standards through sharing best practice from other countries. We are looking forward to building on this achievement and are now working towards the Intermediate level of the British Council’s International School Award.  To read more about the importance of the global dimension within school life, please click here

UIV Form (Year 9)
Girls either study one language or two. There are lots of possible combinations:

-  Carry on with their original language studied in LIV plus the 2nd language studied in MIV (Mandarin/Spanish/German).

-  Carry on with their original language studied in LIV plus one new language (Spanish/German). If a girl has studied a second language in MIV, she would be either expected to continue with it into UIV, or drop down to one language. However, if a girl only studied one language in MIV, we are happy for her to pick up a second in UIV (German/Spanish).

-  Only Study one language (either original or second).

-  Rarely in UIV – study one new language only which they would start in UIV (Spanish/German).


LV (Year 10) 
Girls study either one language or two.
No beginners' language in LV.

Below is a table showing a possible pathway and set of options available, which can be modified with a different language in LIV. 

SPANISH SPANISH (beginner)       SPANISH (non beg.)     SPANISH
 Mandarin (Compulsory) FRENCH FRENCH FRENCH
  GERMAN (beginner) GERMAN (non beg.) GERMAN
  GERMAN (beginner)  GERMAN (beginner) GERMAN


We would normally expect a girl to continue with the language she starts at LIV until the end of UIV, although we are always open to conversations to ensure each girl is taking the most appropriate combination.


All girls study at least one Modern Foreign Language to IGCSE level, and many choose to learn two. The Cambridge IGCSE is assessed through terminal examination in all four skills. Girls preparing IGCSE have one conversation lesson per week in addition to their normal timetabled lessons.

A Level

A Levels are offered in French, German and Spanish at St Mary's and girls are prepared for the Edexcel specification. We also offer the Cambridge Pre-U for Mandarin. The A Level course requires candidate to study two cultural topics and at least one will be of a literary nature. We also prepare students for Oxbridge entry with success and a number of our linguists go on to study languages at university. All girls receive two conversation/news coverage lessons per week per language.
We have an exciting programme of extra-curricular activities in order to provide opportunities for the girls to appreciate the culture from the countries of their target language, whilst putting the language that they have learned within the classroom into practice, which complements the work carried out in the classroom. To give a flavour, in French, Spanish and German we have put in place a penfriend programme with Schools in Paris, Malaga and Hamburg. We have recently organised theatre plays to be performed in French,  German and Spanish, lectures, film workshops and courses for girls of all ages, a Sixth Form French Study Day, and trips to Oxford and Bristol University Modern Languages Departments. Girls are also able to become language leadersand be able to teach a lesson to a primary school class. Enrichment weeks cross-curricular workshops are also often planned with the latest being a morning spent designing and creating concertina printed books in a foreign language. Study-visits to France, Germany and Spain are also organised on an annual basis: Samoens, Berlin and Malaga being a few of our current destinations, whilst a group of girls also visited China over Easter, 2016.

Florence Lehmann(Head of Modern Foreign Languages)