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Modern Languages

Bablake has a thriving Modern Languages Department. All pupils are offered the opportunity to learn French, German or Spanish from Year 7 up to Advanced Level.

The aim is not only to learn the language as an academic subject, but also to internationalise the pupils’ outlook.


  • Mrs J May (Head of Modern Languages, with responsibility for French and Spanish)
  • Mrs H M Billings (Second in Languages, with responsibility for German)
  • Mrs R I Bilsland
  • Mrs M C Field
  • Mrs S V Harris (Director of Marketing and Admissions)
  • Mrs Y Lu
  • Mr P R Neale
  • Mrs M O'Neill (Head of Life Choices and Charity Coordinator)


Every year the department has foreign language assistants who work closely with pupils in the upper school to enhance their linguistic ability. All pupils in our Sixth Form have regular timetabled lessons with the assistants; where possible, this is extended to pupils in the GCSE years. This year's assistants will be Lamia Loukil (French), Hakan Cetan (German) and Isabel Cowell (Spanish).


The department is situated in a purpose built block, which is shared with the Junior School. It is well equipped with a digital language laboratory, interactive whiteboards, projectors, DVD players and a computer suite. The school has subscriptions to the language learning websites Linguascope and Kerboodle, amongst others.


All pupils learn French from Year 7. They also learn a second foreign language: German or Spanish. They have 3 lessons per week in each language.

Pupils are formally assessed in the languages they learn at the end of the academic year, in addition to regular vocabulary testing throughout the course. All pupils take at least one language to GCSE. At GCSE level, pupils have 4 lessons a week. In addition to the textbook, a wide variety of other resources are used to enhance the curriculum. Current 5th year pupils in all languages will be following the AQA GCSE course; pupils in 4th year will be beginning the Edexcel IGCSE course.

At 16, pupils can opt to carry the languages to AS and A2 study. They have 9 lessons a week and they are also expected to carry out private study. They have one 35 minute lesson per week with the relevant Language Assistant. The AQA exam board is used for all languages at A Level. 


Languages are becoming increasingly important in today’s society. There is a misconception amongst people that languages are only useful if your ambition is to become a teacher. This is not the case! Languages actually benefit and complement a whole host of career choices. In 2013/14, 92.9% of language graduates went on to find employment within six months of completing their undergraduate degree.

To read Head of Department Mrs May's case for language learning, please click here.


Nowadays it is possible to combine a language with a variety of different degree courses and universities and colleges are making it easier for students to continue learning a language, even if it is not a main part of their degree. 

Some employers particularly target graduates with language skills, such as GCHQ (Government Communication Headquarters), the European Union Civil Service and the British Council, as well as a range of International Graduate Schemes offered across a range of businesses.

In recent years Bablake has seen many pupils go on to university to further enhance their language skills. A good way of finding out what is on offer is to visit the individual university sites.

To discover more about the options open to Language graduates, please click here.


The department offers a wealth of co-curricular activities to support and enhance the learning in the classroom. Every Monday lunchtime there is a Languages Club for years 7, 8 and 9. Pupils can take part in creative and fun activities. Pupils may also benefit from teacher led workshops, which run at lunchtimes. Here they may gain help specific to their individual needs.

In addition to school-based activities, there are a number of trips on offer to France Germany and Spain. Experiencing the language and culture of these countries first-hand really helps to bring pupils' classroom learning to life and consolidates the work undertaken, in addition to being great fun!

Day conferences for A Level pupils are also organised to universities. Here, topics from the specification are discussed and debated.


For more information, contact the department head at:

Staff know their pupils well and respond sensitively to individual needs. A caring atmosphere prevails thoughout the school.

ISI Report