Modern Languages

The Modern Languages department offers courses in French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Italian. Enhancement courses in Mandarin, Japanese and Russian for beginners are available to pupils in S6 subject to demand.

Our aims are:

  • To develop Talking, Listening, Writing and Reading skills in Modern Foreign Languages using a variety of different media.

  • To develop knowledge of the grammatical systems of these languages.

  • To provide pupils with knowledge of life and customs in countries in which each of these modern languages is spoken.

  • To prepare pupils for the NQ examinations set by SQA.

The Modern Languages Department consists of 12 teachers in total, including native speakers of German, Spanish and Mandarin.

In addition, we have four Modern Language Assistants [native speakers] for French, German, Spanish and Italian. They collaborate with class teachers and work intensively with groups and individual pupils to help them to improve their oral competence. Advanced Higher pupils have a weekly oral period with the MLAs to help with their preparation for the external oral examinations.

MLAs also work with native/near-native speakers during lunchtimes to enable them to further develop their fluency. A number of native French speakers study towards a CNED (Centre National D'enseignement à Distance) qualification and many fluent or near-fluent speakers are presented early for SQA examinations. 

Languages and Stages

S1 pupils have a choice to study either French, German, Mandarin or Spanish as their Modern Language. Pupils study this language for 4 x 40 minute periods per week throughout S1.

In S2 pupils will continue the language they have chosen in S1 for 2 x 40 minute periods per week and also opt into one additional language from the same choice of four, for a further 2 x 40 minute periods per week.

In addition to these Modern Language options, all pupils in S1 and S2 study Latin for 2 x 40 minute periods per week.

When subject choices for National 5 courses are made in March of S2, pupils must continue with at least one language. If pupils choose to take a Modern Language in S3 and S4 (pupils can also choose to study Latin or Classical Greek) their choice or choices must come from the two languages studied in S1 and S2.

In S4, pupils are presented for National 5 and a large number continue with their studies to sit Higher in S5.  Advanced Higher courses are delivered in French, German and Spanish in S6. In S6, “crash” Higher courses are also offered in Italian and Spanish; these are particularly suited to those pupils who have a proven track record in language learning and who wish to extend their range.

A large number of pupils continue with their studies to university level, either undertaking a modern language as their degree or in conjunction with their chosen option.

School Trips and exchanges

We have two French exchange schools: Collège Romain Rolland in Paris and the Lycée Saint-Cricq in Pau. S3 pupils are given the opportunity to participate in a Sporting Exchange programme with our partner school in Paris and pupils in S5 and S6 can take part in a Science focused exchange with our partner school in Pau. We also have a link with a school in Berlin and there is also a trip to Spain every two years for pupils from S3 to S6.

Modern Languages staff also run regular drop-in sessions at lunchtimes for extra conversational practice or for help with homework. There is also a German Club which takes place at lunchtime and a Mandarin club after school.

Pupils also have the opportunity to take part in National competitions such as Word Wizard, a multilingual spelling competition and Juvenes Translatores, a translation competition run by the European Commission.

We have a whole school subscription to Linguascope; an interactive learning platform providing engaging games to help with vocabulary learning and This Is Language which provides authentic language videos based around the topics at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.