MFL-Key Stage 4-FAQ - Gaynes School

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MFL - Key Stage 4 - FAQ



Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages
September 2012

Why do I have to do a language at all? I would prefer to just do what I want.

  • Research shows that learning a language develops literacy and reading skills.

  • It improves achievement in all subjects.

  • Britain's economy needs language skills. We lose business every day because we can't talk to customers in their own language. European languages are most in demand.

  • Colleges and employers look for students who can offer a wide range of academic subjects: maths, English, science, and a language.

  • Some universities will only accept pupils who have a foreign language.

I enjoy both languages I am learning. Can I carry on learning both in Key Stage 4?

  • This depends on the number of pupils wishing to do this to make groups viable:  do put this on your options form and speak to your head of year!

I chose German and Spanish in Key Stage 3, but I fancy swopping to French in Key Stage 4. Can I do this?

  • No. In order to get the best grade possible in your final exam, you need to build on the skills you have acquired in Key Stage 3. You must choose one of the languages you are already studying.

What options are available in the Languages Options Block?


Available In:









Not Available

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What is NVQ? I thought that was something you did in college.

  • National Vocational Qualifications are a nationally recognised qualification which can be taken in school, college, or in the workplace. All employers know what an NVQ is. They are available in a huge range of subjects. The qualification you will be studying is a Level 2 NVQ in Languages.

I think I'd like to choose NVQ, but I worry that I won't get the points I need for college.

  • You needn't worry. A Pass at NVQ Level 2 carries the points value of a GCSE Grade B. Colleges know this and recognise the points value of your qualification.

I've chosen French/Spanish, but I am not sure whether to do GCSE or NVQ. How can I decide which is best for me?

  • If you are aiming at Grade A*-B, you should definitely follow a GCSE course.

  • If you are aiming at grades G-C, you might also like to follow a GCSE course. You will enjoy the learning content, which is much more adult than the Key Stage 3 course. As a guide, students in year 11 have completed Units on Health, including alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, and family breakdown, as well as more traditional topics such as holidays. You will also have the option of studying a language as part of your A levels…you will have to be able to write between 150 and 200 words in a foreign language for a C or above!

  • If you are aiming at Grade G-C, an NVQ course may be better for you. You will be prepared for around 50 smaller assessments which you will put in your portfolio. You will not then have an exam at the end. If you find some assessments hard, you can repeat them. The content of the NVQ will appeal if you like learning language which is related to the world of work, for example, you might learn how to book a tourist into a hotel. If you like doing a lot of ICT work, NVQ will appeal to you.

  • You can see that if you are aiming at Grade C, either GCSE or NVQ might suit you. Your languages teachers will be able to help you decide, if you are unsure. You can also go to Mr Curtis to talk about it, if you would like.

You can also find more information about NVQs at

If you wish to contact the Head of Modern Foreign Languages by email, please address your email and mark it for the attention of the Head of Modern Foreign Languages.

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