Modern Foreign Languages (French, German, Italian & Russian, Spanish)


All girls study French from the Thirds (Year 7), writing and speaking the language informally from Day 1. Our experienced staff take a pride in communicating their love of the language and culture through lessons including French songs, authentic dishes, fashion, history and politics to ensure a far richer experience than purely academic study. The course fosters an understanding of the society and literature of France and French-speaking countries, building students’ knowledge and confidence, so that they can communicate fluently, and enjoy reading modern and classic literary texts on their own in the original. This provides a firm base for higher level studies and the department invariably achieves excellent examination results.


Girls can choose to study German from the Lower Fourth (Year 8) through to GCSE and A Level. The German Department aims to provide girls with an enriching, challenging and enjoyable environment in which they can develop their skills in reading, speaking, listening and writing to the highest levels. From the outset, there is an emphasis both on rigorous grammar learning and on communicative skills. An important objective is to foster a love of the language through a wide range of classroom activities, including songs, role plays, and pair and group work. In German lessons we also aim to foster a deeper understanding of German culture and society, and there is an opportunity for pupils to take part in an exciting exchange with our partner school in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as regular language and cultural trips to Germany, including visits to the Christmas Markets in Hamburg and Cologne.

Italian and Russian

Italian and Russian are offered in alternate years as options in the Lower Fifth (Year 10) and studied as intensive courses to GCSE and A level. Our courses aim to instil a love of both languages in a challenging, enjoyable way so that our girls, many of them gifted linguists, take part actively, feeling fully stretched and confident in the four skills of reading, speaking, listening and writing. The languages come alive thanks to informal conversation, a focus on modern culture and ideas, plus rigorous teaching of grammar and structure.


After Chinese, Spanish is the world’s most widely-spoken language. Girls can choose to study Spanish from the Lower Fourth (Year 8), and it is a popular GCSE and A Level option. The Spanish Department does not simply teach the language and literature but enriches students’ experience of the subject, with conferences, guest speakers, workshops, mentoring sessions, theatre visits, pen-pals, residential visits and an exchange programme to Cordoba, to give students a taste of the culture and lifestyle of Spanish-speaking countries.