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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 10 Spanish

Guidance for Parents

New specification AQA for examination in June 2018

What will students be learning in Spanish this year?

2018 will be the first year of the new GCSE specifications for Modern Languages so there are quite a few changes for those of us used to controlled assessments! We be following the new AQA syllabus (8698) which is both interesting and challenging for students. There are 3 broad topic areas: Identity and culture; Local, national, international and global areas of interest and Current and future study and employment. We will be using the new AQA Spanish Higher textbook in lessons (ISBN:978- 0-19- 836585-3).

We will be consolidating and building on all the language and the skills students developed at KS3 but the emphasis is much more strongly on spontaneous use of the language than has been the case in recent years. Assessment takes the form of four separate exams, all taken at the end of Year 11 (although the speaking exams will be a little earlier than the written papers). Each paper is equally weighted so 25% of the final mark. The listening and reading comprehensions require verbal and non verbal answers in either English or Spanish and the reading paper also includes a translation into English. The speaking exam will be 10-12 minutes plus preparation time and includes a role play, photo card and general conversation. The writing paper contains two writing tasks and a translation into Spanish. To ensure students are well prepared for the new exams, they will need to be confident in unrehearsed use of the language both orally and in writing so as well as writing on a variety of topics, they will also be refining their translation and comprehension skills in lessons and for homework. A solid foundation in grammar and vocabulary will also be required.

Students will learn more about Spanish and Spanish speaking culture, using a range of resources including video clips, film, music, and computer resources to help bring the language to life. We have subscribed to the new Kerboodle digital learning package which supports the new exam.

Expectations of students in Spanish

There are 2 one hour lessons a week and homework is set once a week. Homework will almost always include grammar and/or vocabulary learning as this will be key to success and will also usually involve translation, comprehension, grammar practice, writing, or preparing oral work. This may be in writing or online using the AQA digital textbook and practice resources to support their learning.  It is essential for students to recognise the value of regular learning homework in steadily building up their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge, particularly in this new exam.  To benefit fully from the course, students are expected to take an active part in lessons, especially in speaking Spanish at every opportunity. Written work is marked using marking codes, which enable students to work out themselves how to improve their work, thus helping them to learn more effectively. They should re-draft marked work and will usually be able to do so in lesson time.

What are the major assessments this year?

There will be formative assessments covering a range of skills at the end of each unit and an end of year exam in May. It is also planned to have individual orals in the Spring term. Ongoing vocabulary and grammar tests assess the extent to which students have assimilated new language. It is essential that students take these regular tests seriously and review both grammar and vocabulary on an ongoing basis. There are no controlled assessments in the new exam.

What will the current performance grade be based on and what does it mean?

The current performance grade will be in the range 1-9, reflecting the new GCSE This link explains the new grading system. A target minimum grade for each student will be determined at the start of the Autumn Term. They will have the opportunity to review their progress at termly intervals in consultation with their teacher and to set personal targets. The grade given at the end of the year will be influenced by the end of year exam but will also take into account work over the year. It is an indication of the grade the student might expect to get at the end of the course if she continues to work as she has in Y10.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

It is important for students to let their teacher know of any concerns promptly, so that support and advice can be offered, before she starts to fall behind. Finding something challenging at first is not necessarily a bad thing and much can be learnt by resolving such difficulties, once they have been acknowledged. Problems often relate to grammatical concepts which a student has not understood fully and this can usually be addressed by a combination of staff intervention and student practice on line, where is a wide range of support available.

How can I support my daughter in Y 10?

It is by no means essential to know Spanish in order to support your daughter effectively. Simply by taking an interest, asking her to show you her work and explain it and motivating her, you can make an enormous difference to how she feels about the subject. You can also encourage her to do regular, short grammar and vocabulary revision to support her learning and test her if she wants you to! Please encourage your daughter to use her own language in her written and oral work rather than relying on google translate. Electronic translation tools often give strange translations and lead to errors which effective use of a good dictionary such as wordreference.com can avoid. 

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

It is a good idea for her to review her lesson notes and the relevant resources as soon as possible after the lesson, to help it sink in. There are a range of additional exercises on Kerboodle which support the course, as well as excellent grammar resources on StudySpanish.com and languages on line. We also encourage students to take part in the Spanish trip, which is both educational and enjoyable.

Whom can I contact for further advice and I formation?

Please feel free to contact your daughter's class teacher in the first instance, but Mrs Ballaster as head of Spanish for KS3 and 4 is also available on eballaster@newsteadwood.bromley.sch.uk.

Updated January 2017