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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 11 Spanish

Guidance for parents

What will students be learning in Spanish this year?

The students will continue to follow the current syllabus of the WJEC examination board. Out of the 4 broad topic areas: Personal and Social, Local Community, the World of Work and the Wider World, we will be studying the subtopics of school life, work experience and future plans and healthy and unhealthy lifestyles. We will be consolidating and building on all the language students covered in year 10, especially the verb tenses. Assessment takes the form of listening and reading comprehension tests which are taken at the end of Y11 and account for 40% of the final grade, and controlled assessments in writing and speaking which are taken in class and account for 60%. Students will learn more about the language and about Spanish culture. Video clips, film, music, and computer resources help to bring the language to life.

Expectations of students in Spanish

There are 2 one hour lessons a week and one 45 minute homework. Homework may be reading comprehension, vocabulary or grammar learning, grammar practice, writing, or preparing for an assessment. We will test vocabulary and grammar regularly, as steadily building up the students' vocabulary and grammatical knowledge is critical to their success.  To get the most from the course, students are expected to take an active part in lessons, especially in speaking Spanish at every opportunity and completing homework to the best of their ability, as this will help them with the preparation of their controlled assessments.  Written work is marked using the department's marking codes, which enable students to work out for themselves how to improve their work, thus helping them to learn more effectively. They are expected to correct or redraft marked work and will usually have the opportunity to do this and ask questions in lesson time. Subject teachers will obviously correct any errors which students cannot be expected to address on their own at this stage of their learning and suggest alternatives for anglicisms for example.

What are the major assessments this year?

The focus of assessment this year will be the completion of the oral and written controlled assessments of which there are two pieces each. During mock exam week students will undertake an oral assessment and the written assessment will be completed in lesson time a couple of weeks later. The mock listening and reading comprehension papers will be based on old exam papers. While these cannot count toward the GCSE, they are good practice and inform the students how far they still have to go in order to achieve their target grade. The last written and oral controlled assessments will take place in February/March in the spring term. It is important to remember that the controlled assessments account for 60% of the students' final grades whereas the two exam papers in listening and reading comprehension make up the remaining 40%. On-going vocabulary and grammar tests will continue to assess the extent to which students have assimilated the new language.

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

The current performance grade will be in the range A-E, reflecting the current GCSE grading. The students will have the opportunity to review their progress at termly intervals in consultation with their teacher and to set personal targets. The mock exam grade will be mainly influenced by the mock exam and grades achieved in controlled assessments so far, but will also take into account work over the first term of year 11.

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 as soon as possible after the beginning of term. It is not too late to address issues and perseverance usually pays off. Students will still have access to the MIRA website and should use this regularly especially to support listening and reading. Students are given a list of suitable websites for additional practice. There are also plenty of extra materials available in the student shared area of the school’s computer system, on Moodle and the Internet. Lunchtime revision sessions and oral support will also be available.

How can I support my daughter in Y 11?

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 encouraging her, you can make an enormous difference to how she feels about the subject. You can also motivate her to use the above mentioned revision activities and do her best in the Controlled Assessments by following the advice given in the relevant year 11 folders in the student shared area.  Please support your daughter’s efforts 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 (on-line or paper) 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. Apart from MIRA and the other recommended  websites she could also consult the exam board's own (wjec.co.uk) if she wants to do extra practice.

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.