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Languages International Baccalaureate at Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

Course description

A modern foreign language is an essential part of the IB, supporting the international ethos of the diploma programme. Frequently, students of French, German or Spanish will choose to continue with their best GCSE language, but students who do not feel that their knowledge will be good enough to take them beyond GCSE, or those who have not studied a language at GCSE, have the option of taking an ab initio language (in the past our students have chosen from German or Italian in house or various online courses).

The languages course lasts 2 years for both standard and higher level candidates, and during this time, students will increase in confidence in both understanding and using the language. We aim to provide the opportunity for enjoyment, creativity and intellectual stimulation through studying the language and the countries where the languages are spoken. Students will become very aware how to communicate with different target audiences, and written exercises will concentrate on producing a range of different types of text, from diary entries to formal articles or speeches. (Unlike A level, there will be no translation exercises.) All four skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing - will be developed, and students will look at articles, songs, blogs etc from around the world, wherever the language is spoken.

Course content

For Standard Level and Higher Level students the core topics are

  • Social relationships (family, friends, marriage etc.)
  • Communication and media (internet, mobiles, TV, radio etc.)
  • Global issues (wealth and poverty, environment, immigration etc.)

Plus two topics from this list of options

  • Leisure / health / science and technology / cultural diversity / customs and traditions

Higher Level students will also study two works of literature.

The three topic areas for ab initio students are

  • Individuals in society (personal details, daily routines, school, health)
  • Leisure and work (media, entertainment, sport, holidays, employment)
  • Urban and rural environment (neighbourhood, weather, countryside, towns, environment)

Ab initio language students will concentrate on discovering the differences between life in England and a country where their language is spoken.

Internationalism: Through the study of cultures around the world where their language is spoken, students will develop a global awareness of differing cultures and how their use of language varies.

Entry requirements

A student wishing to study a language at Standard Level or Higher Level should preferably have a grade A or A* in that language at GCSE to be confident of success but certainly no less than grade B.

For a student wishing to study an ab initio language there is no requirement to have studied that language before or have a GCSE qualification in a language.


External Assessment: two written papers, a written assignment and an oral at the end of year 2.

  • Paper 1 – comprehension and text handling (25 per cent)
  • Paper 2 – written production (25 per cent)
  • Individual Oral test – 8-10 minute one-to-one oral test with your teacher (20 per cent)
  • Written Assignment – produced in Year 2 (20 per cent)

Internal Assessment: oral skills are assessed throughout the course and a mark is given which summarises each student’s interaction and contributions in class (10 per cent). For ab initio, there is only the final oral test.

Future opportunities

Modern foreign languages can be studied as single subjects at university or combined with another language or many other subjects. Careers can include international relations, the Diplomatic Service, interpreting, translation, journalism, tourism, media, law, teaching, humanitarian work, international banking. The global outlook acquired through the study of a foreign language is highly regarded by corporate graduate employers.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 14 November 2016

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