Year 9 (Block 3)

In today's world, knowledge of modern languages is an indispensable part of education and as such the learning of languages is central to the Block 3 curriculum at Bedales.  Block 3 students study at least two languages as this gives students a greater understanding of how languages work, which tenses are which and how to use and manipulate verbs and vocabulary through the constant reinforcement of learning the same techniques across two languages.  For those students who only plan to study one modern language for GCSE it also helps them make an informed decision as to which language to pursue with the added benefit of gaining a deeper understanding of different cultures, people and lifestyles which will prepare students for whichever careers or interests they seek to pursue later in life.

In Block 3 students can choose to study two or three of the following languages:

  • French
  • Spanish or German
  • Russian
  • Latin (with Greek)


Most students will have studied French prior to Bedales and thus many students feel most comfortable continuing their French studies in order to build upon the foundations which are already in place and thus take more confident steps towards the French GCSE. They are set according to ability and prior learning experience. The course features a rigorous and comprehensive approach to grammar teaching as well as motivating and challenging topics and tasks, set in authentic contexts. We follow the Expo GCSE Green textbook as a confidence boosting basis, but then tailor the lessons according to the students’ and teachers’ interests.  In the Spring term students combine French and History studies through a World War One Battlefields project as part of a site visit to France and Belgium.

German, Spanish and Russian

Beginners’ courses in German, Spanish and Russian are offered in Block 3.  The courses assume no prior knowledge of the language. Each language follows a textbook which provides a confidence boosting structure for the students, but teachers will always then supplement this with new and relevant material based on the students’ and teachers’ interests.  In German, we use Echo Express, in Spanish, Mira and in Russian, Through Russia with Love. These courses are designed for students taking an express route to GCSE in three years and aim to cover all the basics during the first year.  German suits students who like logic in their language, while Spanish suits students who enjoy expressing themselves in a similar way to French and Russian suits students who are ready to get to grips with a logical language, but with a new alphabet.

Private Lessons in Mandarin Chinese, Italian and Japanese

Students can take private lessons in Mandarin Chinese, Italian and Japanese. These lessons take place in the students’ free-time and students can take GCSE/A Level exams in these subjects should they reach a suitable level.

Years 10 & 11 (Blocks 4 & 5)

The Bedales core curriculum requires each student to study for a GCSE or IGCSE in at least one modern language. Most students enter the school with a knowledge of French, and courses in Spanish, German and Russian start in Block 3. Lessons in various other languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, Italian and Japanese, can be arranged on a private basis. A second modern language can be taken among the GCSE/IGCSE options.

Examining Boards:

Block 4, AQA GCSE in French (8658), Spanish (8698) and German (8668). Edexcel GCSE in Russian (2RU01).
Block 5, AQA GCSE in French (8658), Spanish (8698) and German (8668). Edexcel GCSE in Russian (2RU01).

Sixth Form

If you are looking for a future using communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, team-work, organisational skills and independence, as well as excellent job prospects, then a modern language is for you.

In French, Spanish and German we examine contemporary cultural, social and political contexts of the country through a variety of stimuli such as literary texts, newspaper and magazine articles, and films. We also enrich this academic experience with visits to relevant theatre productions, film club, French cafés and a Paris trip.

Students taking French, German or Spanish are expected to have an 'A' in the chosen language of study at GCSE (or equivalent). The school can arrange for students to study other languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Italian via private tuition. 

Examining Boards: 

AQA (French, German and Spanish)

Head of Department: Tristan Wilson