Philosophy and Aims

At Dunhurst we believe that the opportunity to learn languages should be given to all children and that the process should begin as early as possible. We aim to encourage every child to see the value of this and to engage positively and willingly in the process.

Learning to communicate with peoples of different languages and cultures can be deeply satisfying, fun and clearly useful in leisure and professional situations, but there is also an intrinsic beauty to languages, and we hope to inspire this understanding in the children.

We want our pupils to have fun and at the same time to understand the need to engage and work hard. The task of acquiring a solid, grammatical basis that will eventually lead to independent speech and communication is vital.


We begin our language teaching with investigations, games and outside learning. We use a wide variety of strategies and materials, among them drama and role-play, games and puzzles and other visual aids as well as basic reading and writing exercises. As pupils progress through the school, their learning becomes more academically focused and we are careful to provide support and stretch within our mixed-ability lessons as appropriate. We are fortunate to have native speakers of both languages within the department, and our pupils really benefit from their expertise.

All year groups learn French and Spanish, with more time dedicated to French as it takes longer to embed, and we follow a model of ‘classroom and trips’. In this way, we dedicate curriculum time to learning French and Spanish as academic subjects, but always with the understanding that this is a basis for authentic communication. Our French and Spanish immersion trips are popular and successful, giving pupils a genuine opportunity to use their skills outside the classroom. 

Taught Languages

In addition to French and Spanish, we offer Mandarin and Russian as lunchtime activities, and German and Japanese are available as paid lessons.

Head of DepartmentLiv Burnett-Armstrong