Whitmore High School, Angharad Williams

Medium: English

Location: Barry

International languages: French, Spanish

About our school

At Whitmore High School International Languages department, it has been an exciting first half term.

As teachers, it can sometimes feel that we are forever planning ahead. However, where uptake into KS4 and KS5 is concerned, at WHS, this is essential to the Global Futures mission as well as our own learner uptake.

There can be many challenges to securing strong uptake in IL and we are fortunate at WHS to have both French and Spanish thriving with several classes in both languages at KS4 and KS5.

Whilst we are always seeking to engage our pupils in IL, during the latter part of the autumn term we will host a variety of activities to specifically inform Year 9 and Year 11 learners about what languages can offer them both in school, as a qualification and for their future careers and lifestyles.

MFL Mentoring and our school

We were very grateful to once again be selected to receive a Cardiff University MFL mentor.

Last year, due to Covid, our mentor joined us virtually for live sessions, which worked very effectively, but we are even more excited to have a mentor visiting us and talking to our learners in person this term.

In addition, all learners in Year 9 will receive a GCSE style taster lesson, aimed at showcasing how much language they already know and removing any fear about the jump to GCSE.

In a similar way, Year 11 linguists will receive AS taster lessons where we will explore the different cultural topics studied.

We will also be hosting reward breakfasts within the department for learners who have displayed excellent effort this term. We will make sure parents are informed so that they can join us in celebrating their child’s success.

Activities and languages

In other news, we were thrilled to welcome Miss. Xin Li to our department, our inaugural Chinese Language Assistant.

Miss. Li has quickly settled into our school community, and we have been delighted that she is willing to work not only in delivering Chinese lessons within the International Languages Department, but also in supporting whole school initiatives such as wellbeing and additional needs provision through cultural workshops in the art of Chinese paper folding and Tai Chi.

We are looking forward to developing our learners’ Chinese language skills and cultural awareness as the year progresses and would strongly recommend other schools to consider whether they may benefit from taking part in the programme in future years.

Our IL department believes in collaborating as widely as possible and we are fortunate to have an IL lead practitioner for our local consortium (CSC) as a member of the team.

CSC can offer a range of opportunities and we were delighted to be selected to receive funding for the EPI Conti project working with 20 other schools cross-phase in order to explore new pedagogies, which seems more relevant than ever due to the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales.

Finally, we decided to keep our European Day of Languages challenge virtual this year, due to its great success during Covid restrictions.

This allowed learners to take part in longer challenges at home, with many opting to bake or create masterpieces.

Winning entrants received certificates and languages themed stationery and as you can see from the photos, they enjoyed eating their entries!