If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
In today’s world, understanding diversity and togetherness is paramount and learning a language is a vital skill that enables our young people to engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way.
At Bede’s, we teach French, Spanish, German and Mandarin as part of the core curriculum and all First Year pupils are learn at least one of the above languages with Spanish, German and Mandarin also being offered at beginner’s level.
All Lower and Upper Fifth pupils then continue language study at GCSE level in at least one modern foreign language. All the aforementioned languages are offered at Sixth form for an A level or Pre-U qualification. As well as learning the language itself, pupils study topics such societal trends in the relevant country as well as its artistic culture before moving on to study more complex issues such as aspects of political life and marginalisation as well as studying a modern novel or play in the target-language and completing an independent research project.
We also guide our Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese speaking foreign pupils, who might want to add a native speaker qualification to their portfolio, towards taking the GCSE and A level exams in their respective languages.
Our successful department consists of an international team of enthusiastic staff whose aim it is to broaden our students’ understanding of the world and to endow our young linguists with a passion for language learning.
Language learning does not stop at learning to communicate in the language and therefore at Bede’s, we lay emphasis on cultural awareness by running cross-curricular and language immersion trips to a variety of countries. In recent years, pupils have visited Paris, Lille, Berlin, Barcelona, Antibes, Salamanca and Bejing.
We also stage plays in their original language; recent examples being Sophie Scholl in German and Huis Clos in French (pictured right) and organise international film nights and theatre visits, international celebrations and taster days as well as teaching students to cook famous dishes from different countries.
Language learning is more than a linguistic exercise; it constitutes a widening of one's horizon, an important step towards becoming an open-minded and tolerant human being.
Classics is a subject that is becoming increasingly popular at Bede’s.
The speedily expanding department is led by an enthusiastic and passionate specialist practitioner who, being Greek, loves all things Classical and this enthusiasm is conveyed to the pupils.
Grammatical knowledge, Classical literature, myths, monsters, stories and films go hand-in-hand to make the cultural approach as holistic as possible. Our aim is to keep the subject relevant and real, so educational trips to Greece and Italy enrich the pupils’ learning experience.
At Bede’s we currently offer Latin to A Level, and Greek and Classics as activities.
From a strictly academic point of view, studying Latin and Classics at a higher level, equips our pupils with invaluable skills that are transferable, applicable to a variety of contexts, and give them an advantage when the time comes to claim a place at the university of their choice.
The EAL (English as an Additional Language) Department at Bede’s supports second language learners as well as encourage them to share their cultures with others, whether they are native to the UK or from one of the many countries we have represented here at Bede’s.
We offer a number of language qualifications, which are vital for students in terms of the next step of their academic life, and to thrive in their studies. The experienced staff help every EAL student with their language development, in addition to academic and pastoral support on a daily basis.
Our doors are always open, and we have a vibrant EAL community here, which has been thriving for many years.
During the year, we use the EAL department to learn about and celebrate different cultures. We have Saturday sessions, which are open to any EAL student, this involves academic support, reading, sharing of cultural experiences and values, cooking dishes from different cultures, and encouraging and helping students prepare talks about their cultures for chapels and assemblies. There is also an EAL Club, an activity offering students a chance to play games from different cultures, such as Mah Jong, read, watch films, we even have an activity where students knit and chat with locals and share their take on this world. For those in the lower years, who need that extra support, we offer prep in the department in the evenings.
For further enrichment, we take our students on theatre trips to London, Brighton and other local venues; this year we will be taking our senior students to see A Comedy about a Robbery at the Criterion in Piccadilly Circus, and the lower years to a London musical. We also take trips to local museums and galleries and try to give them a good understanding of British culture.
The Sixth Form is a big part of the EAL department. We have specialist tutors with great experience of the university application process, who are always available to offer advice and support, and within the department, we have the Head of International Applications, so we can support EAL students wherever they choose to go onto higher education. Alongside this, we also offer subject support to help our students get through difficult areas of their A level and BTEC courses.
The success of the department could be measured by our excellent results, especially all of our Sixth Form students meeting their English requirements, year on year. However, we take great pride in the number of our alumni, who stay in touch and return to see us regularly, seeing our department as part of their lives long after they have left.