Language learning is a treasured part of our school and begins in the early years. The school’s main language is English and the Language Department is dedicated to promoting the general educational progress of the students through the study of languages. Pupils will develop an enthusiasm for language learning and discovering new cultures. Students are given opportunities to work together to foster respect for others. Language teaching groups here at CIS embrace a broad spectrum of ability and experience of the languages, from standard foreign language learners to native and near-native speakers. Small group sizes allow this range to be accommodated.
The Language Department celebrates the wide range of languages spoken by students and staff. By working closely with the EAL coordinator the students are supported in their learning and encouraged to share their knowledge during Assembly or other dedicated time.
The Language Department also runs a Mother Tongue Program which enables the students to maintain their mother tongue language.
Each year there are several trips organised to celebrate language learning (special activities in the classroom/day trips/trips abroad) as well as our annual ‘Languages Day’, where students can experience in a fun way different cultures and languages.
All children in Key Stage 3 receive formal education in two other languages (French and Spanish). In September 2017, they will also study German.
The students will then have the opportunity to choose French, Spanish and/or German at GCSE. Most students in the Mother Tongue program will study for First Language IGCSE examinations, with some outstanding results
French is taught throughout the school by French native teachers with excellent results for the students studying it to IGCSE level.
Students arrive in Year 7 with differing experiences of and exposure to the French language. Some may never have studied it and some may have a little experience, while others may be fluent/native speakers. Lessons are delivered so that all students are exposed to French at the right level, be supported or stretched if needed. Students generally take IGCSE French in Year 11 but several students are entered early and then go on to study French at a higher level.
As a part of our varied programme of trips and visits here at CIS, students from Year 8 to Year 11 travel to France. They will be traveling to Paris and La Rochelle next year, where they will be immersed in the language, whilst participating in a variety of activities and visits.
After this year’s successful Year 9 trip, we will offer again the opportunity for students to spend a morning at the Alliance Française in Cambridge.
We also regularly visit the Europa Centre in Essex to immerse our students in authentic Role Play situations.
At the students’ request, we will ensure that all year groups participate in baking traditional French cakes such as ‘La Galette des Rois’ or ‘La Bûche de Noël’, as these events proved to be very engaging.
In September 2017, German will be delivered to all our students from Year 7.
Until now, German has been taught in the Senior School to small groups of enthusiastic students in Year 10. They are preparing for their IGCSE in German in just two years.
The students also had the opportunity to go to Cologne to practice their newly acquired language.
Spanish is taught throughout the school by Spanish native teachers, with excellent results for the students studying it to IGCSE level.
Like in French, gifted pupils are encouraged to take exams early. There is a lively Spanish Department and our students have the opportunity to work in small focused groups on spoken Spanish. This has had a dramatic and excellent impact on the quantity and quality of spoken Spanish, particularly at the top end of the school.
There are lots of opportunities to celebrate the Spanish language and/or culture, such as making Paella, sugar skulls for the Mexican Day of the Dead, dancing the Flamenco. Students have also been involved in recreating a Tapas Bar featuring membrillo, manchego, jamon serrano, aceitunas and non-alcoholic sangria.
This year, the Year 10s spent a day in a Spanish school in London, a total immersion that the students really enjoyed.
Pupils are also given the opportunity to travel abroad. This year a large group of students spent time at one of our partner schools in Spain and had a fantastic time. They spent time in lessons perfecting their Spanish, and enjoyed an array of outdoor activities. We hope to extend our links with our partner schools in Spain and to welcome Spanish students here to CIS.
Latin is very much a living language at Cambridge International School.
We use the highly acclaimed Cambridge Latin Course and the series of tests and certificates that accompany it, which are independently marked by the University of Cambridge. We aim to speak Latin, read Latin and translate it efficiently. Our students finish the course with a knowledge of Tacitus, Vergil and Cicero, amongst others, and with an excellent understanding of the Ancient World.