Subject Team

Three teachers in the Modern Languages Department are here to help you make the most of your time learning a language:
Miss Boyd (HOD)

Mr Andrews
Miss McAuley

Each year we have a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant for every A-Level language, at the moment we have a French, German and Spanish assistant.

Department Aims

Languages are all around us, we live in a global society and being able to speak another language is very useful for a whole range of careers open doors to travel, new experiences, different cultures and opportunities.
In Portadown College we encourage you to study at least one modern language at GCSE and there is also the option to study two.
We aim to:

  • Foster the enjoyment of language learning through good practice in learning and teaching
  • Prepare our students for better future career possibilities by studying a valuable skill at GCSE
  • Develop each student to his or her maximum individual potential in the use and understanding of modern foreign languages
  • Promote understanding and appreciation of culture and ways of life in other countries

Discussion AS Spanish

GCSE

The majority of students in Year 11 and 12 study at least one GCSE language. It is also possible to choose more than one language that you have already studied to a sufficient level.

The modern language courses will build on the knowledge and skills which students have gained throughout years 8 – 10. Pupils who have studied French, Spanish or German during this time will have a familiarity with the language and grammatical structures needed in order to progress at GCSE level.

The content of the GCSE course will cover topics such as family life, hobbies, holidays, school life, your local environment and future plans.
The GCSE examination tests the four skills of:

(a) Listening (the ability to understand what you hear and respond to it)
(b) Reading (the ability to understand what you read and respond to it)
(c) Speaking (the ability to make yourself understood by what you say)
(d) Writing (the ability to make yourself understood in writing)

The skills of Listening and Reading are tested by examinations taken at the end of Year 12. Each one is worth 20% of the total marks for GCSE.

The other skills of Speaking and Writing are examined through Controlled Assessment tasks.

 

GCSE French

Examination Board: CCEA

What is GCSE French about?

GCSE French is for students who want to develop their existing language skills and become more confident at communicating in and understanding French. This course will help students discover and enjoy learning about the culture of French-speaking countries and communities. There is the possibility of a visit to a French-speaking country, as well as other trips connected to learning French. GCSE French is a challenging and dynamic course that will develop your problem-solving and research skills, improve your memory and broaden your cultural awareness.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The GCSE course will cover familiar and new topics such as family life, hobbies, holidays, school life, your local environment and future plans.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The GCSE course will cover familiar and new topics such as family life, hobbies, holidays, school life, your local environment and future plans.

Content Assessment Weighting
Unit 1
Speaking Component
Controlled Assessment

 

25%
Unit 2
Writing Component
Controlled Assessment 25%
Unit 3
Listening Component
External Examination 25%
Unit 4
Reading Component
External Examination 25%

 

What can this subject lead to?

French is globally recognized as a language of culture and business and your skills will be seen as a real asset. GCSE French can help students take their place in a multilingual global society through a wide range of enhanced career opportunities at home and on an international level.  You will lay the foundations for studying French at A-Level, at university or beyond. You may even choose to study a new language and a GCSE will open the door to that opportunity. You will enjoy future travel and cultural experiences in French-speaking countries even more with the skill to communicate in the language.

IWB

GCSE German

Examination Board: CCEA

What is GCSE German about?

GCSE German will suit students who want to make real progress with their existing communication skills. Students will have the chance to find out more about the culture of German-speaking countries and communities which are world-renowned for their innovation and success. There is the possibility of a visit to a German-speaking country, as well as other trips to benefit your learning. GCSE German will help you become a dynamic learner with the skills and strategies to work independently and with others. You will improve your memorisation techniques and become better at problem-solving too.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The GCSE course will cover familiar and new topics such as family life, hobbies, holidays, school life, your local environment and future plans.

Content Assessment Weighting
Unit 1
Speaking Component
Controlled Assessment

 

25%
Unit 2
Writing Component
Controlled Assessment 25%
Unit 3
Listening Component
External Examination 25%
Unit 4
Reading Component
External Examination 25%

What can this subject lead to?

As Germany is a leading world economic force and export nation, a GCSE could open many doors to a wide range of interesting careers in dynamic industries worldwide. You may choose to study A-Level German or pursue it at university; the study of German shows gives you the option to begin learning new languages too. New cultural and travel experiences await you when you have the ability to communicate with other German-speakers and you will gain the confidence to meet life’s challenges.

GCSE Spanish

Examination Board: CCEA

What is GCSE Spanish about?

This is a course for students who want to make real progress at communicating in and understanding Spanish. It will help students discover interesting and unusual aspects of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. There is the possibility of visiting a Spanish-speaking country and enjoying other language-related trips. This fast-moving course will challenge your individual ability, improve your memory, literacy, team-working and research skills and give you strategies to work out new and unknown language in a variety of contexts.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The GCSE course will cover familiar and new topics such as family life, hobbies, holidays, school life, your local environment and future plans.

Content Assessment Weighting
Unit 1
Speaking Component
Controlled Assessment

 

25%
Unit 2
Writing Component
Controlled Assessment 25%
Unit 3
Listening Component
External Examination 25%
Unit 4
Reading Component
External Examination 25%

What can this subject lead to?

The global Spanish-speaking population is enormous and rapidly expanding, meaning that employers need Spanish speakers and are more likely to promote and employ those with language skills. This applies to a wide range of jobs across the globe.  As well as the possibility of studying Spanish at A-Level, you may choose to study Spanish or a new language at university; GCSE is the first step. The ability to communicate in Spanish will also open the door to a world of future travel opportunities and new experiences, making you more confident and independent.

A Level

The Examination Board used is CCEA.

After GCSE, any student with a good enough level (grade B)of speaking and Higher Tier Listening & Reading can do AS/A2 Level Language(s). Students may combine a language with many other subject options.

Please note: subject availability may depend on numbers choosing each language.

 

A Level French

 What is A Level French about?

This course is for students with an enthusiasm for, and interest in, French-speaking countries and their culture. It will develop existing language skills and make students more confident communicators, inspiring them through the study of topical global and social themes. It is particularly suitable for students who have studied a GCSE in French and who wish to study French at a higher level.

 

CCEA AS French

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Translation

Unit 3

CCEA A2 French

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Discussion, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Prose Translation

Unit 3
Literature

 

Career Opportunities

These include interpreting and translating, business, journalism, tourism and engineering to name just a few. A language is a valuable skill valued by a wide range of employers.

A Level German

 

What is A Level German about?

Students who want to learn about German-speaking countries and culture will value the opportunity to build their confidence at communicating in German and widen their linguistic knowledge and learning. It is particularly suitable for students who have studied a GCSE in German and who wish to study German at a higher level.

 

CCEA AS German

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Translation

Unit 3
Extended Writing (film or literary text)

 

 

 

 

CCEA A2 German

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Discussion, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Prose Translation

Unit 3
Literature

 

 

 

Career Opportunities

Many and varied directly and indirectly related careers are open to linguists with German, such as business, media and jobs in industry like engineering.

 

A-Level Spanish

 

What is A Level Spanish about?

This course is for students who value the opportunity to broaden their mind and widen their cultural horizons. This qualification is for students with a lively interest in language, who are interested in how other people think and live. It is particularly suitable for students who have studied a GCSE in Spanish and who wish to study Spanish at a higher level.

 

CCEA AS Spanish

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Translation

Unit 3
Extended Writing (film or literary text)

CCEA A2 Spanish

 

Unit 1
Speaking – Presentation, Discussion, Conversation

Unit 2
Listening; Reading and Prose Translation

Unit 3
Literature

 

Career Opportunities

Skills that you will learn, such as research, evaluation and analysis lend themselves to a wide range of careers requiring language skills including marketing, charity work and business.

 

The assessment units in detail:

AS The topics to be studied are based on 3 different contexts:

  1. Relationships (e.g. family structures, roles and responsibilities, young people and their problems)
  2. Health and Lifestyle (health issues, leisure, travel)
  3. Young people in Society (e.g. popular culture, school life, careers)

The exam units are summarised below:

Unit 1
– This is a Speaking Test, consisting of a presentation of the student’s choice and a general conversation. It lasts approximately 13 minutes and is worth 70 marks.

Unit 2 – This is divided into 3 sections. This unit is worth 130 marks.
(a) Listening – students will answer questions both of an objective type and in the target language based on information recorded on individual CDs.
(b) Reading – questions will be of an objective type and in French, Spanish or German. Students will also have to translate a passage into English.
(c) Writing – This is an extended writing question based on a stimulus text. Students must write around 200-250 words in the target language.

A2

The topics to be studied are based on 2 different contexts. It is worth 70 marks.

  1. Local and Global Citizenship (e.g. wealth and poverty, discrimination immigration )
  2. Environmental Awareness (e.g. conservation, environmental problems, solutions)

Unit 1 – This is a Speaking Test and will last approximately 15 minutes. It consists of a discussion on a topic of the student’s choice and a general conversation.

Unit 2 – This is divided into 3 sections. This unit is worth 130 marks.
(a) Listening – students will answer questions both in English and the target language based on information recorded on individual CDs.
(b) Reading – questions will be of an objective type and in French, Spanish or German. There will also be a translation from English into the target language.
(c) Writing – This is an extended writing question based on a literary text. It will be approx. 300-350 words long and must be written in the target language.
AS Spanish

Department News / Events

Portadown College prepares their Linguists for the Global Market

Portadown College Languages department welcomed former college student Mrs Karen Argue from Ulster Carpets to inform and enthuse language students about the application of their linguistic skills in the wider world.

Karen is employed as a Contract Sales Executive in Ulster Carpets, a renowned local company that operates globally. She studied French and German to A Level and went on to do a Joint Honours Degree in French and German in Queen’s University Belfast. Karen later completed a Masters in German while working, as well as a work placement in the headquarters of Audi in Germany.

Karen pointed out that having language skills benefits a wide range of jobs such as editing, journalism and even nursing. She feels that studying  languages gives you an eye for detail and that it is not just about a school subject but a ‘communication tool’ that improves your written and presentation skills, even in English.

She uses French and German on a regular basis to do sales presentations or communicate with customers and her language skills have brought new business to the company. Students were encouraged to hear that local companies really need more employees with languages; Karen advised them that having a language would be a strong selling point when it comes to entering the job market.

This was music to the ears of Year 14 student Tom Freeburn who has applied to study International Business with Modern Languages at QUB, stating: “You don’t know where languages are going to take you, but it opens a lot of doors for you.”

Students enjoyed hearing about the application of languages in the workplace and thanked Karen warmly for her time.   

Travel and Tourism Trip to Germany
German students have recently been invited to join the Travel and Tourism trip to Germany; they will get the opportunity to practise their German and experience the culture first hand.

A-Level Spanish and German students recently went to a Film Study Day in Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast.

Our assistants, Rafa, Anthony and Dina are about to end their year teaching Spanish, French and German here in PC. They have all integrated very well into school life and students enjoyed playing in Anthony’s French band. Staff and students wish them well in the future!

At the end of the year we will celebrate with a multi-nation breakfast in Year 11 classes.

Anthony and student

Educational Visits / Trips

The Modern Languages Department organises its own trips abroad and co-ordinates with Travel and Tourism to offer students the opportunity to travel to the country of study. Throughout the year we organise study days and trips to suitable languages events mainly in Belfast.

CEIAG Links

Having a language at GCSE or A-Level can be valuable asset when applying to university. A proven level of proficiency in a language may your improve chances of getting a job or being promoted in many fields, e.g. journalism, engineering, business. Local and national employers greatly value languages as a skill.

Languages can be studied separately at university or combined with almost every other degree.