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Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls is a highly successful school, judged by Ofsted in November 2017 as ‘Good’ in all categories.

Spanish A Level KS5

What will students study in Spanish this year?

We follow the AQA syllabus (7692). The content is divided into four areas of interest:  Aspects of Hispanic society, Artistic culture in the Hispanic world, Multiculturalism in Hispanic society, Aspects of political life in Hispanic society. Although we follow the OUP textbooks and have the Kerboodle online resource, the A-Level course is based on current affairs, and therefore we work with present-day news, videos, documentaries, interviews or any document that can enhance the topics we are covering. This ensures an up to date, very rich and enjoyable curriculum.

During the first term of the A Level course, we dedicate a lot of attention to grammar. The grammar at A Level is considerably more demanding than in previous years which is the reason why we put an emphasis on it in the early stages.

We will also be studying a film and a book. The film that we have chosen is El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) and the book is Como Agua para Chocolate.

Finally, each student will be researching a topic of their choice, but related to the subject, in preparation for the A Level speaking exam. This topic is chosen in agreement with the subject teacher.

What are the major assessments this year?

Students will be tested at the end of each unit and at the end of each term. We will cover six units at the end of each year.

The A Level exam consists on 3 papers:

  • Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing. It is 2 hours 30 minutes long. It is 50% of the final grade, with 100 marks. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. There are also two translations.
  • Paper 2:  Writing. It is 2 hours long, with 80 marks in total and 20% of the final grade. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation, as appropriate to the work studied. Students are advised to write approximately 300 words per essay.
  • Paper 3: Speaking. 21–23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time). It is 30% of the final grade, with 60 marks in total. There is a discussion based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes); a 2-minute presentation, and a discussion (9–10 minutes) of individual research project. It will be conducted by the teacher but marked by an AQA examiner.

What do assessments test?

  • Paper 1 assesses: Aspects of Hispanic society, Artistic culture in the Hispanic world, Multiculturalism in Hispanic society, Aspects of political life in Hispanic society, and Grammar.
  • Paper 2 assesses: The understanding of one text (in our school this is Como Agua Para Chocolate) and one film (El Laberinto del Fauno). Grammar is also assessed.
  • Paper 3 assesses: The oral skills based on the individual research project, as well as the general cultural understanding.

What are the expectations of my child in Spanish?

Our students must be punctual and attend all lessons and if absence is unavoidable, they must catch up on missed work. They are expected to have their current topic notes for each lesson. They should actively participate in lessons and keep good notes of any new items. They are expected to complete all homework tasks and to dedicate extra hours to additional independent research and practice. They need good common knowledge, particularly of current affairs, an open mind, an interest in learning about grammar and other cultures! They will also need a file with file dividers and the initial sections needed will be grammar, topics, literature and film, and a section for IRP (Individual Research Project). There will be file checks at certain points through the course.

How can I best support my child in Spanish?

Even if you don’t speak Spanish there are multiple things you can do to help:

Test them on the meanings of Spanish words when they have to learn vocabulary or grammar. For longer pieces of writing, ask them to talk you through the plan of their work in English before they start – to make them think about the structure of what they write. If they are doing reading or listening, get them to summarise what the text/extract is about in English – how fluently can they talk about it? Ask them what certain words mean – how spontaneously can they answer you?

Also very useful are past exam papers from the AQA website; reading over notes made in class; watching Spanish films, reading Spanish books, listening to Spanish radio stations; encouraging the use of our online languages platform for completing tasks, revising.

Whom should I contact for further advice or information?

Please feel free to contact Mr Castro as Head of Modern Foreign Languages, available on jcastro@carshaltongirls.org.uk