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City of London

School for girls

The Spanish department acknowledges that the ability to understand and communicate in other languages is increasingly important in our society and in the global economy. Languages contribute to the cultural and linguistic richness of our community as well as to personal fulfilment, mutual understanding, commercial success, international trade and global citizenship.

Therefore, our aims are:

  • To instil in our students a love, interest and enthusiasm for the language and an appreciation of its importance in an increasingly globalized society whilst they develop a better understanding of themselves and their own culture.
  • To teach pupils to communicate effectively and confidently in the foreign language in a variety of contexts and genres
  • To develop the ability to use the foreign language both imaginatively and creatively
  • To give pupils a thorough grammar base in the language
  • To provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation through insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries of the Hispanic world
  • To extend pupils learning experiences beyond the textbook through the use of authentic materials and extracurricular activities encouraging them to become independent learners
  • To provide skills which have a wider application and form the basis of lifelong learning experience (analytical skills, drawing inference, lateral thinking etc)
  • To inspire students to pursue the study of the language and its culture in a broader context with a life-long interest in the subject


As a department, we aim to combine thorough linguistic preparation with genuine enjoyment of languages and cultural competence. Audiovisual and IT resources are used in every lesson and all exam classes are timetabled in our multimedia language laboratory once a week. From Year 9 onwards, students get an individual weekly speaking practice with a native language assistant. We also offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, such as cultural and linguistic trips abroad (Year 8 Barcelona, Year 10 Granada and Sixth Form to Latin America, past trips including Cuba and Guatemala), cultural outings, competitions and subscription to Spanish media and resources. Ultimately, our aim is to prepare our students to be competent global citizens through their knowledge of languages and appreciation of foreign cultures.

Years 7 - 9  VIVA books

By the end of the first year of study, pupils will be able to hold simple conversations, understand basic spoken interactions and be able to write about their preferences and opinions about a range of topics. This foundation is built upon to include other topics surrounding Spanish life and grammatical rules, including the present and near future tenses.

Year 8 students cover topics about daily life, holidays, food etc and they learn a range of grammatical tenses and structures that entitle them to tackle longer and to understand longer pieces of reading texts. By the end of the year, learners can produce essays and express themselves confidently on the topics covered. In the summer term, students complete an introduction to literary and film pieces.

We offer to Year 8 the opportunity to visit Barcelona in a cultural trip that takes place over a weekend in March.

Year 9 students consolidate and extend the previously acquired knowledge and develop their confidence in more complex tenses in preparation for their GCSE start. The topics covered provide students with a more cultural and deeper understanding of the language, such as music & film, world of work, environment, fair-trade and exchange visits. Students also complete literature and film projects that offer excellent tools to access authentic material and feed their curiosity.

Years 10 and 11- IGCSE Edexcel

Throughout our 2 year GCSE course, students develop solid comprehension, written and practical communication skills as well as extending their lexis and grammatical knowledge to more complex tenses. Similarly, in our syllabus, students gain an insight into social and cultural issues in the Hispanic world and in turn, they develop an understanding of themselves and their own culture. Lessons are planned so that all four skills are developed and every learner reaches the best of their potential. Students also get an individual weekly oral practice with our native language assistants.

In the February half-term of Year 10 we organise a study visit to Granada. Girls stay in host families, take structured lessons in a language school and in the afternoon, cultural visits to places of great interest are organised, such as the beautiful Alhambra.

SIXTH FORM – A-level Edexcel

During the A-level course, students will develop their knowledge and understanding by studying both the language and themes relating to the contemporary and historical society and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. In Year 12 and 13, students will develop confident, analytical oral and written skills and be able to understand authentic extracts and conversations in the language. There will be two themes studied in the Year 12 syllabus:

 1) The evolution of the Spanish society

  •  Changes in the family structures
  •  World of work
  •  Impact of tourism

 2) The artistic and political culture in the Hispanic world

  • Music
  • Media
  • Traditions and festivals

      And a further two themes studied in Year 13:

 1) Immigration and multicultural society in Spain

  • The positive impact
  • The challenges of integration
  • Social and public reaction in Spain

 2) Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy in modern Spain

  • The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
  • Franco’s dictatorship
  • The transition to democracy

An additional aspect is the compulsory study of one work of literature (La Casa de Bernarda Alba – Federico García Lorca) and a film (El Laberinto del Fauno- Guillermo del Toro).

As well as their lessons, students will have an additional weekly period to develop and discuss the topics with a native language assistant. The girls will be offered the possibility of participating in a series of extracurricular visits, talks and courses, including a trip to Spain or Latin America (previous trips include voluntary work in Guatemala or a historical trip to Cuba).

What some of our previous A-level students have said :

"Spanish at City is different to any of my other subjects. Not only do I feel inspired by all the teachers, but it is the only lesson where I feel totally immersed in the Spanish culture, despite being in the middle of London." Daria, Year 12

"The Spanish department at City is definitely one of the best - the teachers are excellent, the lessons are engaging and we gain a real understanding of Spanish culture, that goes far beyond the syllabus." Abi, Year 12

"Spanish at A Level is a really exciting course and is certainly never boring. I love how unlike at GCSE we speak Spanish more conversationally and are truly able to debate and express our own opinions about several topical subjects as well as learning about Spanish culture in general. I would really recommend Spanish for anyone who enjoys speaking the language and wants to take it to the next level!"  Yasmin, Year 12

Head of Department: Ms A Golzarri de Diego