Aim of the course
While we foster our students’ interest in the Spanish language in its own right as an academic subject, we go much further by exploring the importance of the language in the modern world and discovering the history, arts, traditions, and popular culture of Spanish-speaking countries.
Through their study of Spanish, our students develop their oral and analytical skills, as well as their linguistic accuracy and their ability to express themselves in a persuasive manner, both orally and in writing.
Students have a weekly individual lesson with the oral language teacher to improve their skills in spoken Spanish. These intensive lessons are invaluable in helping them develop fluency and the ability to debate and defend their point of view confidently, and to prepare for the oral exam.
In addition to the A level, we offer the Diplomas de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera (DELE).
Students examine aspects of contemporary Hispanic society, including:
- Changing family values and the influence of the Catholic church
- The growing role of social media and our increasing reliance on technology
- Aspects of equal rights such as gender equality and gender identity
Artistic culture also has a central place in the syllabus. Students study the culture of fame and celebrity as manifested in the Spanish-speaking world, as well as examining regional differences within Hispanic countries, regional languages spoken alongside Spanish, and art, architecture and traditional music genres.
Upper Sixth students will complete the final two themes of the AQA specification which cover contemporary social issues, including:
- The involvement of young people in politics
- The evolution of Spain’s monarchy
- The role of dictators in Latin American politics
- The impact of trade unions and social movements
Students will also be required to carry out an independent research project on a Hispanic subject of their choosing, which will form a topic of discussion as part of their final oral exam.
We encourage students to enter the Advanced category of the UK Linguistics Olympiad.
Students are encouraged to read as widely as possible, but we are not prescriptive about what they read as it is important that the reading should derive from their own motivation. For a student who is keen to read but does not know where to start, we might suggest looking at short stories by authors from the Latin American Boom, such as Julio Cortázar, Augusto Monterroso and Gabriel García Márquez. Carlos Ruiz Zafón is an award-winning contemporary writer of novels for young people, whose works include La Sombra del Viento and El Prisionero del Cielo.
We encourage students to take part in the various annual translation, poetry and essay competitions, including the Canning House competition, the Prismatic Jane Eyre project and the Anthea Bell prize.
Lower Sixth students have the opportunity to participate in the Spanish exchange with our partner school in Madrid, whilst both years take part in the regional Spanish debating competition on a variety of captivating topics.
Two written papers and an oral exam at the end of the Upper Sixth.