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Modern Foreign Languages

At Calday we strive to develop an atmosphere where all languages are celebrated and cultural awareness is promoted. The teaching staff speak many languages between them and have a wealth of international experience which is passed on to the students to ensure they see language as beneficial to their life chances.

Students learn the basics of grammar and vocabulary through different topics. The focus is on oral communication but students also extend their listening, reading and writing skills.

Various activities and trip are organised, including a visit in Year 7 to the Manchester Christmas markets. There are trips to the Black Forest and to Paris. There is a German and an Italian exchange trip; students spend ten days on exchange at school and with host families, their trip will include different cultural experiences in the country they are visiting.

A Level entry requirement: Grade 6 in Language



Mandarin was introduced to the school in 1997 and we were one of the first five schools in the UK to be granted a Confucius Classroom. Since its introduction, a growing number of students in Calday have taken the chance to learn the most-spoken Chinese language. We believe that by learning the language our students are equipped with a valuable tool for engaging with a nation that is re-shaping the world as we know it. Yet China's role in the past is equally important and being a student here also means developing an awareness of this land's immense cultural legacy.

In addition to providing stimulating language lessons, the Chinese department offers students of all ages a wide range of opportunities to improve their language skills and experience in Chinese culture. The China Exchange programme has been running for 13 years and it is still very popular. We also take part in a National speaking competition and have a very impressive winning record. On top of that Calday students solely represented UK in the biggest Chinese Speaking Competition held in China – ‘The China Bridge’ for the 4th time this Autumn, to compete with students from over one hundred schools across the globe. Mandarin is offered to all year groups.

In Year 7, with three periods per week devoted to Mandarin, it is not long before students confidently applying basic Chinese greetings and getting to grips with the linguistic peculiarities of the language that make it so exciting to learn.

These include the structure of Chinese characters, the phonetic alphabet ‘pinyin’ and the four tones of Mandarin. By the end of the year, students can write a range of characters and hold simple conversations.

In Year 8 students receive two periods a week, which allows them to deepen their character reading and writing skills. Through the introduction of new vocabulary they also gain greater confidence in their speaking ability and broaden the range of topics they can talk about. A rich variety of activities and resources ensures that different learning styles are catered for. By the time students move into Year 9 they will also have built up their knowledge about Chinese culture through various projects that punctuate the first two years of learning.

In Year 9 we offer three periods every fortnight to the subject. At the end of Year 9 students will be given the option to continue with Mandarin to GCSE level. The Year 9 course aims to provide a sound foundation for GCSE. The emphasis, therefore, is on spoken and written skills and using a wider range of sentence structures.

In Years 10 and 11 students will develop their language skills within topic areas such as tourism, media, careers and school life. We follow the AQA syllabus. Students complete controlled assessments in speaking and writing which take place during Years 10 and 11. In addition, students take the listening and reading examination in June of Year 11.

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A Level Chinese



As the language of one of the main trading partners of Great Britain and an official language of the United Nations, NATO or OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to name just a few, it is not difficult to understand why an understanding of French is a well sought asset for our students to have in an ever-changing world.

Student achievement in French is very high: GCSE and AS results were the best ever this year and showed that our students performed significantly above national and school average. Over the last three years, performance analysis between Key Stage 2 and 4 ranked French first amongst all subjects at Calday.

This excellent outcome is made possible by the hard work of all students and the dedication of staff composed of highly qualified teachers and native speakers who offer support and revision classes on a weekly basis, including prior to examination during the Easter holidays.

We also understand the importance of the cultural aspect of language learning and offers our students the chance to take part in our annually trip to France, this year being held in Paris.

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German is the most widely spoken language in Europe in terms of numbers of native speakers.  Given that Germany is the economic power house of the European Union there has never been a more strategically important time for young people to gain a knowledge of the language.

German at Calday has continued to grow as a subject and the language is one of the most popular subjects chosen by new Year 7 students.   Student and parental attitudes towards the subject are extremely positive; over 90% of students opt to continue with German studies post Year 9 options and a recent parental survey conducted by the school showed that German was one of the academic strengths of the school.  German GCSE results at Calday are significantly above the national average for the subject.

We offer our students a number of opportunities to use their knowledge in a German speaking context.  We have a long running connection with a partner school in Germany which has existed for over 30 years.  This allows students to experience life at a German school and also participate in work experience projects.  We regularly take large groups of Key Stage 3 students to visit the Black Forest, which allows students to use their language skills. 

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Studying Spanish will allow you to communicate with more than 495 million people worldwide.  Knowing Spanish will also greatly increase your employment options with many of the world's leading economies demanding Spanish speakers.  Learning Spanish will make traveling to any of the 21 countries where Spanish is an official language easier, not to mention the many countries where Spanish is widely spoken. Learn some Spanish; the knowledge will surely go a long way! 

Know a second language? Great, you're hired! If you have proven yourself to be a capable employee with just the right job skills AND you speak a foreign language such as Spanish, you are much more likely to land that job of your dreams than if you are monolingual. In fact, many jobs today require a minimum of basic proficiency in another language.

Internationally, people who speak Spanish often have opportunities to work in trade or business fields. Other options include diplomacy, interpretation, and security applications, which all require a sensitivity and proficiency of another language. And did you know that bilingual employees often receive a larger salary than their non-Spanish speaking counterparts?

Spanish is from the Romance language family of languages, its roots coming primarily from Latin, the language spoken by the Romans. As you might know, English, too has many words of Latin origin. Because of this, knowing Spanish helps speakers of English (as well as some other European languages) broaden their vocabulary in their native language. Often times, these same Latin roots are at the base of many sophisticated words in English, so Spanish learners can also become more proficient in English.

 In addition, a recognition and understanding of these words of Latin origin is especially helpful in certain professions in science, medicine, law, and many others with specialized vocabulary, as the many centuries of Roman rule left their mark linguistically in these and other modern scientific and professional fields.

Some reasons to study Spanish:

  • Spanish is the world's second most spoken language, after Chinese, and is the second most used language in international communication.

  • By 2030, 7.5% of the world's population will be native Spanish speakers, approximately 535 m.

  • The Latino market is one of the fastest-growing market in North America with over 52 million in the US. In the first quarter of 2012, they accounted for 11% of the total of $2.2 billion e-commerce purchases in the country. By 2015, their buying power is expected to reach 1.5 trillion.

  • 37 million US residents 5 years and older spoke Spanish at home in 2010, up from 17.3 million in 1990. That's an increase of nearly 20 million speakers in just 20 years!

  • "The world is rapidly becoming multilingual and Arabic and Spanish are both key languages of the future" said language researcher David Graddol, commenting on a report presented to the British Council.

  • From 2000-2010, 1 in 4 countries saw their Hispanic population double.

  • Learning Spanish will increasingly open doors to new job opportunities and trade internationally.

  • Latin American countries have been experiencing strong economic growth for years with an estimated GDP growth of 4.67 in 2011.


At Calday, Spanish is the most popular choice of language with over 350 students studying Spanish from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5. It is also a very popular choice at A level with an average class size at AS level of 16-18.  Take up at A2 is very high (around 80%). Results at GCSE are excellent with over 80% achieving A*- B.

Whilst a thorough knowledge of the grammar is the backbone to the teaching of Spanish we also explore Spanish culture and language through a variety of other ways, including the use of ICT.

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The study of Russian is an enjoyable and increasingly rare experience, Calday Grange Grammar School is one of a small number of schools in England which still offers Russian at both GCSE and A Level. To take Russian to GCSE level is to gain a qualification which would stand out on any university application form. It offers students the chance not only to learn about one of the leading Eastern European languages, but also to discover more about the culture of one of the most fascinating countries in the world. This is the nation, after all, that was described by Winston Churchill as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"; we endeavour to help our students unravel some of the mysteries of Russia and the Russian language.

The take-up of Russian is impressive (we have over 300 students studying the language) and our success is recognised nationally: our department has been awarded the Good School Guide Award for the best results in Russian; in Boys’ schools in England at GCSE and A Level. We have a wide range of extra-curricular activities to enrich learning, including a trip to Russia. Pupils  Y9-13 are offered to take part in a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg which is usually ran in February.

Key subject aims
To enable students to develop:
-an understanding of Russian in a variety of contexts, a knowledge of Russian vocabulary and structures and the ability to communicate effectively in Russian
- transferable language learning skills and awareness and understanding of countries, culture and communities where Russian is spoken.

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