The Year 7 residential trip to France enriches their experiences of life and culture in other countries.

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Modern Languages

As part of a rich and wide curriculum, The Beacon teaches International Studies to pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4. Formal language learning is introduced in Year 5, with both French and Spanish being studied. In the Spring term of Year 5, pupils decide which of these two languages they would like to study from the Summer term of Year 5, and into Years 6, 7 and 8. 

The National Curriculum states that a core of knowledge and cultural experience are the entitlement of every pupil, and are imperative in fostering the idea of being a ‘citizen of the world’. At The Beacon, our aim is to prepare our pupils for the contemporary world. We see the teaching of International Studies, French and Spanish as an important window of opportunity for pupils to see and experience the wider world. Our overriding aim is to enthuse the boys with a love of language learning, which will continue in their future education and life. This we do in tandem with The Beacon's aim to encourage high standards of achievement.

Fiona Jones
Head of Modern Foreign Languages



International Studies

In Years 2, 3 and 4, boys aged six to nine are taught International Studies. Designed by The Beacon’s Modern Languages Department, International Studies aims to prepare pupils for the contemporary, multicultural society in which they live. It teaches them that learning about other countries is fascinating, relevant and also great fun.

Over the course of a three-year programme, pupils spend each term studying the language, customs, culture, geography and history of a particular country (or countries, if the language is spoken in more than one country). Languages currently included in our programme are Mandarin, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Arabic and Hindi. We have tried to ensure that our programme features the majority of the world’s most widely spoken languages, and that it provides an even global distribution. We have also included those languages that allow our language teachers to share their expertise.

Lessons are designed to stimulate enjoyment, and incorporate a variety of techniques to encourage the boys to have an active engagement in a variety of languages: these include games, short films, songs and even Skype calls to schools in other countries.  

A cross-curricular approach is taken to International Studies. This means that boys develop their knowledge in other areas of the school curriculum, such as history, geography, art, food technology and music. We always welcome the participation of parents who are from any of the countries being studied, as this enriches our programme and the boys’ overall experience.


French and Spanish

In Year 5, French is studied for one term and Spanish is studied for one another term, before pupils decide which of these two languages they would like to study from the Summer term of Year 5 and on into Years 6, 7 and 8. Having already experienced language learning (through International Studies) as fun, interesting and relevant, we find that Year 5 boys are excited about starting French and Spanish, and already enthused with a love of language learning. 

A wide range of resources is used for the teaching of French and Spanish at The Beacon. Teaching is topic-based (rather than text-book led), using a wide range of media. Topics covered include free time, holidays, house and home and school. ICT plays a very important role in the consolidation and reinforcement of our teaching and the department is well resourced with internet-enabled devices for every class. These are used regularly for listening practice, independent work and the completion of interactive assignments. We use a wide variety of internet sites for fun, topical and interactive activities. These include This is Language, Linguascope, Zut and Quizlet. 

All pupils visit France or Spain (depending on which language they have chosen to study) in the Summer term of Year 7. Boys studying French visit Montpellier, while boys studying Spanish visit the city of Salamanca. Both trips feature a variety of linguistic and cultural activities.

By the time boys leave the school at the end of Year 8, we hope to have furnished them with a sound knowledge of language acquisition and the desire to continue leaning modern languages – and to embark on other languages - in their next school and indeed in later life.


The Year 7 residential trip to France enriches their experiences of life and culture in other countries.