Institution: Priory School
Priory School is an 11-16 comprehensive school in East Sussex with
approximately 1200 pupils on roll. We have specialist school
status in Performing Arts, Languages, Science and Maths. Our other
awards include International schools award, Sportsmark, Artsmark
Gold, Committed to Careers, Healthy Schools Award and Investor in
People. In Key Stage 4 we offer diplomas, young apprenticeships and
vocational courses through a consortium of other local schools and
colleges as well as traditional GCSE courses.
In Year 7 pupils study Spanish,
German and French. They are then able to state at the end of the
year a preference for which language they would like to study and
approximately 50% of pupils study two languages for the rest of Key
Stage 3. In KS4 languages are optional but we traditionally have
quite a high uptake. Currently in Year 10 we have approximately 60%
of the year group studying a language
To offer an alternative to GCSE so that lower ability students are
able to access a language qualification which is not exam-based and
to increase MFL take-up at KS4 as a consequence. The pupils who
have chosen to opt for NVQ Languages probably wouldn’t have chosen
to study a language if NVQ had not been available.
In 2009 13 pupils in Year 11 completed NVQ French and eight
completed NVQ German. In Year 10 we have eight pupils working
towards NVQ French. In 2008 7 pupils completed NVQ German and 7 NVQ
How the programme is organised
issue is organisation as there is a lot of paperwork to sort out so
allocate time for this
- Pupils have 3 hours a week teaching time which we have found to
be more than sufficient to complete all work and assessments
without relying on homework to be completed
- For French we use the Applied French course book Leisure
and Tourism by Gill Beckett and have found this particularly
useful and easy to follow
- In German we have developed our own resources as well as
(G)NVQ edition Talking Business German by Andy and Ulrike
Yeomans, Peter Lupson, Doug Embleton and Elspeth Eggington
- Have a clear outline of what assessments you are going to do.
(Leisure and tourism has assessment ideas ready to use so
no need to prepare anything)
- Leave plenty of time to complete the assessments so pupils are
not left feeling pressurised by them
- Remember to remind pupils constantly that their portfolio
is their exam and give them ownership of it by producing
simple things like a front cover.
As a department we are very
pleased with the progress our groups have made and are encouraged
to continue to deliver the NVQ. Pupils work hard and seem
encouraged by their growing portfolios and by being able to work
towards a qualification step by step. Relationships with
these pupils are also more positive as there is not the
confrontation regarding homework and coursework which can be a
problem with lower ability pupils.
All pupils who have opted to take NVQ have achieved a Level 2 to
date. In terms of achievement for these pupils it is
outstanding as traditionally they would be pupils who probably
would not have chosen to study a language or may not have coped
with the examination process involved with GCSE languages.
In terms of Achievement and Attainment points the pupils have
all achieved 48 points which is the equivalent to a B grade at GCSE
and of course this has a similar benefit for the school. For some
of these pupils it has been their highest point score.
“I didn't think I could do German
but I'm really pleased I achieved a Level 2” NVQ
German student 2008
“It's a good way of studying French
without doing GCSE; which is harder." NVQ French
“No tests! I have loads of other
tests next year and so it is easier and there is less
pressure." NVQ French student 2009
What could be better than 13 beaming faces, bristling with the
pride of having achieved a Level 2?
To download an example of an NVQ portfolio click here.
Most recent Ofsted report (illustrating
effectiveness of the more flexible language curriculum)
‘The curriculum is a strong and exciting
feature of the school. It has improved considerably in the last two
years. The format of teaching modern foreign languages has
completely changed and is now much more appealing to students.
Extensive use is made of external providers including
colleges, the YMCA and Southend United football club to extend
learning. The school is continually adding to its range of
accredited courses to cater for the students' diverse interests,
provide them with better future opportunities and keep them engaged
with school. '
We will continue to offer NVQ French and German as well as
Author: Patricia Cowlin, Priory School