'The beauty of vocational language courses is
that students see the direct relevance not only to their own language needs to
operate effectively in the target language country, but
also to the wider world around them. This is what motivates
students.' Chris Walsh, Imberhorne
Imberhorne is a split–site 11–18 comprehensive in West Sussex. We
are a Language College Specialist school, and as a high–performing
school have recently been given permission to embrace an additional
second specialism as a “Leading Edge” school.
How the programme is organised
NVQ has been delivered for several years as a means of ensuring
significant numbers of pupils studied a second modern foreign
language. We were for some time the largest single centre in the
country entering candidates for OCR’s NVQ certification.
Year 9 study Level 1 one lesson a week and French, German and
Spanish are offered. From this year only the lowest groups study
NVQ, whereas in the past all Year 9 students have taken the course.
Years 10 and 11 go on to study Level 2; these are mainly students
who have opted for the Travel and Tourism or the Health and
Social Care courses as main programmes of study. Level 3 is offered
as an alternative progression route to AS and A2 to students in
Years 12 and 13, and it is possible to begin a new language at
level 1 in the sixth form as well.
In 2007 approximately 200 students achieved a Level 1 pass in
French, German or Spanish. Approximately 50 achieved passes in the
same languages at Level 2, while eight Sixth Form students
achieved passes in French or Italian. This qualification has
boosted our performance every year.
'The girls who did the Level 3 French
course last year said that they were petrified about doing the
presentation of their product. They were to be done in French,
video recorded, watched and assessed by the other students.
However, once the performances were completed and the girls looked
back at them, this work was what they identified as the one they
were most proud of. They all kept copies of the CD to show to
prospective colleges and possible future employers. They said that
although the French they used was not always perfect, the skills
gained in getting the presentation ready were really valuable and
they could see their practical application.' Janice
Threlfall, Teacher of NVQ Level 3 French
Many students have achieved certification where they might
previously not have gained anything from their language studies.
Those studying Leisure & Tourism have found it particularly
relevant. Very few students end up with no certification, even if
it is in only certain skills.
Staff have achieved A1 and V1
awards. Some staff have moved on to other schools and have
been able to draw on the experience of NVQ they gained at
Imberhorne. Vocational learning is very strong in the school, so it
has been good to be able to play our part in the success of
Ofsted report 2010
The curriculum is outstanding in meeting the
individual and often complex needs of all groups of students. There
is strong emphasis on languages and all students study at least one
language through Key Stages 3 and 4. Vocational courses provide
teachers with further options on learning styles and help to
personalise the offer for students.
Our programme is likely to remain unchanged for the forseeable
future. Numbers are unlikely to increase due to the adoption of
courses new to the school, such as Modular GCSE.
Author: Richard Keyte, Internal Verifier for NVQ Languages,