All Modern Foreign Language teachers are committed to promoting excellence and to the great value of acquiring skills in foreign languages for students’ personal and academic development.
Students can choose to study German from Year 8 through to GCSE and A Level. The German Department aims to provide students with an enriching, challenging and enjoyable environment in which they can develop their skills in reading, speaking, listening and writing to the highest levels.
From the outset, there is an emphasis both on rigorous grammar learning and on communicative skills. An important objective is to foster a love of the language through a wide range of classroom activities, including songs, role plays, and pair and group work.
GCSE German aims to equip students with the ability to confidently and enjoyably communicate in the German language across various subjects. It also aims to foster an understanding and appreciation of the cultures of German-speaking countries in Europe and beyond. The course also seeks to develop skills and knowledge that can service as a foundation for further language learning, both in German and other new languages.
Students will study various topics from the following thematic areas:
- Identity and culture
- Local, national, international and global areas of interest
- Current and future study and employment
Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of German-speaking countries. Students will study two literary texts in depth, carry out an individual research project on an aspect of Germanic culture. Teaching takes place in small groups and the lessons are conducted mainly in German. There will also be an opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with a native speaker German assistant.
The AQA Advanced Level in German consists of two externally examined papers assessing Listening, Reading and Writing and a Speaking assessment. The Speaking assessment is externally set and conducted by an external teacher-examiner.
Meet the Head of Department
Dr Blain’s love of language learning has been a constant throughout her life. At school in Scotland, she studied French, German, and Russian, followed by a Modern and Medieval Languages degree at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University. She subsequently completed a PhD at King’s College, London University, with her thesis “Pre-Romantic Attitudes to Landscape in the Writings of Friedrich Schiller.”
She lived and worked in Germany and Luxembourg for nine years in the 1990s, and particularly enjoyed her four-year post as English Lecturer at the RWTH, Aachen, one of the most renowned technical universities in Germany. On returning to the UK in 2000, she completed a PGCE (French and German) at Edinburgh University, followed by sixteen years as a French and German teacher at The Mary Erskine School, a private girls’ day school in the city. In 2015, she moved on to King Edward VI High School for Girls, where she has relished the challenge of reinvigorating the study of German in the school and transforming it into the flourishing department which it is now.
It is possible to study German with a variety of other subjects (for example Law, History, Psychology, Business Studies and Economics) at university, along with the traditional option of German with another Modern Foreign Language. There are thus numerous future career options open to graduates with a German degree, including translation, journalism and teaching along with careers in the legal, accountancy, engineering and business sectors.
German is particularly useful for pathways into careers in the engineering and natural sciences fields, as Germany is a world-leader in both areas. German is also sought after for those seeking employment in developing green technologies. German is a highly regarded qualification which will give you the edge in an increasingly competitive globalised employment market.
Beyond the classroom
The opportunity for trips and exchanges: the German department runs frequent trips to Germany so that students can practise their language skills in authentic situations. There are also penpal programmes so that students can make new friends and practise their writing skills at the same time.
There is an opportunity for students to take part in an exciting exchange with our partner grammar school in Hamburg, North Germany, as well as regular language and cultural trips to Germany, including visits to the Christmas Markets in Hamburg and Cologne.
At A Level students have access to various co-curricular opportunities, including Oxbridge lessons, a mentoring system for younger students, cultural trips to German-speaking countries, and participation in an Oxbridge conference.