If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart. – Nelson Mandela

Head of Department: Adeline Moore

We believe that communication in a foreign language is an active process, and we encourage every child to participate in class, and to appreciate the value of learning a foreign language in a fun and stimulating environment. Equal emphasis is placed on the four attainment targets of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing, which are eventually tested at Common Entrance or Scholarship level. We expect children both to enjoy and be successful in their language studies, which will provide them with an excellent opportunity to apply their knowledge in a practical way in the future. Our aim is to ensure that all our pupils work in line with their abilities and to make excellent progress while enjoying the language lessons.

Our team consists of qualified staff including several native language speakers who are passionate about their subjects and teaching young pupils. The Department is a “bain linguistic” where one is immersed in a different culture, surrounded by posters and examples of children’s work. To develop an excellent understanding of the subject and to achieve outstanding results, young pupils need to be nurtured, inspired and strategically challenged. In order for this to happen, at Windlesham we make sure that the curriculum and the teaching methods are appropriate to the learners. The use of the range of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities and the latest technology with an impressive range of resources, including interactive whiteboards and ipads, motivate the children and keep them engaged. Our detailed assessment is being used to inform planning and to personalise learning effectively for individual pupils. This ensures that the pedagogy used builds on the pupils’ own strengths in order to make them become confident and independent learners.

All children in Year 6 spend one week in France during the Autumn Term. This trip is included in the school fees. Our annual trip to the Chateau de la Baudonniere in Normandy is one of the highlights for Windlesham children. Communication with the French staff is entirely in the target language. The children enjoy a wide range of activities in the lovely grounds of the Chateau. Visits to a local market and to Saint-Malo are also organised.

Our pupils take part in extra-curricular activities such as speaking competitions, singing, acting and reciting poems during various Windlesham events. Our department offers French to Common Entrance and Scholarship level and Spanish to Common Entrance level. We also arrange additional language tuition including Mandarin, German and Russian.

We expect high standards from our children, and we have an exceptional record in both Common Entrance and Scholarship exam results. We work closely with the Learning Development Department, and provide support and extra lessons for those who find the learning of languages more challenging, but we also provide the opportunity for talented pupils to excel and rise to the challenges set by the very top academic senior schools.