Alton School


Head of Languages, Dr Gould

At Alton, learning a foreign language is considered a vital part of the curriculum as it offers insights into other cultures and civilisations as well as opening the doors to many exciting opportunities. It is of paramount importance that students be encouraged to speak and enjoy languages and learn the skills needed to understand and communicate effectively.

All pupils study French from Year 7 and, following a taster course in German and Spanish, students select one of these in Year 8. Latin is also introduced in this academic year.

After studying three languages in the Lower School, pupils continue with at least one language to GCSE level.  Modern languages are a popular choice in the Sixth Form and all three modern languages are offered.

We arrange annual visits to countries where these languages are spoken, particularly as an exchange or work experience. Year 7 students spend a day in Calais and Year 9 German students take part in a successful exchange programme with a school in Hamelin. We have also organised visits to Spain and Italy. We have a good relationship with the German Embassy and a thriving letter-writing email club in German as well as a link with a school near Paris where pupils exchange pen-pal letters regularly.

For our Year 7 and 8 pupils we offer the opportunity to spend up to half a term at the impressive Chateau de Sauveterre, near Toulouse in the South of France.  Immersed in French language and culture, pupils dramatically improve their French while continuing to make progress across our whole curriculum with the help of both Sauveterre staff and members of our own staff who accompany them.

Every summer we offer a four-week immersive Spanish experience for pupils from Year 10 to 13 at our beautiful sister school in Colombia.  Trips and activities will be planned so that pupils can make the most of their time and learn more about this fascinating part of the world.