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Modern Foreign Languages

The Department is committed to developing our pupils’ linguistic skills along with their confidence, through a well-designed and imaginative programme.

At The Oratory pupils are required to do at least one language, whether Modern or Classical, and may do two or even three. The Modern Languages available are French, Spanish, and Italian as our main options. Other languages are also available upon request including German, Chinese, and Russian.

A language GCSE and a certain competence in a given language are considered by many employers to be a highly attractive skill for future employment.

Languages A Level

By the end of the course, students will be able to express their views on a wide range of current issues, research topics, and develop presentation and essay-writing skills. Pupils will also find they have learnt much more than a language. Ideally, pupils should be good linguists, with a desire to improve their fluency, and a willingness to learn about different cultures and to communicate.



In the challenges of today’s world, learning languages has become more important than ever. At The Oratory, effective and authentic communication are paramount but so too is learning about the outside world in order to prepare our students for the ‘cut and thrust’ of life beyond school.

We offer French, Spanish, and Italian as our main languages. Pupils are expected to take at least one language to GCSE. Other languages are also available upon request including German, Chinese, and Russian.

Mr James Berkley – Head of Languages



Towards the end of the Third Form, pupils must decide which language to study for GCSE. Pupils then follow a two-year GCSE course, which helps prepare them for the different components of the exam including the new translation. We encourage our boys to be organised in their learning to best tackle what some consider to be a difficult subject. However, we have high expectations of our pupils and their commitment towards succeeding in their chosen language.

A Level

The pupils can, if they wish, continue their learning of languages to a higher level. The A Level exams require pupils to choose a literary and film option, and they are expected to have a deeper knowledge of  grammar and vocabulary and be able successfully to manipulate the language through essay-writing and translation.


Socials Events - Dolce Vita Italian Society

Regular lunchtime Language Clinics – to assist pupils who may need extra help in improving their language skills.

Portuguese Club

Languages Film Club


We frequently run study trips to France, Spain, and Italy. These have proved popular with our pupils and provide them with more stimulus and a deeper learning experience in their respective languages.

Languages Day

Every year, we celebrate our annual Languages Day by putting on a number of events around the school such as the hotly-contested Inter-House Languages Olympiad. 

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