Shrewsbury School

Modern Languages in the Sixth Form

The following information is taken from our document 'The Sixth Form and Beyond', which is updated each December. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.


Head of Modern Foreign Languages:  Mr T.C. Whitehead
Heads of Faculty: French Miss R.B. Weatherstone
  German Mr H.R.W. Peach
  Spanish Ms A. Pedraza

Pupils follow the Cambridge Pre-U Principal Course syllabus in French, German and Spanish.  More and more pupils are choosing Modern Foreign Languages in the Sixth Form because of their ever-increasing relevance to the world of work.  Language skills are increasingly sought by employers in a wide range of fields; indeed, many international companies expect fluency in more than one foreign language.  

As far as the School and universities are concerned, languages are compatible with almost any combination of support subjects, whether arts, sciences, or a mixture.  While it remains desirable that those aiming to read Modern Languages at Oxford or Cambridge should offer two languages, it is not essential. 
As well as providing a fascinating insight into other cultures, Pre-U courses are designed to provide the opportunity to explore intellectually stimulating topics through authentic materials including social issues and current affairs.  Pupils’ favourite part of the course has been that they have a free choice of topic for the Oral exam.  The aim is genuine fluency and to follow an enjoyable course that stretches the best linguists to the highest level educationally, while ensuring that high grades are attained. 

Pre-U courses prepare pupils for Higher Education by teaching the importance of independent learning and critical thinking skills.  Literature and Cultural Topics are an important part of our courses.  A strong grammatical knowledge is acquired during the Lower Sixth.  Pre-U stretches and challenges a pupil at an appropriate level for the individual, which stimulates intellectual curiosity and leads to exam success. 

Pupils are encouraged to exploit our various resources: satellite television, the Internet and our recently upgraded multi-media facility.  In addition, there are four foreign-language assistants offering one-to-one speaking tutorials on a weekly basis.

The courses follow on sensibly from IGCSE/GCSE: early topics are linked to familiar areas. The study of languages is a demanding discipline, and we recommend that pupils do not tackle Modern Languages unless they have attained a high grade at GCSE, and already show an interest in reading.  

It is also very important that those learning a foreign language visit a country where it is spoken at least once while they are in the Sixth Form, if possible staying with a family.  In French there is an annual Sixth Form Study Visit to Bordeaux at Easter: nearly all pupils participate in this integrated part of the course.  In Spanish the Argentina exchange with a well known independent school (Rosario) alternates with a trip to Spain.  

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