Every pupil at Eltham College will have the opportunity to learn German from Year 7, with the possibility of continuing to GCSE and beyond.

German – the Language and the People

In increasingly unstable economic times, Germany possesses the largest economy in the European Union and the third largest economy in the world. It continues to bail out weaker European states.

Knowledge of German will give you a competitive advantage and it will help you to understand not just the words our German neighbours speak, but how they think.

Beyond the obvious advantages of being able to trade in the mother tongue of our closest and strongest economic partner and communicating with the 100 million plus German speakers worldwide, German is an extremely useful language to learn because its similarities to English make it surprisingly straightforward.

  • A Year 8 Eltham College beginner already knows much more German than he thinks, as German and English are close cousins in the European family of languages.

  • If you’ve ever carried a rucksack, attended a kindergarten, been abseiling or even felt a little schadenfreude, then you’re closer to German than you may think.

  • English is a Germanic language and your family will confirm that. Just ask your Vater, Mutter, Bruder or Schwester.

The Germans are like us in so many ways. They are obsessed with football and iPhones; they have their own home-grown versions of X Factor, Come Dine With Me and I’m A Celebrity… about which they then tweet, text, blog and facebook, snapchat etc.

They are also strikingly ahead in terms of the government’s environmental policy and the trains are state of the art and run on time.

It's that recognition of the similarities and the luxury of seeing a country’s quirkiness from the outside which make learning foreign languages so rewarding. Time spent abroad also enables you to view your own country in a more objective manner. In uncertain times, the strength of German lies in its stability. It is a country as reliable as it brand names. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Bosch, Siemens, Adidas and Puma have all become industry benchmarks for quality.

The richness of German goes well beyond its brands. It is the language of philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche), of politics (Marx, Engels), theology (Luther), music (Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven and modern European pop courtesy of Falco, Nena and AnNa R) and science, a field in which Germans have won 74 Nobel prizes.

It is also fortunate enough to be home to one of Europe’s coolest and constantly changing capital cities – the hipster hangout that is Berlin. The fall of the Berlin Wall has created a scene unlike any witnessed since the heady days of the early 1980s on New York’s Lower East Side. It is the home of MTV’s European headquarters, a breeding ground for up and coming artistic talent, a comparatively cheap place to invest in property and, above all, one of Europe’s most thriving and thrilling destinations.

There’s so much more to Germany than sausages, schnitzel and strudel. But they have all that too, as well as being the birthplace of the Döner Kebab and the headquarters of the Currywurst.

The Curriculum

Boys choosing to study German in Year 7 or Year 8 have three periods a week of lessons. They can then continue German in Year 9.

On average, more than a third of the year group opt for German as their GCSE language. The department has been teaching the Edexcel IGCSE course sinces 2013.

Trips and Enrichment

  • In Year 10 there is an exchange to the Besselgymnasium in Minden (near Hannover) which has been running for over thirty years.

  • In Year 11 there is a cultural trip to Berlin where the boys see some of the history and culture of the city.

  • There are trips to London cinemas and film festivals (recent screenings include Die Welle at the Odeon Covent Garden).

  • The department is exceptionally well-resourced, with a library of some 50 modern German films and pupil access to the full range of AQA material via kerboodle online.


German is taught by: