Modern Languages


The Modern Languages department at Eltham College is vibrant and flourishing. We offer French, German, Spanish and Mandarin through to A Level and we seek to foster in our students a lifelong enthusiasm for all the benefits and rewards that studying modern languages offers. We aim for our students’ experience of studying languages to be engaging, challenging, thought-provoking and fun, through the work done in the classroom but also through visits to the cinema, theatre and, of course, trips abroad. We guide our students to develop a rich and varied vocabulary, as well as a thorough understanding of grammar, so as to communicate with confidence and eloquence in the languages they choose to study. We also help them to develop an understanding and appreciation of the cultures that underpin these languages in order to shape and develop their understanding of the world.

As students progress through the school, they will discover that we are also the subject through which they can explore a whole range of other academic areas: literature, politics, philosophy and history, whilst also developing the ever-important, valuable skill of fluency in another language. The department is fortunate to be based in the new Turberville Building, a bright, modern, well-equipped environment that enhances our students’ learning experience and where one often hears the distinctive sounds of the languages taught, in preference to use of English.

What languages are taught?

The Lower School Curriculum is based on the principle of offering choice and exposing students to as wide a range of different languages as possible. GCSE choices are made at the end of Year 9, enabling students to choose the language(s) to which they are most suited.

Year 7 and Year 8

In Year 7, all students learn Latin in forms. Additionally, students choose two more languages to study from French, German, Mandarin or Spanish. There are parallel Mandarin sets for beginners and for students who have already learnt Mandarin at Eltham College Junior School.

Year 9

In Year 9, students choose any two of the three languages they have studied in Year 7 and 8, and continue with those languages through until the end of Year 9.


The IGCSE courses begin in Year 10, when all students must study at least one Modern Language, although a good number opt to study two.

Find out more about the individual languages taught at Eltham College

French  German  Mandarin  Spanish

 How are languages taught?

  • Teachers make full use of international journalism and European broadcasts, webcasts and podcasts to keep their lessons topical, stimulating and accessible.
  • We incorporate IT into the curriculum to make language learning more interactive, creative, engaging and fun.
  • The Language Assistants play an essential part in our teaching: at A level each student receives additional, individual tuition. At GCSE level students engage in small group discussion on a regular basis.

Language study trips

This is always the first question prospective parents ask us on open days. The Languages Department runs the largest number of trips in the school.

There are cultural trips or study trips for both GCSE and A level European languages. There is a biennial cultural trip to China, open to all Senior School students.