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The Marlborough Science Academy


Spanish Key Stage 4

Students who choose to study Spanish at Key Stage 4 will follow the AQA GCSE Spanish course.

During the course students cover the following three broad themes at either Foundation or Higher level depending on their ability. These are:

  1. Identity and Culture
  2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  3. Current and future study and employment

The GCSE language course aims to develop understanding and communication in the foreign language across all four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Students develop and use their knowledge and understanding of grammar.

A Key Stage 4 language immersion trip to Andalucía, Spain is offered as an important element of the programme.

The course is assessed through:

  • Examination

Students are entered for final examinations in either the Foundation (F) or Higher (H) Tier:

  • Listening - a 35 minute (F) or 45 minute (H) examination 
  • Speaking - 30 minutes per candidate (F and H) - 15 minutes preparation and 15 minutes for the examination
  • Reading - a 45 minute (F) or 1 hour (H) examination
  • Writing - a 1 hour (F) or 1 hour 15 minute (H) examination

Each of the 4 skills is worth 25% of the final grade.

The Foundation Tier covers grades 5 to 1. The Higher Tier is for grades 9 to 5. 

Students who study Spanish can go on to gain employment in areas such as travel companies, airlines, banking and accountancy, publishing, manufacturing, marketing, teaching and the diplomatic service which can require knowledge of languages.

The ability to speak languages is useful in all kinds of professions and jobs. Many companies are multinational and employees who speak other languages will always have an advantage over others.

A modern foreign language forms part of the English Baccalaureate and many universities consider language qualifications as part of their selection criteria.


Spanish Key Stage 5 

Students who choose to study Spanish at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA Spanish A level course.

Students who choose Spanish at A level will be taught by fully qualified and experienced teaching staff. Opportunities to attend study trips abroad and student conferences in London are also available.

Course Content:

During the first year of the course students will have the opportunity to extend their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing through the study of materials related to contemporary Spanish and South American countries. Topics included are the family, leisure, education, the media, the environment, immigration and multiculturalism.

In the second year of the course students continue to develop their competence in language and explore further social, cultural and political issues. In addition, a literary text or topic may be studied.


The course is assessed by two written examinations and a non-examined individual research project.

  • Paper 1 – Listening, Reading and Writing:

A 2 hour 30 minute exam worth 50% of the final grade. In the first section of the paper students will listen and respond to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources covering different registers and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. Studio recordings will be used and students will have individual control of the recording. In the seond section of the paper students will read and respond to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail.

Section 3 and 4 of the paper are translations, one into English and one into Spanish.

  • Paper 2 - Writing

A 2 hour exam worth 20% of the final grade, in which students will answer either one question in Spanish on a set text from a choice of two questions and one question in Spanish on a set film from a choice of two questions or two questions in Spanish on set texts from a choice of two questions on each text. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation, as appropriate to the work studied (eg the effect of narrative voice in a prose text or camera work in a film).

  • Individual Research Project

Students will take part in a discussion of a theme based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes), following 5 minutes at the start of the test during which they can study the card and prepare.This will be followed by a presentation (2 minutes) and discussion (9–10 minutes) of their selected individual research project which can be based on one of four themes; Aspects of Hispanic society, Artistic culture in the Hispanic world, Multiculturalism in Hispanic society or Aspects of political life in Hispanic society. The presentation is worth 30% of the final grade and can be taken only once during the course.

Spanish has long been recognised as providing a sound background to academic studies. Understanding and using Spanish is a desirable skill in many areas of work. Spanish is in demand in banking, insurance, marketing, science and technology, journalism, tourism, law, education and engineering.