Our Modern Languages

The Prince’s Teaching Institute recently held its first Modern Foreign Languages Summer School in Cambridge. Kate Adie, journalist and writer, said in her opening speech to modern languages teachers:

If you want to work or travel abroad without speaking a foreign language, you will be disabled. Learn to speak at least one foreign language well.

Kate Adie

Philosophy and Aims

The aim of the Modern Languages Department is to offer every child the opportunity to learn to speak at least one foreign language with confidence. We believe that children thrive when given the chance to develop their literacy and linguistic skills in a varied and original way, and we endeavour to support the work achieved in this field across the curriculum.

In today’s multicultural society, children need to be equipped with a good understanding of other cultures as well as excellent communication skills.

Our focus is both linguistic and cultural as we invite the children to learn about the culture and traditions of the countries where the languages studied are spoken. In today’s multicultural society, children need to be equipped with a good understanding of other cultures as well as excellent communication skills, and we want our students to be able to use their foreign language as a tool to express their views and explore new ways of thinking. We encourage them to think independently and develop their own writing style. At A Level we strive to prepare our students for the challenges of university studies, where they will need good evaluation and analytical skills.


Spanish has been taught from year 7 as our first Modern Language since 2010. The more able linguists then start French in year 8. Both languages are offered at GCSE. French is currently taught as a full AS/A2 course. Spanish A Level is available on demand at present and is soon to be offered to all students as a full course too. All our students take a modern language as a core subject for GCSE although children with specific learning needs may be offered a more personalised curriculum without a language.

Being an International School, we pride ourselves on supporting students who wish to take qualifications in their own native language or other languages of particular interest to them. Some of our students will take qualifications in Italian, German, Russian and Cantonese.


Our 4th and 5th Form Curriculum Guide gives full details of all GCSE subjects – please download this document from the Senior Curriculum page.

AS and A Level

Full details of AS and A Level subjects can be found on our 6th Form Subjects page.


The Modern Languages Department is accommodated in two comfortable and modern classrooms fitted with interactive whiteboards.

French is taught from the Expo textbooks series at KS3 and the AQA textbooks at KS4 and KS5. The Mira textbooks are used in Spanish at KS3 and KS4. Whenever possible, we supplement our textbooks with authentic materials from newspapers and magazines, films, songs or online resources.

Shebbear College is an independent UK school, a co-educational day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 to 18, located in rural North Devon.