Modern Languages

The Modern Languages Departments works with a set of aims and visions. We endeavour to encourage all our pupils:

  • to develop an understanding of the spoken and written form of the language;
  • to communicate with confidence and clarity using the language as accurately as can reasonably be expected;
  • to become confident and independent learners, fully involved in the process of their own learning and willing to take risks;
  • to develop a critical insight into the cultural background, society and heritage of the countries where the language is spoken;
  • to build a solid basis from which development for further study is possible;
  • to acquire a deep enjoyment of learning the language, discovering the cultural background to the language and appreciating its unique relationship to other languages and cultures;
  • to understand and experience the wide spectrum of benefits that Modern Languages learning offers.

The objectives are:

  • to assess knowledge, understanding and skills. We work towards developing the ability of all students to:
    • understand and respond to the spoken language
    • communicate clearly and cogently in the spoken language
    • understand and respond in varying registers to the written language
    • manipulate the foreign language using a varying range of grammatical structures and vocabulary suited to the task set
    • demonstrate their ability for critical thinking and put their field of study in a broader context
    • transfer meaning from English into the foreign language or vice versa

All GCSE exams in Spanish, French and Mandarin are AQA. Bilingual and heritage speakers often sit IGCSE exams.

Spanish, French and Bilingual/heritage Mandarin sit AQA A Level. Non-native speakers of Mandarin sit Cambridge Pre-U exams.

We do offer post-A Level qualifications (such as the HK exams in Mandarin or the DELE exams in Spanish)

Core Languages offered are Spanish, French and Mandarin.

Extra Languages offered are Arabic, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Swedish.

Head of Department

Suzanne Burton

Suzanne BurtonOf Franco-Spanish origin, Suzanne joined Benenden School in September, 2017.

She is a passionate student and teacher of European and Asian languages having achieved her tertiary qualifications in French, British and Australian universities. She has worked in several countries where she has held senior positions in both academic and commercial sectors.