Modern Foreign Languages

Communication is the main goal of the MFL department at OBH and we believe that the ability and confidence to interact in another language is a vital and enjoyable skill for all students – both during their time with us and in their future academic careers.



French is currently taught from Nursery to Year 8. This continuity enables our pupils to have sound foundations to build on. When there is demand, we teach Spanish and German in the form of informal clubs.
Whilst language learning in early years is very much about songs, rhymes and active listening games, a careful programme of study is in place from Year 3, with topics such as food, animals and activities. In Year 4, we move on to personal information, classroom things, body, clothes and buying food at a market. In Year 5, topics include the weather, home activities, telling the time and places in town. Year 6 onwards, pupils will start a more formal programme of study based around the Common Entrance syllabus.
Emphasis is very much on enjoyment and engagement in lessons with varied activities enabling pupils to express themselves and be creative. Our small class sizes enable us to personalise teaching and practice oral skills in every lesson. We use authentic materials such as poems or video clips whenever possible to contribute to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Main events include a trip to Normandy for Years 7 and 8 pupils, running every two years and occasional visits from French theatre companies.

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From September 2022 onwards, all pupils in Year 6 to 8 will have one lesson of Spanish a week. The aim of these lessons is for the pupils to enjoy an introduction to the language, learning Spanish, culture and customs. They will also develop their speaking and listening skills through conversational work, singing, activities and games; and as their confidence grows, record their work in captions and sentences.

There will not be an exam involved, but we hope that the periods will extend the children’s knowledge of how language works, explore differences and similarities between foreign languages and inspire them to select Spanish at their senior schools for GCSE and maybe beyond.


Latin and Classical Civilisation

Pupils start Latin in Year 6, using our own OBH Beginners’ Course Book. This introduces them to the basic noun and verb endings, essential grammar, as well the majority of the vocabulary required for Level I Common Entrance. Barbara Bell’s innovative course Minimus is also used, particularly for providing the children with a cultural framework to their studies.

In Year 7, the pupils officially start the Common Entrance syllabus, using the CE Practice Exercise books by Bob Bass, as well as our own resources. The aim of the department is to have covered at least all vocabulary and grammar required for Level I Common Entrance by the end of the Year 7.

In Year 8, the pupils are prepared for either Common Entrance at Level I, II or III, or for scholarships to various senior schools. Each pupil is equipped with relevant vocabulary lists and grammatical packs, as well as employing the CE Practice Exercise books (Levels I, II and III), with the scholars also using ‘So You Really Want to Learn Latin’ book 3, which takes them through to Common Academic Level and beyond.

We also find time away from the rigorous learning of vocabulary and grammar to read, discuss and dramatise the wonderful world of Greek Mythology, as well as using online games and quizzes such as Quizlet, Cyber Latin and Pipiatum.

From September 2022, pupils in Year 7 and 8 who find Latin more challenging will start a Common Entrance Classical Civilisation course, taught in their timetabled Latin lessons.

At OBH, we firmly believe that Latin plays an important part in our culture, society, geography and history, as well equipping us with translation, grammatical and etymologic skills, vital for all subjects across the academic board.