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Aims of The Department

  • To develop the ability to use Spanish effectively for purposes of practical communication

  • To form a sound base in Spanish of the skills, language and attitudes required for further study, work and leisure.

  • To introduce pupils to other Spanish-speaking cultures and civilisations.

  • To develop an awareness of the nature of the Spanish language and language learning.

  • To provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation while learning Spanish.

  • To encourage positive attitudes to learning Spanish and to the speakers of other languages and a sympathetic approach to other cultures and civilisations.

  • To promote skills of a more general application to all learning processes, for example analysis, memorising and the drawing of inferences.

  • To help all pupils secure at GCSE and A Level.

Key Stage 3 Quick Outline

Click the image to the right to view the curriculum overview for Key Stage 3.



Paula Devine

Subject Teachers

Catriona McLaughlin

Andrea O'Donnell

Michelle Glynn

Language Assistant

Beatriz Sanchez Iglesias

GCSE: What we study and how will you be assessed?


Studying Spanish develops your language skills and knowledge by raising your awareness and widening your understanding of Spanish-speaking countries/communities.

You will have the opportunity to use practical Spanish and take your place as a citizen in a multilingual, global society.

Why Study Spanish?

Studying Spanish will give you the confidence to communicate effectively in a second language. You will be able to work independently and with others to enjoy the benefits of language learning.


Unique Features Of This Qualification?

Our revised GCSE modern language specifications have four units: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. For the Listening, Reading and Writing units, you can enter at either Foundation Tier or Higher Tier. 


What Will I Study?

You will study a range of topics in three Contexts for Learning:

• Identity, Lifestyle and Culture;

• Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest; and

• School Life, Studies and the World of Work.


The four units are each worth 25% of the overall GCSE.

Unit 1: Listening

This is a written examination lasting approximately:

35 minutes at Foundation Tier; and

45 minutes at Higher Tier.

You will answer twelve questions, in English and Spanish.

Unit 3: Reading

This is a written examination lasting:

•    50 minutes at Foundation Tier; and

•   1 hour at Higher Tier.

you will answer questions in English and in Spanish, as well as translating short sentences from Spanish into English.

Unit 2: Speaking

You will take part in two role-plays and a general conversation on two topics in Spanish.

The teacher conducts the speaking examination, which lasts 7–12 minutes (plus 10 minutes of role-play preparation time).

Unit 4: Writing

This is a written examination lasting:

•   1 hour at Foundation Tier; and

•   1 hour 15 minutes at Higher Tier.

You will answer four questions including listing

(at Foundation Tier), short phrase/sentence responses, translating short sentences, and an extended writing task (from a choice of three) in Spanish.

Spanish at A'Level in Holy Cross

Students who opt to study a Modern Language at AS-Level will follow the CCEA Syllabus. There is a predominant use of the target language and this is enhanced within the school by the presence of a language assistant. Students should have a grade A* - B at GCSE Level. At AS and A-Level there is no coursework. The topic areas to be studied are Relationships, Culture and Lifestyle, Young people in Society, Our Place in a Changing World. The study of a Modern Language to GCE A Level enables students to achieve oral and written proficiency in the target language. It also allows them to gain a cultural understanding of the countries/communities where the target language is spoken. Career opportunities with modern languages are becoming increasingly popular, not only as an end in themselves for example teaching, translation and interpreting, but also based on the transferable skills and personal qualities developed through learning of a modern language. These are the skills of being an effective communicator and the qualities of adaptability, imagination and tolerance. An increasing number of degree courses offer students the opportunity to combine the study of a language with disciplines like Law, Accountancy and Business Studies to name but a few.

The three modules to be studied at AS Level (Year 13):


The three modules to be studied at A2 Level (Year 14):


Criteria for entry to modern language course:


Desirable: Grade B in GCSE language

Essential: At least a Grade C in GCSE language


The above criteria also applies to any pupil who sat their GCSE exam early

Spanish In Careers





MEDICINE: having Spanish will allow you to work in many other countries or make you able to converse with doctors from the 23 countries where Spanish is spoken

LAW: the field of international law requires you to know Spanish

TOURISM: you will have enormous job potential in this field with Spanish

CATERING: Spanish will increase your opportunities of where you can work

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY: any person who wishes to work in any field in the European Community and who has an A’level in Spanish will have an extra edge

ENGINEERING: with Spanish you will be able to explore more job opportunities around the world.  Research in engineering is often searching for employees who have a language

CONSTRUCTION AND HOUSING: imagine if you were able to buy and sell property in any of the 23 Spanish-speaking countries?

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: you need Spanish  in order to be able to conduct business at an international level.

EDUCATION: Increasingly primary schools are introducing Spanish in to their curriculum and no doubt if you have A’level Spanish, your application will certainly be more attractive.

MEDIA and JOURNALISM: work for an international newspaper,website,any other form of media

Achievements (Curricular)

We consistently achieve a higher % pass rate in Spanish than the Northern Ireland Average.

Web Links

For specification and course details of the GCSE and AS/A Level content:

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