Bolton School Senior Boys
German is one of three modern languages offered to students from Year 8 onwards. It is a well-established subject with a proven track-record, as results in public examinations amply testify.
In recent years, over 90% of pupils have achieved A or A* (grades 8/9) grades at GCSE after four years of study. At A level many of our students regularly achieve grades A and B. Several recent sixth form students have gone on to embark on higher education courses (including Oxbridge) either in single honours German or joint honours arrangements.
Lively and compelling courses, delivered with a degree of rigour, ensure that students understand how German works. It is not merely a matter of learning how to get by with phrase-book formulations. The basic course material is supplemented by the iPad (video, satellite and internet class materials) and interactive programmes with pupil log-in access. These are available in all four rooms in the department suite.
To GCSE we pursue a linear AQA course which paces students' motivation throughout years 10 and 11. Students appreciate a weekly lesson with a native German language assistant to help them boost their speaking skills.
The take-up of German in the Sixth Form has in recent years been excellent. Our Sixth Form course involves the history of Berlin 1945 until 1980, the problems of immigration and multi-culturalism in contemporary Germany, Germany and the European Union and themes which examine the role of the individual in society, family life and in the world around them. We also study the film ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ and the novel ‘Zonenkinder’.
Trips and competitions are a very important part of what we offer. They make a measurable difference to examination results and to levels of motivation throughout the school.
In Year 8, seven weeks after starting German, a coach full of twelve year olds visits the Rheinland for six days away from home. As the photograph shows, it isn't all swimming, football and generally letting off steam. The course covers post-Napoleonic Franco-German conflicts and the creation of the EU, the institution we hope will have settled the issue once and for all. Obviously learning some German, eating German food and generally learning to feel at home there, are also part of the aim.
In Year 12, we run a study trip to Berlin to visit many of the sights that are relevant to A Level study. Being able to discuss these and their historical significance in German, and in situ, make a real difference to their motivation. Needless to say, for more or less all the seventeen year olds involved in this programme, their experience of being in the German capital has been more or less life-altering.
All pupils are encouraged to compete in either group or individual entries in the annual Independent Schools Modern Languages Debating Competition and in 2017 we won the German-speaking element.
The level of staff involvement in the organisation of all this is considerable, but the effect on students' progress is so dramatic that the Department considers is well worth the effort.
Head of Department
R A Catterall, MA
Members of the Department
K G Brace, BA
K M Hiepko, MA