Our languages programme

Our languages programme

Through our three International Baccalaureate programmes, we provide a comprehensive languages curriculum to all our students.

As a truly international school, we believe that being multilingual is essential to our students reaching their full potential in today’s increasingly global world.

In addition, learning a new language helps our students to grow intellectually and personally, and opens their eyes to a wide range of different cultures.

Primary Years Programme


At our Kensington and Hampstead campuses, we integrate the teaching of language skills into all areas of our PYP curriculum. Specifically, this focuses on three communication strands:

Oral communication – listening and speaking.

Written communication – reading and writing

Visual communication – viewing and presenting.

We also offer English as an additional language (EAL) lessons to students aged under nine (Grade 4) who speak little or no English. Please see our EAL section below.



Our PYP students start to learn Spanish in a supportive and engaging environment. Initially, this is through games, songs and activities that are designed to capitalise on their natural open-mindedness. Then, as their confidence grows, the reading and writing of Spanish is introduced to them gradually.

Read our Primary Years Programme curriculum for more information

Middle Years Programme


At our Westminster campus, we integrate the teaching of English language skills into all areas of our MYP curriculum.

In addition, MYP students study a Language and Literature course that develops skills in six domains: listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting.

We also offer English as an additional language (EAL) lessons to MYP students who need some extra support to speak and write English. Please see our EAL section below.


French or Spanish

We offer MYP students the opportunity to study a French or Spanish course over a five-year period.

The main objective of the course is to help students of mixed ability and varied backgrounds to achieve competence and proficiency in a new language.

The curriculum encourages students’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment in a foreign language and provides them with the key communicative skills necessary for future study or work.


Home languages

During their time at Southbank, we help students maintain and develop their home language. We believe this is important to their sense of identity and emotional wellbeing.

We also make a big effort to celebrate the cultures and mother tongue languages of all our students. This provides an opportunity to learn from each other and fosters an appreciation of people’s different backgrounds.

Read our Lower Senior Prospectus  for more information

Diploma Programme

Studies in Language and Literature

As part of the Diploma Programme, students are required to study a ‘Literature’ or ‘Language and Literature’ course that’s normally taught and studied in the student’s best or native language.

These courses are designed to encourage creative, analytic and intellectual growth, and give students the necessary skills to prepare them for important internal and external assessments.


Language Acquisition

As part of the Diploma Programme, students are required to study a Language Acquisition course. The language they study can be one that they have little or no experience of learning, or they can study a language that they have an intermediate level of proficiency in.

The languages available to study include Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Malay, Portuguese, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.


Read our Upper Senior Prospectus  for more information.

English as an additional language (EAL)

is designed to help PYP and MYP students participate fully in the social and academic aspects of our school. This involves EAL teachers working closely with class teachers to support each student’s oral and written communication.

Students who are new to English may receive extra support from an EAL teacher to assist their language development. The EAL teachers may also go into classrooms to support students.

For more information about our English as an additional language programme, please see our ELLA Handbook.

Southbank Kensington
+44 (0)20 7229 8230
Southbank Hampstead
+44 (0)20 7431 1200
Southbank Westminster
+44 (0)20 7436 9699