Languages Programme

A comprehensive languages curriculum

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 | LANGUAGES PROGRAMME

English language skills

At our Kensington and Hampstead campuses, we integrate the teaching of language skills into all areas of our PYP curriculum.

We focus 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.

PYP students learn Spanish

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.

Find out more in our PYP Curriculum guide:

“I’ve grown by meeting people from new countries. It has taught me that going to an international school can teach you new languages, and you can learn about everybody’s culture, not just your own.””

– Nina, Grade 3 student

LOWER SENIORS | LANGUAGES PROGRAMME

English Language and Literature

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.

Lower Seniors learn 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.

Nurturing 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.

To support this, at our Westminster Campus we have recruited specialist tutors who collectively are fluent in over 20 different languages. They can offer lessons outside of the MYP curriculum in languages other than English, French or Spanish, such as German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese and Swedish.

UPPER SENIORS | LANGUAGE PROGRAMME

Literature and/or Language Studies

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 home language.

For the majority of our students this is English, but a substantial number choose to enrol to study the Literature or Language and Literature course in another language, leading to the additional qualification at graduation of a Bilingual Diploma.

These courses are designed to encourage creative, analytical and intellectual growth through the academic study of language and literature and are assessed by internal and external examination.

Language Acquisition Course

As part of the Diploma Programme, students are required to study a Language Aquisition 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 studied by our students have included including Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Malay, Portuguese, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Read our Upper Seniors Prospectus for more information:

Supporting students who are new to English

We also offer MYP English Language Acquisiton (ELA) classes to students based on assessment at enrolment, aiming to develop language skills that usually allow transition to mainstream MYP English classes.

The teachers in our English Learning and Language Acquisition (ELLA) Department maintain contact with their students once they make the move, offering additional support when helpful through support classes or extra-curricular activities.

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

Southbank International School