Ensuring that our students are 100% fluent in Spanish language and culture is the main purpose of our department. As philosopher L. Wittgenstein once said, ´the limits of our language are the limits of our world´. The ability to communicate in more than one language is an essential skill nowadays. We live in a hyper-connected society where we have to develop any possible advantage to stand out and to be better than others. Acquiring a second language has so many advantages that it has become one of the main objectives in education around the world. Researchers conclude that foreign language learning boosts creativity and self-confidence as well as resulting in a greater sense of open-mindedness. As Mahatma Gandhi said ´a language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers´. Students at Runnymede have the opportunity to become fully English-Spanish bilingual and we all work towards this target with energy and enthusiasm.
The Spanish department continues to design specific programmes of study to meet the needs of every pupil. The level of the pupils’ linguistic abilities differs from class to class and from one year to another. The department continues to prepare the students for the IGCSE, A Levels and the Instituto Cervantes’ DELE exams B2 and C1 levels. However, we offer them much more than that. Our pupils are strong readers, encouraged to read literature both in class and at home. They also study the culture of Spanish speaking countries in Key Stage 3. We are convinced that this will help them to respect diversity and to fight against bigotry. Cultural competence builds our understanding of people. It makes us more respectful and open to different cultural perspectives and attitudes.
We complement the teaching of Spanish Literature and History with educational trips that transport our pupils to the heart of the action. Every year they get a chance to enjoy a performance of the plays they are studying and to visit the sites where these are set. It is one thing to read about the Spanish Civil War in a text book, but to visit the remains of the Cuartel de la Montaña in Madrid’s Plaza de España or the Metro station of Chamberí which was regularly used as a bomb-raid shelter gives our pupils a more precise understanding of the events that unfolded.
We offer Spanish IGCSE as a first and second language, depending on ability, Spanish A-level and the DELE exams B2 and C1 levels.