Spanish department                


Head of Department

Mrs E.Sheridan


Teaching staff

Mrs D.Moore (Vice Principal)

Mrs C.Mc Lernon

Mrs M.Kernan


¡Bienvenidos al departamento de español!

Welcome to the Spanish department.



In the Spanish department we aim to:


- develop the pupils’ ability to communicate effectively in Spanish.

- make language-learning an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating and successful experience.

- develop an awareness, understanding and appreciation of Spanish culture and civilisation.

- develop an awareness of the nature of language and language-learning in general. 

- develop transferable skills of a more general nature (e.g. analysis, aural discrimination, memorising, drawing of inferences).

- encourage pupils to make informed decisions about career choices.


Facilities The Spanish department is well equipped with a range of modern audio resources. ICT is a very important aspect in both the teaching and learning of Spanish at St.Catherine’s College. Ipads are used to enhance pupil learning of Spanish and helps to encourage pupils to become autonomous learners.  


Key Stage 3 In Years  8, 9 & 10 students have 2 periods of Spanish per week. In KS3 pupils focus on the four main key skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.  Students use the Aventura Nueva textbook and are provided with the accompanying workbook.



In Year 8 pupils study: greetings, the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, classroom objects, school subjects, school facilities, family members, countries, nationalities, colours, adjectives and animals.


The main topics taught in Year 9 are: time, food & drink, likes & dislikes, Present Tense activities, opinions, sports, sports equipment, film genres, shops, camping equipment, clothes and presents.


In Year 10 pupils study: holidays, places in the town, adjectives, directions, rooms in the house, prepositions, furniture, daily routine, weather, seasons and parts of the body.


Key Stage 4 The Spanish department follows CCEA’s GCSE Specification.


The 3 Contexts for Learning are: 1.  Identity, Lifestyle and Culture 2.  Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest 3.  School life, Studies and the World of Work Assessments Unit 1: Listening     25%                      End of Year 12

Unit 2: Speaking    25%                      End of Year 12

Unit 3: Reading      25%                      End of Year 12

Unit 4: Writing      25%                      End of Year 12

Skills developed at GCSE: 1. Aural skills. 2. Oral and written communication. 3. Understanding and responding to written and spoken language. 4. Information handling. 


Key Stage 5 Students follow CCEA’s Specification for AS and A2 Spanish.

AS  topics: In Year 13 students will study the following Contexts for Learning:



2.Culture and Lifestyle


AS course: Unit 1 : Speaking. This unit is in two parts.

  1. Presentation 
  2. Conversation

Unit 2: Listening, Reading and Use of Language.

  1. Listening – the candidate will have an individual CD and can play it back as many times as they wish.  Students answer one set of questions in Spanish and another set in English.


  1. Reading – Students answer a set of questions in Spanish based on a text in the Target Language.


3.Pupils translate a passage from Spanish to English.


4.Use of language –Students complete a series of short grammar exercises and translate short sentences from English into Spanish.


Unit 3: Extended Writing

Pupils write one essay in Spanish in response to a set film.


Assessment Unit 1 30% (AS) & 12% (A2) Approximately 11 minute exam with a visiting examiner.

Unit 2 40% (AS) & 16% (A2).

Total time: 2 hours


Unit 3 30% (AS) & 12% (A2)

Total time: 1 hour


A2 topics :

For Units 1 & 2 students will study the following Contexts for Learning:


1.Young people in Society

2.Our Place in a Changing World


A2 course Unit 1: Speaking. This unit is in two parts

  1. Discussion based on a cultural aspect/20th century historical period/a region of a Spanish speaking country.
  2. Conversation

Unit 2:  Listening and Reading

  1. Listening – individual CD. 2 sets of questions based on two passages. Pupils answer one set of questions in Spanish and one set of questions in English.


  1. Reading: Students answer two sets of questions and complete one summary exercise and one translation exercise from English to Spanish.


Total time: 2 hours 45 mins


Unit 3: Extended Writing

Pupils write one essay in Spanish in response to a set literary text.


Unit 1 18% (A2) Approximately 15 minute exam with a visiting examiner.


Unit 2 24% (A2).

Total time: 2 hours 45 mins


Unit 3 18% A2

Total time: 1 hour


Skills developed at AS/A2

1.Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

2.Understanding the contemporary society and culture of Spain.

3.Understanding and applying grammar.

4.Transferring meaning from Spanish to English and vice versa.

Careers: A level Spanish is particularly useful for the following careers: Law, European Law, Business Studies, Translation, Interpreting, Teaching and any career in which the person wishes to work in Europe.  The general conversation aspect of the A level provides useful practice in interpersonal skills which are essential for any career involving personal relations.


European Languages Day


Every year we celebrate the European International Day of Languages in the school by organising various competitions, displays and events to highlight cultural aspects of the target language countries as well as teaching pupils key phrases in a variety of European languages.


Spanish exchange

Year 11, 12 and 13 students have the wonderful opportunity of participating in a seven day exchange to the beautiful city of Granada in Spain, an annual programme formerly organised by the SELB, which St.Catherine’s has taken part in for a number of years.


Granada is a city in the region of Andalucía in Southern Spain, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and approximately 65 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast. It is one of Spain’s most beautiful and colourful cities, containing a wealth of historical monuments and buildings, including the Alhambra Palace, which is the country’s most famous attraction.


Students from Saint Catherine’s who have taken part in the past have described the experience as invaluable, not only from a linguistic point of view, but also from a social perspective, establishing life-long friendships and forging a permanent link in Spain.


The outgoing visit is usually scheduled in the run up to Easter. Our pupils stay with the families of pupils from Granada, and the Spanish pupils spend a week with their Irish partners, normally in October.


Spanish Assistant


One of the key aims of the Spanish department is to develop the communication skills of our students. The Spanish assistant plays a fundamental role in developing pupils’ oral skills. Our Spanish assistant visits Key Stage 3 classes and works closely with the A’Level students. Pupils studying Spanish at AS/A2 are timetabled with the assistant for 2 individual classes per week.



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