Modern Languages

We live in a multi-cultural and multi lingual world where English is not enough.  Glenalmond offers French, German and Spanish, taught by highly qualified staff with international experience, who inspire pupils to become confident, proficient linguists. 

A candidate with a second language will always be attractive to employers, and in some managerial and law careers it may well become an essential part of an application.  Proven benefits of a language include better reasoning and problem solving skills, greater reading confidence, awareness of other points of view, efficiency in adapting to new tasks, better negotiating abilities, understanding of priorities and leadership skills.


Second Form

All pupils study French and Mandarin, following a course designed to provide the academic challenge of Common Entrance but also linguistic and cultural enrichment.  Along with studying the traditional topics, pupils are exposed to film and culture and encouraged to work as much as possible in the target language.

Third Form

All pupils study French as well as a carousel of linguistics, Spanish, German and Mandarin.  The French course again combines traditional depth with insights into culture and language beyond the classroom.   An emphasis is placed on oral confidence and a strong grammatical foundation. 


A Modern Language is compulsory at GCSE and pupils have a choice of either French or Spanish, with the option of adding a second language of French, German or Spanish as an option.  Pupils follow the CiE iGCSE. The course encourages learners to develop lifelong skills including:

  • The ability to use the language as a means of practical communication
  • An insight into the country and culture of countries where the language is spoken
  • A positive attitude towards language learning and other cultures
  • Widely applicable study skills such as analysis and memory skills
  • A sound foundation for further progression

Examinations are taken in the four skill areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing, each worth 25%.  Pupils are set according to ability in French and Spanish, numbers permitting.    We do assist pupils to take examinations in other languages such as Italian, Chinese, Russian and Dutch as required.

A Level

French, German and Spanish have similar components and requirements. The majority of the course is devoted to language work; talking, listening, reading and writing in the target language on subjects of topical interest. And there is also an opportunity to study either literature or a topic of cultural interest such as a film/play and to really deepen and expand the appreciation of another culture and country.  There is no course work and all three languages are externally marked.  All pupils studying Modern Foreign Languages are strongly recommended to visit the country of the target language and to take advantage of the exchange or language trips offered by the school.

A Level Course Description

The core content for each language is:

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political and artistic culture
  • Grammar
  • Film and literature

Each of the above is studied with reference to the language and culture of the countries concerned.

We do work with pupils to allow those who wish to take the AS examination at the end of Lower Sixth, thus gaining a valuable qualification for their future careers.


There are a wide variety of super-curricular activities offered by the MFL Department.  Pupils are regularly offered the chance to see new foreign language films with Perth Film Society, visit the theatre and opera, take part in Immersion Days with other local schools, participate in language trips abroad and exchanges.

Department Head

Jenny Davey         Head of Modern Languages        German, French, Spanish

Jenny Davey has been Head of MFL since 2009.  A graduate of Edinburgh University in Hispanic Studies, she has an international background and was Director of Curriculum, Learning and IB at a school in England prior to joining Glenalmond.  Jenny is Secretary of the Independent Schools Modern Language Association and sits on the atb8 Northern Schools Committee, also acting as a consultant and examiner for the International Baccalaureate.

Sasha Baldwin        Lower School French Coordinator        French – part time

Inés Reynolds        Teacher                                            Spanish, French – part-time