Modern Foreign Languages: Durham School: independent day and boarding school in the North East of England for boys and girls
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Modern Foreign Languages

Study French, German and/or Spanish and equip yourself with a life-long skill.

Head of Department: Mrs K L Wilkinson

Teaching Staff: Dr J Burns, Dr M Alderson, Miss L Hinde, Mrs C Eccleston, Mrs C Piñán


The teaching of languages at Durham School dates back at least to the school’s re-foundation in 1514 by Cardinal Langley, and beyond to the monastic school begun with the building of the Cathedral. Building on our history of teaching languages at Durham School, we hope to combine the best elements of the grammar-translation tradition with modern methodology to enable pupils to use the language accurately and effectively in everyday situations as well as to prepare pupils for university entrance.

We believe that:

  • every pupil can benefit from exposure to a modern foreign language and its culture;
  • every pupil can benefit from a knowledge of grammar;
  • every pupil can achieve his potential in a positive learning environment;

After Durham

As a consequence of the preparation the Department provides to its A level candidates, at least one Durham School pupil has proceeded to study a modern language, or a combined degree with a language, at university every year for the last twelve years. This fact is all the more significant when one considers the number of A level pupils taught by the Department, the size of Durham School and the increasing national trend away from Modern Languages at degree level. 


Now in my final year of a Languages degree in Chinese and German at Newcastle University, I cannot underestimate what a fantastic head start I enjoyed in the MFL department at Durham School. Throughout my five years at the school, I was supported, encouraged and challenged further when required; the language-learning skills, taught in such an engaging way, have stood me in good stead so far and will continue to do so throughout my career. 

Jack Deverson OD

You know all the teachers in the MFL department genuinely care about the success and enjoyment of their students. They make it enjoyable for all abilities and put in so much effort to ensure everybody reaches their potential. Above all their passion for the subject shines through and you can't help but feel it too. 

Pippa Heron O.D.

At A-level, I can honestly say that I receive vast amounts of encouragement, thanks to very-dedicated subject teachers and small teaching groups, allowing me to relish the challenge of studying two modern languages. Studying French and German allows you to dip into broad and diverse elements of language, culture and current affairs and my studies are certainly not confined to the lessons, which are made très dynamique, with debates, conversation and class participation. 

Ben O'Neill, Year 12
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