Spanish

Find out more about studying Spanish at Westminster

Spanish

  • About
  • Curriculum
  • Enrichment
  • Staff
  • After Westminster
  • About

    Spanish is a invaluable international language, with over 550 million native speakers in 20 countries, including over 50 million in the USA. Scientists have found that fluency in more than one language improves your memory, enhances your intelligence, delays the onset of Alzheimer’s, and makes you much more marketable.  The Hispanic world, especially, has a dazzlingly diverse cultural heritage.  Whether you choose to read García Márquez’s incomparable magic realism, or Lorca’s ground-breaking theatre, Borges’s short stories or Neruda’s poetry, there is a wealth of literature to explore. Hispanic painters – Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Kahlo, and filmmakers – Buñuel, Almodóvar, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu among others – all add to the attraction of learning this largely phonetic, relatively straightforward and most useful of languages.

    Department Contact Mr Nick Hulme
    nick.hulme@westminster.org.uk
  • Curriculum
    Lower School

    Spanish is taught as an optional subject from the Lower Shell (Year 10). The CAIE IGCSE Spanish syllabus aims to offer insights into the culture of countries where Spanish is spoken. The examination tests all four skills (listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking and writing), and they are weighted evenly, all being worth 25% of the total mark.  The qualification is graded from 9 down to 1.

    Syllabus & Code
    CAIE IGCSE 7160 Spanish
    Upper School

    The Edexcel A Level syllabus covers the following main themes: the evolution of Spanish society; political and artistic culture in the Hispanic world; immigration through the ages; Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy.  The four language skills are tested in the traditional way, including translations into and out of the target language.  The speaking exam involves the preparation of an independent research project.  There is also the opportunity to study texts and films and write about them in Spanish.

    Syllabus & Code
    Edexcel A Level 9SP0 Spanish
    Sixth Form Entry
    Subject requirements for the course
    Grade 8 or 9 in Spanish (I)GCSE is required. We will consider applicants predicted on grade 7 or above and review the candidate’s individual merits and potential during the application process.

    Entrance Examination

    Candidates wishing to study Spanish in the Sixth Form should, ideally, be on track to achieve an 8 or 9 at IGCSE level, to cope effectively with the course's grammatical content. The main qualities required are, however, commitment and enthusiasm. The examination paper for new entrants is based on GCSE-type material, with which candidates should already be familiar; as such, no specific preparation is required.

    The test consists of three sections. The first is focused on grammar and requires a candidate to translate sentences, involving a variety of tenses and basic-level subjunctive and GCSE-level vocabulary, from English into Spanish. The second section is an essay of approximately 250-300 words in Spanish on a topic that a candidate should be able to relate to. The final section is an extension option, requiring a candidate to give a commentary in English on a Spanish literary text. Native or near-native speakers of Spanish are strongly encouraged to do this part of the test; regular candidates can attempt it in the knowledge that what they write will not count against them.

    Overseas Candidates
    There is no (I)GCSE requirement for those who attend schools overseas that do not prepare pupils for (I)GCSE examinations. Candidates will be considered for a place based on their performance in the School’s entrance examinations and a transcript of results from their current school.
  • Enrichment

    Opportunities to use Spanish in London abound.  The department organises regular trips to see plays, films, art exhibitions, and to dine in Spanish restaurants.  All pupils are invited on cultural and linguistic sojourns to Cuba and Spain during their two A Level years.  These are optional, but highly recommended.   

  • Staff

    * denotes Head of Department
    † denotes Housemaster

    Mrs Catalina Ángel Madrid (CAM) — Spanish Assistant
    Dr Sander Berg (SJB)
    Ms Gema Franco (GFC) — Head of International Pupils
    Mr Nick Hulme (NCH) — Head of Upper Shell; Head of Spanish  *
    Ms Clare Leech (CML) — Deputy Head (Academic)
    Mr Jorge Morollón de Andrés (JMA) — Spanish Assistant
    Dr John Witney (JCW)
  • After Westminster

    Spanish can be studied to a BA qualification, either single honours or joint honours, at virtually all the Russell Group universities in the UK. Most pupils combine it with either another language, another humanities subject (Classics, English or history, for example), Law or Business Studies. It can also form the basis of a course in Hispanic or Latin American Studies. Furthermore, if planning to study a Liberal Arts degree in the USA, Spanish is naturally the most useful and relevant language to choose.

"I have never had so much fun in lessons. I love the language and Spanish culture, and I look forward to our trips to Cuba and Salamanca!"

— Year 12 pupil

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