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If you speak Spanish, you can communicate with almost 500 million people worldwide! Think how many more employment options that gives you! And if you want to take a trip to Spain or Latin America, a little knowledge of Spanish will go a long way.

Spanish is the world's third most spoken language, after Mandarin Chinese and English, and ranks second in terms of native speakers.

At St. Malachy’s College, Year 8 pupils choose between studying Spanish and Irish.  Spanish is a very successful language at St. Malachy’s College with over 500 pupils studying it across the school.  It has a simple sound system with just five vowel sounds. There is a direct correspondence between spoken and written forms and the basic points of grammar are quite simple.

The Spanish department is formed by 2 energetic full-time teachers, one part-time and one Spanish language assistant.  Pupils at Key Stage 3 have 5 periods (50 minutes) of contact time over the two week timetable.  Those studying Spanish for GCSE have 2 ½ hours every week and those at A-level have 4 ½ hours of study per week plus 1 more hour of conversation practice with the language assistant.


Dr J Thompson (Head of Department)

Mrs C Devlin





  • Bi-annual Spanish trip (Click here to see photos) for Key Stage 3 and 4

  • Bi-annual Spanish trip, including a home stay with Spanish families, for A level pupils

  • A-Level Spanish literature, theatre and cinema courses at Queen’s

  • Participation in competitions organised by, for example, the Spanish Embassy and NICILT

  • Celebration of the European Day of Languages (26th of Sept.) with activities related to Spain (music, food, films, etc.)

  • Lunchtime support classes

1. To enable all pupils to acquire the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing required for oral and written communication in Spanish.

2. To impart a thorough knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary of Spanish.

3. To create for each pupil a positive and enjoyable language-acquisition experience.

4. To foster in the pupils an interest in Spain and an appreciation of its importance in the world.

5. To offer insights into and to encourage appreciation of the culture and civilisation of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries by:

  • The use of authentic materials in class.

  • Extra-curricular activities, clubs, etc.

  • Providing opportunities for foreign travel.

6. To encourage tolerance towards other people and customs.

7. To contribute to the pupils’ linguistic development which will:

  • increase their understanding of their own language.

  • facilitate learning of other languages.

8. To develop in the pupils qualities of self-confidence, initiative, team-work, cooperation, tolerance, sensitivity, creativity and imagination.

9. To contribute to the overall intellectual and emotional development of each pupil.


"If you speak Spanish, you can communicate with almost 500 million people worldwide!"

Stay app to date: useful apps and websites


  • Quizlet (, and search for ‘StMalachysSpanish’: feee app and website to study and learn vocabulary


  • Duolingo ( free app and website to learn Spanish (and other languages) in a computer game style

  • Duolingo Spanish Podcast: free podcast to develop listening skills in Spanish

  • Conjugation Nation (Spanish): paid app to revise verb formation


Context 1 – Identity, Lifestyle and Culture: Students’ lives, families, homes and interests, and those of others in Spanish-speaking communities and countries. Topics of focus are:

  • Myself, my family, relationships and choices

  • Social media and new technology

  • Free time, leisure and daily routine

  • Culture, customs, festivals and celebrations


Context 2 – Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest: Students’ lifestyles and attitudes to environmental, social and global issues, and those of others in Spanish-speaking communities and countries. Topics of focus are:

  • My local area and the wider environment

  • Community involvement

  • Social and global issues

  • Travel and tourism


Context 3 – School Life, Studies and the World of Work: Education and employment issues in students’ own country or community and in Spanish-speaking communities and countries. Topics of focus are:

  • My studies and school life

  • Extra-curricular activities

  • Part-time jobs and money management

  • Future plans and career


  1. Revised GCSE assessment structure:


 Content                       Assessment                                                                                      Weighting


Unit 1 Listening           One externally assessed written paper,  consisting of                         25%                                                twelve questions. Available at Foundation or Higher tier.

Unit 2 Speaking          One teacher-facilitated and externally marked examination,            25%

                                        consisting of two role-plays and one general conversation.


Unit 3 Reading            One externally assessed written paper, consisting of twelve              25%

                                        questions. Available at Foundation or Higher tier.


Unit 4 Writing             One externally assessed written paper, consisting of four                  25%

                                        questions. Available at Foundation or Higher tier.



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