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Welcome to the German Department

With one full time member of staff, two other colleagues contributing at KS3 and a native speaker German assistant, the German department at Gordon's School is small but perfectly formed. Students study French, German and Spanish on rotation in Year 7 before making their choices to take forward to the end of Year 9 and beyond.

At KS3 we work from Echo Express and at KS4 we use the Nelson Thornes AQA approved GCSE German text book supplemented with Kerboodle and Vocab Express on-line support. Classes at AS and A2 are typically small but students benefit from much more individual attention and feedback. We follow the AQA syllabus. At A2 we study the film "Lola rennt" and the play "Andorra" by Max Frisch.

In recent years students have been to see Stephen Fry give a talk on languages in London, taken two trips to Cologne, been on various visits to and from the German School in Ham, Richmond and taken a four day joint trip to Berlin with a local primary school (Read more). We run taster lessons at the local primary school and the Head of German has been heavily involved in the design and delivery of Princes' Teaching Institute training for NQTs. We have just set up an e-mail exchange with a school near Stuttgart - the link coming from a former A-level student now enjoying her sandwich year at the school as their language assistant.

In terms of results, the German department was the best performing academic, timetabled subject at GCSE last year in terms of value add. This is even more impressive when you consider that these were the legacy students who had only had an hour a week in Year 8 and Year 9.

If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact the Head of German, Mr Simon Depoix:

League of Champions 2015

German Success in the Global Challenge!

Gordon's School entered the Vocab Express League of Champions competition, which ran from 30th
September to 6th October 2015. Vocab Express is a subscription web site linked to the GCSE exam
specification which helps students to learn vocabulary over the internet. The competition was open to
schools around the world and entrants included the German School in Bombay, the British School in Muscat
and the International School of Moscow! With only 48 pupils at KS4, Gordon's managed a very creditable
18th place in the Genius Cup for German. The Genius Cup counts the top 25 students from every school
and adds their points score together. In the Piccolo Cup (for schools with less than 150 subscribers) we
came 3rd in German. Our top individual student was Quentin Evason (Year 10) who amassed an impressive
6,000 points in one week. An honourable mention must go to Laura Parry (Year 11) who was a very close
second with 5,980 points! I would like to say thank you to all the students who took part and helped us to
achieve such a great result. Hopefully some of the vocabulary will also have stuck in their minds!

Click here to see the final results table

German Exchange

The German Exchange started in June 2014 and goes from strength the strength. We run it with the Lise-Meitner-Gymnasium in Königsbach-Stein in Baden-Württemberg after a former pupil completed her year as Language Assistant in 2012-13 and contacted me to see about starting an exchange. It is primarily for KS4 pupils but 6th formers are also welcome to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities an exchange provides.

The rhythm of the exchange is that pupils come from Germany at the end of June to sample the delights of Annual and Britain in the summer. We go there in December to sample the delights of the Christmas markets and Germany in the winter! From humble beginnings, we now run the exchange jointly with Woking High School and we hope this will continue for as long as possible.


Click here to see more photos from our German Exchange 2016

Exchange Visit to Germany - December 2014

On a cold morning in early December, 15 pupils and 2 members of staff met bleary-eyed on the Parade Square at 5am at the start of their long journey to our partner school the Lise-Meitner Gymnasium (LMG) in Königsbach-Stein in the state of Baden-Württemberg. 
We arrived early afternoon after negotiating our way from the airport to the school entirely by public transport. This was the first cultural difference for our pupils as this is something that would have been nigh-on impossible in the UK. We had just over a week with our partners and the students enjoyed spending 3 days in school, attending lessons (until lunchtime only of course!) before spending time with their partners and their families. We had 2 trips, one to Karlsruhe including the Museum of Modern Art, where Mr Depoix beat all comers at the “Pain-Station” game, and one to Heidelberg with its beautiful castle and Altstadt. We were also graciously received by the Bürgermeister (mayor) of Königsbach-Stein, who gave an extremely interesting talk about the working of the town hall and its role in the local community as well as providing some tasty Brezen (pretzels)! A journalist from the local newspaper came along and an article and photo duly appeared in the local paper a few days later. 
It being Christmas time there were of course many visits to the Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets). LMG have written an article for their website with a quote from Chloe Norman (Y12) regarding her experiences with Kinderpunsch (“It’s like Christmas in a cup”). Please see the following link if you’d like to read more: www.lmg. (article in German). Overall, the students gained a great deal from the trip and I hope that they stay in touch with their partners. 
Mr Depoix and Miss Amos were wonderfully looked after by our host teachers at LMG, Frau Seitz and Frau Wieland and I would like thank them “recht herzlich” for everything they did for us. We had an amazing time and saw and experienced so much. They were incredibly generous with their time and all of their colleagues helped to look after us, took us out for trips and generally made us feel so welcome. I must also thank the Head Master Herr Kröner, for allowing us to invade his school for a week. 
The link came about because of a former pupil Ellie Kutylowski, who studied German at Gordon’s to A2 and then at university. As part of her sandwich year, she worked as a language assistant at LMG and contacted me whilst there. Over the past couple of years, we have developed the exchange from a simple letter exchange into what it has become today. It was with great pleasure that I was finally able to take a group to Germany as this is something I have been trying to get off the ground for many years and I feel it is far richer experience linguistically than a simple trip. 
Finally, I must say a massive thank you to Miss Amos for giving up 8 days of her time to come on the trip. She was a wonderful support on the trip and I think she learnt quite a bit of German along the way! These are the things that I hope our students will look back on in years to come and remember with a smile. This is why we are in education. 
Herr Depoix

Vocab Express Challenge - September 2014

Click here to read about the 2014 Vocab Express Challenge

German Taster Day at Holy Trinity Primary School - 24th June 2014

Guten Tag!

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, Mr Depoix and Frau Werner, our German language assistant delivered German taster lessons to all 60 Year 6 pupils at Holy Trinity school as part of our on-going commitment to building up our links with schools locally and globally. This was actually only just over a week since the same pupils had been at Gordon’s learning Mandarin as part of their China Day experience, so they have certainly had a lot of exposure to foreign languages recently!

We began with a “did you know..?” section about all things German/Swiss/Austrian. Did you know for example that there are 100 million native German speakers in Europe? We then talked about Germany’s geographic location and which countries it shares a border with, some famous German-speaking people and some famous German/Swiss/Austrian landmarks, food and companies.

We then moved on to the lesson proper and the pupils learnt to greet each other (in four different ways), ask someone their name, to give their name, to ask someone how they are, to say how they are (with eight different responses) and to finally say goodbye. Thanks to Mr Depoix’s crazy mimes and actions to help pupils remember the sounds, all the pupils were able to have this six-part conversation by the end of the lesson. We finished with the classic children’s song “Schnappi das kleine Krokodil”, which always goes down well with children of all ages.

The lessons were extremely well received and many parents have since contacted me to say how much the pupils enjoyed the lessons. The fact that a few “Gummibären” may have been consumed as an example of German manufacturing prowess had obviously nothing to do with the positive evaluations.

Pupils had the option at the end of the lesson to complete a short comic strip for homework to demonstrate their learning and a couple of examples by Emily Porter and Leah Stroud (both 6D) are included below.

Danke und auf Wiedersehen!

Herr Depoix and Frau Werner