Modern Foreign Languages

The Modern Foreign Language (MFL) department endeavours to foster a lifelong love of languages in all boys through a variety of media and resources, and across the full range of skills.

We offer French, German, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and aim to educate well-rounded and internationally-minded students who will go on to be confident speakers, achieving excellent exam results. We would hope that boys of all levels will find their challenge, be that surviving capably in a foreign country or, at the higher level, go on to pursue their love of languages at university. We can be proud that a good number of our students choose to study a language at university and we have a well-established Oxbridge preparation programme.


The faculty boasts a well-stocked library which we constantly seek to update as well as a modern digital language lab. The department is based on one floor in the main school building. All MFL staff are expert teachers with a good number of years of international experience between them, covering France, Germany, Austria, Spain and China. Every year we also have a language assistant in the three main languages who are routinely top graduates from their respective countries.

Enrichment Opportunities

Here at school, boys have the opportunity to experience language first-hand through plays, trips, exchanges, the annual Festival of Languages, to name just a few. These all provide a linguistic experience that is hard to rival. Add to those the European Commission Translation Competition, the Languages Olympiad and visits by speakers from UCL and there is plenty for all boys to be involved in.

Our French, German and Hispanic Societies meet regularly in conjunction with Bedford Girls’ School. In recent years, boys have had the opportunity to interact with other schools and university lecturers through video-conferencing. This year a group of boys travelled to Montpellier for a French course hosted in families which we hope will become an annual trip. A trip to a Spanish city is offered every year, during which boys get a chance to spend time in a school and interact with students of their own age, as well as exploring the Spanish culture. This year we head for Seville. We also offer a German exchange with Bamberg alongside other local schools.


The Classics Department aims to foster an active interest and enjoyment in studying the classical world in every pupil. Indeed, the department exists to encourage the learning of Latin, Classical Civilisation and Greek at all ages in the school, and to give boys the opportunity to learn about the culture, history, literature, mythology, beliefs and languages of the ancient world.

The department adopts an approach which combines traditional rigour with a friendly atmosphere which assists effective teaching and learning. The department makes full use of an interactive whiteboard facility to teach language, literature and civilisation, and encourages boys to make the fullest possible constructive use of ICT in their learning. Above all, the department is determined to ensure that each student sets challenging and realistic academic targets for himself and reaches them.  

It also encourages the boys to consider Classics within the context of the wider curriculum, gives students the tools to think critically about language, literature and human society, and explores the classical world’s social, literary, political and cultural influences on the contemporary world. All pupils are encouraged to consider and reflect upon the links that can be made between the ancient world and the contemporary society in which they live.

Enrichment Opportunities

The Classical Society
A regular informal gathering for all boys in the Upper School who possess an interest in the Classical world and would like to know more. Our mission is to foster and develop pupils’ individual interests by supporting and extending their learning outside normal lesson time. Pupils can also work together to publish our online magazine, VIM, to which all pupils in the school can contribute articles and submit competition entries. Recent links have been forged with other Harpur Trust schools in order to develop a whole Trust group dedicated to learning more about the classical world. Quizzes, debates, film nights are all on the agenda.     

Classical Greek Workshop 
An activity aimed at all boys in the Upper School who wish to learn Classical Greek from scratch, with a view to taking GCSE Greek in the future.

The Latin Clinic 
A weekly language clinic designed to assist all pupils in the Upper School with their Latin learning.

The Classical Civilisation Clinic
A weekly clinic designed to assist all pupils in the Upper School with their Classical Civilisation learning.

Oxbridge and Tertiary Classics Preparation
A Classics enrichment session for all boys in Upper and Lower Sixth who are considering either applying to Oxbridge or to any university for a Classics related course. Boys will be pushed beyond the confines of the curriculum by looking at the wider classical world and studying how to translate English into Latin. Guest experts on the Oxbridge process and former pupils also come and work with the boys in school, as appropriate.

Trips, Visits and Co-curricular activities:
We arrange a wide variety of trips and visits for boys. In recent years, these have included tours of Sorrento and Pompeii, Rome and Tunisia; visits to the British Museum, Cambridge Archaeology Museum and Fishbourne Roman Villa; as well as Classical Drama Trips, Sovereign Sixth Form Study Days and Oxbridge Open Days.