Whatever plans you may have for the future, knowledge of German will increase your options. When you learn German you acquire a range of skills which can improve your career opportunities as well as helping you to enjoy culture and travel more fully.

In St Columb’s College we aim to make learning German easy and fun, giving pupils confidence in their ability to acquire a new language.  In junior classes we aim to inspire an interest in the sounds and structure of the language, using quizzes and interactive activities to promote vocabulary learning.  This is supported by a wide range of online resources and an iBook to support the learning from textbooks and notes.

At GCSE-level the focus is on developing the knowledge and skills acquired at KS3 and preparing for external examinations. For GCSE-level we currently follow the AQA specification 4665. During their studies at GCSE and at A-level students work with our German assistant, who takes small groups for conversation classes in preparation for the speaking tests. A relatively high proportion of pupils choose to continue their study of the subject at AS and A-level, following the CCEA specification, where they tend to achieve very good grades.  Examination results in German both at GCSE and at AS and A-Level are consistently above average.

The German department is well known for its many links, study trips and exchanges throughout the years:

Year 8 students start by linking with partners in Helene-Lange Gymnasium in Nuremberg via e-mail and skype.

Year 9 students have the opportunity to visit Koblenz and the Rhineland region every year in September. 

Year 10 students may sign up to a week in Munich, taking in all the sights as well as paying a visit to our partner school Carl-Orff Gymnasium in Unterschleissheim.

Year 12 students are invited to participate in an exchange with our partner school IGS Langenhagen just outside Hanover,  where they have the unique opportunity to complete a three-day work placement with a German company/work place. Placements are usually suited to the interests of the individual student and are as varied as following a politician, doing chairity work for UNICEF, working in a fitness studio, an engineering company, the police service, the local newspaper, a pharmacy and much more.  Placements can be in small local companies or with big international firms such as MTU aero engineering and Sennheiser.

A-level students may take part in an exchange with our partner school Emmy-Noether Gymnasium in Berlin and get to experience life in Germany’s capital city. Many of the above exchanges have attracted funding from European agencies and involve collaboration between schools and students.  The benefits are both financial as well as educational and personal as students engage in meaningful project work on topics that are relevant to their lives.

Studying languages gives our students the skills that are necessary to compete in the global market. There are over 100 million native speakers of German in Europe, about 20% of the EU. Germany offers many opportunities for study and work with a range of scholarship programmes. Students can opt for courses in German in combination with a degree in Science/ I.C.T./Law/Business Studies/Arts to enhance their employability. Increasingly, employers prefer linguists because of their transferable qualities, i.e. their communication/personal skills.