Derived from the language of the Ancient Romans, Italian is the language of art, food, and music. The opportunity of learning this beautiful and musical language is available to anyone in the Upper School with a desire to do so.
Italian is taught ab initio in Forms 6 and 7 at GCSE, A-level and in the International Baccalaureate. Students consistently gain top grades in all our courses, which is particularly impressive given that they start learning as absolute beginners. Our GCSE students predominantly attain A* in Italian after only a year of study – these grades are even achieved by students who have never previously considered themselves as being good at languages. We have also been given a Good Schools Award in recognition of our students’ achievements and our Value Added at IB is second to none.
We firmly believe in enabling our students to use Italian as quickly as possible and employ a wide variety of teaching methods and techniques to accomplish this. There is great emphasis on getting our students to speak and write in Italian from day one. Learning is inevitably accelerated and most of our students find that they have exceeded GCSE level after only 4–5 months of study.
To improve their spoken Italian, students currently enjoy conversation lessons with Dr Martino, an outstanding teacher with experience teaching Italian at the universities of Birmingham and Warwick.
In addition to the usual film nights, pizza evenings and cookery classes, we also run an Upper School Italian trip during the October half-term. We go to the small market town of Urbania, in the Marches. Urbania is small and friendly and gives the students an excellent opportunity to try out their Italian at the Italian School, in their host families, at language and cultural workshops and whilst on various excursions.
Inspired by their experience and success in the language at School, a number of our students regularly go on to study Italian at university.