Die Sprache verkleidet den Gedanken.Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Austrian-British philosopher

Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiss nichts von seiner eigenen.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German writer

The second most widely spoken language in Europe, German is an excellent choice of language to study. In a post-Brexit world, the need for intercultural understanding is urgent and clear. Understanding the language that other people use is key to understanding the motivation of those on the international stage.

In addition to being a useful language in the world of business technology and engineering – Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world – German is also the medium through which some of the greatest works of music, literature and science have been created.

German is taught in a dynamic and engaging way throughout the School. While pair work, group work, and teacher-led activities are the mainstay of languages classes, lesson styles and resources are diverse. Students immerse themselves not only in the German language but also in the culture of the country. Alongside the subject-specific skills such as an appreciation of grammar and of cultural norms, students gain broader abilities, such as confidence in public speaking. They also develop the ability to see things with a global perspective, understanding what it is to be German through, by example, exploring the differences between English and German customs. 

To enhance our pupils’ cultural and linguistic knowledge beyond the classroom, we run a lower school trip to the Christmas Markets in Lüneburg and Hamburg and in Forms 3 & 4 there is an exchange programme with the Werner Heisenberg Gymnasium in Weinheim, Germany.

Phillipa Sykes

Phillipa Sykes

Head of German

I joined the Languages Department as Head of German in September 2017 from Churcher’s College in Hampshire, where I taught German and French and coached an U12 netball team. Prior to that I taught at Exeter School and King’s College, Taunton. My love of German stems from the summers I spent with a German family in a small town near Hannover. This gave me a real insight into the language and culture of Germany. I then went on to work as an au pair near Frankfurt before studying German and Swedish at university.Prior to taking up a career in teaching, I worked for Bosch in Stuttgart and for the British Consulate. I was in Berlin the year the Berlin Wall came down and also spent a year working in Sweden and then Munich. I still travel regularly to Germany; it is an amazing country with so many hidden gems and a rich language and literature. I love teaching German and try to bring the language to life be it through music, food, literature or film. In my free time I enjoy cycling, swimming, the outdoors and spending time with my family.