Welcome to the first blog by Miss Holmes, Senior School Head of Languages,  from the NGHS Languages Faculty; we will be working alongside our language scholars, language staff and Foreign Language Assistants to bring you information and news about what has been going on throughout the year in the Languages Faculty.

Curriculum News

Building on our success at GCSE and A level, in September we introduced a new language qualification at Sixth Form, the Institute of Linguist’s qualification, ‘Certificate in Business German’, as part of the enrichment activities on offer.

Business German:

We are very pleased to introduce this new course into the Sixth Form. It is aimed at those wanting to continue or resume German, and is especially suitable for anyone with an eye on a career in Business. This is a real feature of our Sixth Form offer, and an excellent addition to our enrichment programme. We would encourage all students of German, past and present, to consider it as a Sixth Form option. It will certainly stand out on any CV!

Greek Enrichment:

Ancient Greek is an option for GCSE students as part of the enrichment programme and lessons run at the beginning and end of the day.

Elizabeth took Greek GCSE last year and this is what she has to say about the course:

“Greek is a seriously underrated activity from the enrichment programme. The structures you learn feed directly into any modern language you want to study, and it strengthens your overall understanding of how all languages work, even English! Learning a new alphabet is fascinating too, and it really feels like you’re decoding a message from thousands of years ago, hidden in the paragraphs written back then that we still have. On top of all this, there are tons of fun myths of kings and magical beasts to translate – by far my favourite GCSE!”

Language Option Choices for Year 7:

After Christmas, Year 7 will be asked to choose which modern foreign language they would like to study from a choice of French, German and Spanish. More information will follow for parents. There will be Spanish taster lessons and an assembly about how to make language choices for the girls.

Year 11 Linguists:

We would like to say congratulations to our Year 11 linguists on the way they approached their mock oral examinations. We were very impressed with how prepared and calm the girls were, in particular for their chosen theme. Our advice is to keep practising and take every opportunity to speak in the target language in your conversation classes. We would like to wish you all every success in your forthcoming mock examinations in January.

TEFL Course for Year 12 and 13:

We are currently looking to hold a two day intensive TEFL Course for interested Sixth Formers at the end of the summer term. The provisional dates are 27 and 28 June 2019. The course will be run by qualified trainers and will include valuable teaching techniques as well as tips for finding work abroad. More information about the course can be found at: www.uk-tefl.com

The cost of the training is £175.00 per student and upon completion of the course, students will be certified to teach English as a Foreign Language abroad or privately in the UK. If you haven’t already expressed your interest in this course, please contact Miss Holmes as soon as possible about availability of places.

Languages Faculty – Trips Abroad

During October half term, there were two school trips abroad organised by the Languages Faculty:

Review of Italy Trip 2018:

A group of 38 students visited Italy. Based in Sorrento and then Rome, we packed as many Roman and Christian sites as we could into the week. Sadly, Caecilius’ house was closed, but, based in Sorrento, we were able to explore the rest of Pompeii and Herculaneum, visited the Roman villa at Stabiae, and spent some time in the Archaeological Museum in Naples and saw the Roman streets buried beneath the modern town. In Rome, we saw the main sites by night from the bus, and explored many of them on foot the next day. Our day at the Vatican proved challenging, with the busy tube journey, the crowds in the Sistine Chapel, and climb to the top of St Peter’s dome. Dinner by the bay in Sorrento, the Renaissance Villa d’Este with its fountains, and the Catacombs were some of the other highlights.

’The highlight of the trip was the spectacular view from the top of St. Peter’s church.  We could see the whole of The Vatican City from above and most of Rome.  The whole trip was so fun and the iconic sites were truly eye opening.’’ Hannah.

Berlin Trip:

Franz von Suppe an Austrian composer once said, “Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du musst nach Berlin.” This translates as, “You are crazy my child, you must go to Berlin.” So, during October half term, Miss Bourachot, Mrs Lowden and I took a crazy group of NGHS German students to Berlin. Berlin is an incredible city and I never tire of it. In the words of the singer Marlene Dietrich, “Ich hab’ noch ein Koffer in Berlin.” (I still keep a suitcase in Berlin).

In addition to Anvitha’s recent blog about the Berlin trip, here are some more reactions from the girls who took part:

“The recent trip to Berlin was above all my expectations. It was the perfect mixtures of poignant, historical museums, a wider understanding of German culture and many opportunities to laugh with friends. I will never forget this special trip.”

“Our recent trip to Berlin was not only a chance to visit historical places and experience traditional German culture but also spend time with friends in such an exciting city.”

“Ich habe es besonders genossen, den Reichstagkuppel hinaufzugehen, da ich zum Sonnenuntergang ganz Berlin sehen konnte.”– (I really enjoyed going up the Reichstag Dome, as I could see the whole of Berlin at sunset.)

“I loved the trip to Berlin, it was one of the highlights of my year. It was the perfect blend of history and entertainment. I really learned a lot about how Germany built itself to where it is today. I loved seeing the Reichstag because it is a symbolic representation of democracy. All in all, the trip was inspiring and I made long lasting memories.”

“Es war bestimmt eine lohnende Erfahrung für mich.” – (It was definitely a worthwhile experience for me.)

“Berlin was an amazing experience! It has so much history and culture and it was really beneficial to be immersed in that. The trip was really relevant to what we learn in school and the museums were so interesting. I really enjoyed the trip to the Reichstag, as it was so beautiful and unique as well as the river cruise, which showed us all of the city. What’s really great about Berlin is that it has so much to offer, such as the free museums, exhibitions, restaurants and shops with good value transport too.”

Christmas Markets Trip:

Mr Tracey and Mrs Terry are currently out with a group of Year 9 and 10 students on an amazing trip to the German Christmas markets. We will be reporting back on the girls’ experiences in our next blog.  Viel Spaβ!

Junior School Links

This term we have continued to work with the Junior School through a variety of events and in addition, Mrs Terry and I are delighted to be teaching Year 5 French weekly in the Senior School. The girls have truly impressed us with their enthusiasm and excellent recall of vocabulary.

European Day of Languages:

On 26 September we were thrilled to invite Years 5 and 6 to our Junior Language Day to celebrate the European Day of Languages. The Language staff, Foreign Language Assistants and scholars organised an excellent variety of activities from making crêpes, learning German directions in Upnah Wood, Flamenco dancing to taster sessions in Dutch, Welsh and Italian, delivered by our Senior School students. It was such good fun and we all admired the wonderful table decorations and costumes the girls had created.


On 16 November the German department celebrated the German national Read Out Loud Day  ‘Vorlesetag’. Our German scholars, assisted by Monika (our German assistant) and our German teaching staff organised a workshop of activities, including reading the wonderful story ‘Gute Nacht Gorilla’, learning facts about Germany and learning the words to sing along to  ‘Zehn im Bett’ – (There were 10 in the bed.)


On 6 December our German ambassadors, accompanied by Monika, ran an assembly for the whole of the Junior School to talk about how Christmas is celebrated in Germany, and the whole school learnt a German song and looked at the beautiful German wooden decorations.

Senior School Events

Juvenes Translatores Competition:

We were thrilled to be selected to take part in the Juvenes Translatores competition again this year. Elizabeth, Isabella, Elisabeth, Georgia and Shaarika took on the challenge of representing our school in French, German and Spanish by translating a text about Cultural Heritage from the target language into English under timed conditions, and competing against 28 other countries. The results of the competition will be released by the European Commission in the Spring – watch this space!

Weidemann Lecture:

On 14 November we were privileged once again to be able to host the Nottingham Classical Association’s annual Wiedemann lecture in The Space. A mixed group of pupils and parents, university students and lecturers, U3A members and visitors, and the Wiedemann family attended a talk on ‘What was it like to be a Greek slave?’ Greek slaves had no voice of their own, and the lecturer, Professor Tim Whitmarsh, AG Levantis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge, chose to focus on the portrayal of slaves in several Greek novels from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, an approach new to me. It is good to be involved in an event like this which clearly shows how much interest there is in the Classics in the wider community.

EMACT Latin Reading Competition:

Our Year 13 students, Esme and Tess, have been competing in the Latin and Greek Reading competitions since Year 7 and, therefore, were the perfect coaches for our Year 7 novices in this year’s competition at Leicester University. We asked them to explain further:

“Looking back at our time at NGHS, one event that has played a big role in our lives as part of the languages department is the EMACT Latin and Greek reading competition. Held every year, it is a fantastic opportunity for students, from Year 7 to Year 13, to learn about and celebrate the wonderful world of Classics. For us, the competition has presented a chance to gain confidence in public speaking, improve our knowledge of Latin language and literature (with the help of expert judges), meet new people (notably Caroline Lawrence, the author of The Roman Mysteries) and of course, to attire ourselves in togas and fake beards. This year, as well as taking part ourselves, we have been lucky enough to mentor two fantastic groups of Year 7s and 8s, who we hope will carry on this wonderful tradition in the years to come, keeping Latin alive forever.”


Art to Artefact Competition – by Hannah, Year 10:

The Art to Artefact competition aims to inspire young people to produce either a piece of art, 2D, a model or piece of poetry based on an artefact.  Last year a number of NGHS Latin students entered and did really well with some girls receiving highly commended awards, including our group entry. We submitted a papier-mâché model of a dog, inspired by the cast of a dog found in Pompeii from the volcanic eruption.  The award ceremony, held in Leicester, was interesting and showed the huge variety of entries, including some from abroad.  It was great to be a part of the competition and our model featured in the book of entries.


Classics Club:

In order to combat the stereotypes surrounding Classics, including the preconceptions of Latin and Greek as being obsolete and elitist, the Year 13 Latin group (with the help of the wonderful Dr Henshaw) have started Classics Club as a way to introduce the younger years to these subjects in a fun and engaging way. By organising activities ranging from Ancient Greek code-cracking to Roman baking, we hope to let the pupils know that Classics is for everyone.

Spanish Competition:

A number of A level Spanish students are competing in a Spanish Translation Competition run by Manchester Metropolitan University.  For the competition they are translating a short children’s story into English.

Forthcoming Events:

  • 15 January: We will be hosting a whole day event called ‘All the World’s Your Stage’ for local Sixth Form linguists in The Space to write and perform plays on topical themes in the target language.
  • 1 February: Onatti Spanish theatre group performance for Year 9.
  • 6 February: EMACT Sixth Form Study Day at NHS.
  • 8 February: Year 12 theatre visit to see a production of the play that they will study in Year 13, La Casa de Bernarda Alba written by Federico Garcia Lorca.
  • 15 February: Year 10/11 Classics trip to Bath.
  • 1 March: Onatti French theatre group performance for Year 9.
  • 6 March: Onatti German theatre group performance for Year 9.
  • 14 March: We will be hosting an all day event ‘International Flair for fashion’ for GCSE linguists in cooperation with BLC (Business Language Champions).

Scholar news:

We are delighted to have such a talented and passionate group of Language scholars to support us in promoting languages within the school and assisting us with events and activities.

This term, Imogen has supported numerous language events in both the Senior and Junior School. Here is what she has to say about what languages mean to her:

Language Staff News:

We have been delighted to be joined by Patricia this year who is currently covering our Spanish foreign language assistant Maria’s maternity leave. Here are her views on working as an assistant in our school:

“After being involved with the school for the last ten years as a parent of three girls who attend the school, I am on the other side of things. Since September I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic team.

The Year 11, 12 and 13 girls are a pleasure to teach, always ready to learn something new about the language and Spanish culture. I particularly enjoyed our Language day where I have to teach Year 5s flamenco, they were all very engaged and we had some good moves! Weeks have passed so fast that I can hardly believe we are nearly at Christmas. Monika, Natacha and I had a good time exchanging ideas about the Christmas decorations for the Language Department Board, hopefully everyone will learn about the different ways we celebrate Christmas in Spain, France and Germany.

I am very grateful to you all as you have made me very welcome.”



We are sorry to say goodbye to Miss Hannah at the end of term. Miss Hannah has taught Spanish and French here for just over three years. We would like to thank her for her hard work and wish her every future success in her new job.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at NGHS in the Languages department and feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many enthusiastic and talented linguists. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both the pupils and staff of NGHS for making my time here so enjoyable and to wish them all the best for the future.” Miss Hannah.


We will be joined by Señora  Blasco- Alma in January. She is a very enthusiastic, experienced Spanish teacher and is very excited about starting at NGHS.

Our favourite phrases and vocabulary in different languages:

Mrs Terry’s favourite phrase is “Quelle horreur!”

Ashpreet’s favourite Latin word is “eheu”– ‘Alas!’

Alejandra’s favourite Spanish phrase is  “¿Qué tiene que ver el tocino con la velocidad?”– which translates as ‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

Year 9 German group unanimously agree that their favourite German word is “Quatsch!”– ‘rubbish!’

Do you have a favourite word or phrase in another language? If so, let us know and we can share it in our next blog post!