Languages at Buckswood are about so much more than vocabulary. With native speaking teachers and an international student body, languages at Buckswood are about words, culture, food, people and understanding. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
All the young Bucks in the Junior School learn three languages, French, Spanish and Mandarin, and so a wider cultural awareness forms part of our DNA from the beginning and really makes our Buckswood graduates stand out from the crowd. Saturday mornings are dedicated to our International students learning their own language and we offer French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Cantonese, Japanese, Portuguese and Latin. Arabic, Farsi, Serbian and Hungarian at GCSE, IGCSE, AS, A2 and IB.
Our exam success is excellent, with 100% A* to C GCSE in every language except French which has a 93% A* to C pass rate, last year. At A level we had 100% A*-C grades for all our languages.
Our language lessons are supplemented by online language games and puzzles, which are popular with all our scholars; from the juniors to the most senior!
10-week, beginner courses in any of these languages for our 6th form students to supplement their UCAS applications really add the wow factor to our students who are all developing a rich and vibrant portfolio as they move through the school.
Practice Makes Perfect – Language Study Trips
Nothing develops language and confidence skills more than speaking the language and soaking up the culture you are studying first hand. At Buckswood the experience of travelling abroad and using the language skills taught, translates directly into scholars achieving stronger exam success.
The Modern Language Department runs two study trips to France for our junior scholars in the summer term and 2 week-long ‘language and culture immersion’ trips to both France and Spain for our KS4 and 5 scholars. Further afield, scholars embark on language and culture study trips to Hong Kong and mainland China, to excite and inspire our scholars to take Mandarin up to IB Diploma and A level.
Our Buckswood Language graduates have gone on to study MFL, or have combined their chosen languages with such varied courses as Business, Economics, Engineering, PR, International Relations, Linguistics, Journalism, Events Management and International Law.
Languages are fundamental to our international, multi-cultural ethos, here at Buckswood. We look forward to watching our young linguists go on to a variety of careers, proud in the knowledge that we have helped them on their way.
Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Every year in March, Buckswood School holds an ‘International Day’ which is a colourful celebration of the school’s cultural diversity and with over 420 students from 45 different nations, the afternoon is filled with sights, sounds, flavours and costumes from around the world. Throughout the rest of the year, the student body is one where everyone is equal and is part of the Buckswood family.
One recent Ofsted inspector said “Boarders say they do not experience or witness any form of racism. The governments of different nations may not get on, but at Buckswood the children do”. On International Day, however, national pride (evident in the costume, food and volume of singing!) is palpable!
The Buckswood Sports Hall is transformed into a world food market. Decorating stalls in national colours and flags, playing music, dressing in national costumes and selling traditional food from their countries, and pupils raise money for charity. This year’s chosen charity was the Good Shepherd Hospital in Swaziland, which the school visit every year to see the good work carried out there to help families devastated by AIDS.
The charity was chosen so that the students would get the opportunity to see first-hand the difference their efforts make when they visit Swaziland in the summer. This year’s event was the best ever, and through their efforts, the students raised £2000, which will be used to buy much needed equipment for the hospital.
International Day is always an enlightening event in every sense. For the rest of the year, we are one school and are blind to race, colour and background, but on International Day the school is a blaze of colour in celebration of our diversity. We have 200 local children who come in every day to study with 220 others from all round the world. They learn so much from each other and develop a truly global outlook and attitude towards the future. They see no borders, or barriers, only opportunities to branch out into the world.
International Day is also the only day of the academic year that the dining hall does not serve lunch, because students get to ‘taste their way around the world’ with delights such as Japanese sushi, Kazak cheese, German bratwurst and Latvian cake!