At Vinehall we celebrate our Global Outlook.  We are curious about the whole world and aim to equip children with the linguistic skills and knowledge for travel, work and further study.  All our children begin learning French from Nursery upwards, with opportunities to add Spanish and Latin later in the prep school.


In Pre-Prep French this term, the children have been learning the names of food, including fruit.  They love singing in French and playing games to practise the new words.  J’aime les pommes, mmm!

Children in the Prep years develop their French through listening, speaking, reading and writing in class.  Grammar is developed and extended through varied learning activities and the children learn about life in France and other French-speaking countries, as well as expressing themselves.

We began Lent term with celebrations for “l’épiphanie: la fête des Rois”, when a special cake “la galette des Rois” is eaten.  It was wonderful to see all the photos of children cooking the French recipe for their prep, and to hear from parents about the delicious cooking.

Partner school and pen-pals

Year 6 and 7 children have been writing to pen-pals in France.  We have now exchanged two packs of letters with partners from Collège St Joseph, Brittany.  The French children write in English and Vinehall children write back in French.  It has been very interesting to find out about the partners’ interests and hobbies.  We sent each other Christmas cards and received some home-made festive decorations and drawings.  We hope to set up a live meeting online to actually speak to our French friends.

Onatti Theatre Productions – “The World’s Gone French!”

We are looking forward to a visit by Onatti Theatre Productions, who perform a play in French for the Prep children in the Chaplin Theatre.  I hope that it will be an entertaining and educational experience, which will boost confidence in listening and understanding.

Beginners French plays | onattiproductionsltd


Spanish is a popular option in Year 6 and the children are enjoying learning the phonics and vocabulary of a new language.  We follow a course which builds up grammatical knowledge logically and it is fun to express new ideas in Spanish.

The beginning of the Lent term has been focussed on Peru, as a Spanish-speaking country in another part of the world.  Spanish language learning is linked with the history and geography of Peru to discover a unique culture.

On Tuesday 25th January Year 6 were lucky enough to make a trip to The British Museum in London.  The Spanish class visited Peru: a journey in time | British Museum a fascinating exhibition including historic objects from the Moche, Chavin and Inca peoples.  The children were surprised by some of the items, such as the tiny golden llama which looked huge on the poster!

Families may be interested in some of the half term events:

Making masks: Peru | British Museum

Celebrating Peru | British Museum


Mr Gilsenan guided the Year 6 Latin class expertly around the Classical galleries at The British Museum.  The children were able to study Roman artefacts including statues, mosaics, everyday items and art work.  It was amazing to learn so much about life two thousand years ago.

Learning Latin gives us a greater understanding of European history and culture as well as Latin being the origin of many modern languages, including French, Spanish and English.

Spanish Club

Year 7 and 8 children requested a Spanish language club as an after-school activity, a wish I was delighted to grant, and they have made a very enthusiastic start.  We are lucky to be able to practise newly-learned phrases with our Spanish friends in the boarding house.

Poésiæ Competition Poem recitation competition | Poesiae

This term will include the launch, class rounds and school final of Poésiæ.  This is a global competition in poetry recital in foreign languages and artwork inspired by poetry.  It is open to school-aged pupils from Year 3 upwards around the world.  We will work on some of the French and Spanish poems in lessons and there is also a category for English as an additional language which our international boarders will be able to enter.

Year 6 children created their own version of a poem in French, inventing similes about colours for the days of the week.

Modern and ancient languages are certainly thriving at Vinehall.

Acorn Clayton

Head of Modern Foreign Languages