Spanish GCSE

Spanish GCSE

Develop Spanish language skills to communicate in a variety of situations, including the workplace. As your language skills develop, you will also explore aspects of Hispanic culture and its traditions and festivals.

Why St Mary’s

Inspired by subject-specialist teachers, who are passionate about Spanish language and culture, you will learn in a creative environment, with access to all the technology and resources you need to enrich your language skills.

Taught through engaging topics, Spanish GCSE will enable you to develop the skills you need to communicate effectively in a range of situations, including in the workplace and when travelling overseas. It will also give you an insight into Hispanic culture, including traditions and festivals.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Competitions during Languages Week
  • Performances and exhibitions at Cambridge theatres, cinemas and museums
  • Debating competition in Cambridge
  • Spanish film club
  • Trips and an opportunity for work experience abroad
  • Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation
  • Our weekly drop-in lunchtime surgeries offer additional 1:1 support

Course overview

The syllabus content is organised around five themes:

  • My personal world
  • Lifestyle and wellbeing
  • My neighbourhood
  • Media and technology
  • Studying and my future
  • Travel and tourism

All students take the following four examinations:

  • Paper 1 Speaking in Spanish
  • Paper 2 Listening and understanding in Spanish
  • Paper 3 Reading and understanding in Spanish
  • Paper 4 Writing in Spanish


The structure of the examination is as follows:

  • Paper 1 Speaking: Students are assessed on their ability to communicate and interact effectively through speaking Spanish. The assessment covers three core tasks: a read aloud task, role play, and a picture-based task with conversation.
  • Paper 2 Listening: Students are assessed on their understanding of spoken Spanish, and their ability to transcribe spoken Spanish into written Spanish. Foundation Tier assessment is 45 minutes and Higher Tier assessment is 60 minutes.
  • Paper 3 Reading: Students are assessed on their understanding of written Spanish across a range of different text types, including advertisements, emails, letters, articles and literary texts. Foundation Tier assessment is 45 minutes. Higher Tier assessment is 1 hour.
  • Paper 4 Writing: Students produce various responses of varying lengths to express facts, opinions and ideas in Spanish. Foundation Tier assessment is 1 hour and 10 minutes. Higher Tier assessment is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The listening, reading and writing skills are assessed at the end of Year 11 as external examinations. The speaking skills are assessed in the Summer Term of Year 11. There is no controlled assessment in this subject.

At a glance
  • Four assessments
  • 5-day Spanish trip (optional)
  • Small class sizes
  • In-depth, personalised support
You will enjoy this course if you ...
  • Have good attention to detail
  • Like thinking analytically
  • Are keen to discuss topical issues
  • Are interested in Hispanic language and culture

What our teachers say...

"At St Mary’s, we are all passionate about communication and culture. Each member of the Spanish department has their own specific area of interest, such as gastronomy, music, dance, politics, sport and art. I personally decided to teach Spanish because I love to know what is happening around me in different countries! I find it frustrating to not be able to listen in to conversations, or read books and newspapers, or understand directions, in an unfamiliar language. The great thing about speaking Spanish is that it is helpful in so many different countries around the world.”

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.Nelson Mandela

Language opens up communication and understanding between different countries – and from that comes collaboration. From facilitating international research, business projects or policies, the future relies on us working across borders to build a better world.

By understanding different cultures, we can build better international relations, built on mutual respect.

Former St Mary's students have gone on to leading universities to study Spanish alongside history and other foreign languages, including German, Catalan and Russian. A Level Spanish also covers a rich cultural history and therefore connects this subject with arts-based and history degrees.

Spanish is the second most widely-spoken language in the world with over 400 million speakers, therefore it opens up numerous academic and career opportunities, plus it is a great skill to have if you would like to travel and work abroad.

Graduates in Spanish enter diverse careers including: translation, education, tourism, marketing, business and diplomacy.

Our results

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Beyond St Mary's

Our Senior School students go on to pursue exciting futures.

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