2. Courses

S1-S3 French and Spanish
All students from S1 to S3 have the opportunity to complete their Broad General Education in both French and Spanish. They study a combination of both languages, which ensures a sound basis on which to progress with both languages in the Senior Phase.

The French course which students follow is a lively, interactive course called Studio. This course allows pupils to develop their skills in Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening. Film studies, cookery projects, music and drama projects inject their learning with fun, as well as making lessons a meaningful experience.

The Spanish course, Mira, is an equally up-to-date and interactive course which enhances the four skills and allows pupils to broaden their knowledge of Spain and its many different customs and culture.

Both courses have built-in assessment and homework activities. Pupils are expected to revise vocabulary on a daily basis.

As St. Ninian’s hosts the East Dunbartonshire Confucius Hub, our pupils are privileged to learn Mandarin in S1 on a six week rotational basis. The course introduces students to the basic rudiments of the Mandarin language and focuses on essential vocabulary such as introductions, numbers, ordering food, etc. Pupils are also introduced to the rich cultural activities of China and learn skills such as paper cutting and calligraphy.

In S2, pupils can opt to continue with Mandarin as their main language. Next session will see our first group of pupils, who have studied Mandarin since S1, sit the National 5 exam. 

S6 Mandarin Students
As with previous years, Mandarin continues to be an option for senior pupils, who can study the language to National 4 level.

S4 French and Spanish
Pupils study their chosen language for four periods per week and cover topics such as Technology, Education and Health.  The Added Value Unit is completed by both National 4 and National 5 pupils and offers an interesting insight into the culture of the relevant language.  In S4 French, pupils study, Neuilly, sa mère, a humorous take on bourgeois life in Paris,  whilst those studying Spanish look at, Valentin, about a young boy growing up in 1960s Argentina.

The new course topics are relevant to young people and the authentic materials show the importance and relevance of learning at least one Modern Foreign Language in today's society.

S5 and S6 French and Spanish
In S5 we offer Higher French and Spanish and, have a history of excellent results.  The topics covered are developed further from those in S4, often tackling slightly more pertinent issues.  Whilst improving upon all four language skills, pupils are also considering many important global issues.  The real challenge is the final Talking performance which is dreaded by most yet carried out with an excellent level of proficiency.  Pupils work very hard to ensure their performance shows off how much they have progressed and achieved in their years of studying a foreign language.


Advanced Higher is also offered in both French and Spanish. This is a very demanding course and requires a great deal of focus and research by pupils in their own time. We are very pleased to note that all pupils show a great deal of commitment and work hard.  The level of language is complex and requires pupils to take full advantage of all resources available to them online and at home.  The topics are, again, all the more sophisticated and, at times, controversial.  The portfolio also offers the pupils the opportunity to consider a piece literature or film pertaining to social issues in French or Spanish speaking countries.  The nerve-wracking final talking exam is a twenty minute conversation with a visiting examiner.  Pupils prepare extremely well and usually leave the exam feeling relieved and an enormous sense of accomplishment.