Spanish Department

The Spanish Department consists of a team of enthusiastic teachers who have a strong subject knowledge, and a passion for Hispanic culture, society and history. We use a communicative approach in our daily teaching and aim to foster a love for the foreign language in class, as well as emphasising the importance of strong grammatical foundations. All lessons are taught in Spanish and students are encouraged to communicate their ideas in Spanish from the beginning.

We use the latest Digital Literacy and Technology resources to make the students’ learning more interactive and up-to-date. In Key Stage 3, we undertake cross-curricular projects with other departments such as Drama or Ceramics, helping students to understand the importance of Spanish culture across a range of subjects, and equipping them with a more independent approach to their work.

Our GCSE course follows the AQA specification and we cover topics including family and personal relationships, traditions and festivals, social media and technology, healthy living, and global issues. Understanding grammatical structures, verb tenses and sentence construction is an integral part of our teaching, and each activity is carefully devised to support this. The girls have three lessons per week, one of which is dedicated to preparation for the oral examination. Students are encouraged to develop their language skills by using ‘Quizlet’ for vocabulary revision and interactive activities, which they can access by logging into their personal account with ActiveLearn. Other resources are also available to the girls on the School’s student network.

We continue with the AQA specification at A Level. The students study one piece of literature, which at present is ‘Como agua para chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel, and a film, ‘El laberinto del fauno’, by Guillermo del Toro. Girls regularly use ipads in lessons for listening and reading comprehension activities, and conducting independent research on current affairs in the Hispanic world. Online resources play an important part in their independent learning on a weekly basis.The Department has an excellent track record in examination results and has helped students to go on to study a range of language-based courses at prestigious universities.

To nurture a love of the language outside the classroom, we encourage students to borrow films and books available to them in the Department.  We also offer a bi-annual trip to Málaga, Spain, for Year 10 girls studying GCSE. Students stay in host families, attend Spanish lessons in the morning and take part in activities and visits in the afternoon.

Head of Department

Mrs Maria Criado

Maria is a native Spanish teacher from Madrid who studied Contemporary History at Universidad Complutense, where she also did her teaching training course. She completed her RSA CELTA in Eastbourne and worked as an ESOL teacher in Ciudad Real and Madrid for six years. After moving to the UK, she taught Spanish and French at the Ravensbourne School in Bromley, London, before joining Mayfield in 2002. During her time at the School, she has been a Spanish and French teacher, Middle School and Sixth Form tutor, and she has been Head of the Spanish Department for 12 years.