Italian is offered as an optional second language from the UIV. We Italianists are proud to share our heritage and culture through our teaching. Italy is extremely diverse, politically and culturally, and has a uniquely rich artistic, classical, and historical past. Its contribution to music has been significant and influential through the centuries. Our aim is to impart and enthuse our students with the opportunity to sample these virtues through a creative, original and inspiring curriculum, encouraging students to develop lifelong communication skills which can be applied in a broad range of contexts.

Our team’s teaching and learning styles are characterized by use of the school’s language laboratories and well-maintained intranet through which students may choose to access all the major national newspapers and also watch multimedia channels for up-to-date daily news. We also offer a wide selection of suitably selected videos, songs, plays and historical documentaries to enhance linguistic and cultural awareness. The learning of grammar is made fun by numerous interactive language games that prove most popular with our students. Girls in all year groups receive Italian language periodicals that are tailored to their linguistic level. In addition, the library receives weekly copies of Espresso and Repubblica, which girls are encouraged to read. The library also stocks an extensive range of Italian texts and DVDs that are available for the girls to borrow. At the end of the VI, girls sit the CIE IGCSE, continuing to the Cambridge Pre-U, for which the CIE IGCSE is an excellent preparation. All exams test all four language skills. The year groups studying towards IGCSE and Pre-U enjoy one weekly lesson with our oral teacher. The Pre-U qualification is accessible to any student who has taken a language to IGCSE. In the VII the students deepen their grammatical knowledge and significantly extend their active vocabulary to explore issues touching on the position of the young person in society. They have to be able to offer opinions on relevant topics ranging from the positive and negative effects of popular trends to the environmental impact of mass tourism. From the summer of the VII they will embark on study of a literary work which they will write about in English.

The second year of Pre-U asks the student to consider their position as a member of the global society and interestingly, is one of the few senior school subjects which insists that students explore ethical issues, such as euthanasia, globalisation and nuclear energy in depth. The discursive essay prepares them well for many higher education courses which require such skills whilst the use of language paper hones their linguistic awareness and rigour. The cultural paper includes the essay in English mentioned above and a comparative study of two or more texts and/or films.

Trips and cultural opportunities

Alongside the course, we are committed to offering our students a first-hand experience of the language through study trips to Siena and Venice. Evening trips are arranged to the opera and the theatre is used as a resource to improve the level of understanding and communicating, as well as to deepen a girl’s appreciation of Italian culture and society.