The Spanish Department has just finished another very successful academic year which has also been full of positive changes. I am very happy to announce the launch of a new subject in the Department for our Key Stage 3 pupils: Cultura Española. This new subject enables the pupils to deepen their knowledge about cultural features of both Spain and Latin American countries.

This year we have also introduced a new official examination for Key Stage 4 pupils: the Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) B2 Level examination awarded by the Instituto Cervantes. This is an internationally recognised qualification that complies with the European Framework for Languages. Our pupils have enjoyed the course and have performed successfully in the exams. We will continue to enter pupils for these diplomas in the coming years.

In September 2016 the new Spanish A Level was introduced. The transition from the previous A Level has taken place very smoothly during the first year of the two-year course. In September 2017 we will start to teach the second year of the A Level course and both pupils and teachers are looking forward to working with the new contents which are based on current affairs topics. The topics are highly interesting and also provide knowledge in order to better understand the world the pupils live in.

During the academic year the Spanish Department organised three trips for the VIth Form pupils. We watched two plays at the Fernando Fernán Gómez theatre in Plaza de Colón. The first one took place on the 26th October. We attended the play La Casa de Bernarda Alba, by Federico García Lorca (covered in the A Level syllabus). It was a unique and very enjoyable experience for our pupils. On the 29th March the Spanish Department attended the play Las Bicicletas son para el verano by Fernando Fernán Gómez, which is a firm favourite amongst our Year 13 pupils year after year. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the performance and it was a wonderful evening.

The third trip consisted of a visit to the centre of Madrid to see locations referenced in the book Las Bicicletas son para el Verano and also where the author lived, the area of Chamberí. We visited many representative places in the play where pupils read relevant extracts from the book. The pupils particularly enjoyed visiting the old Metro Station of Chamberí and learning that that station was regularly used for shelter during the Civil War. After visiting Chamberí we moved on to the area around Plaza de España, where the Cuartel de la Montaña used to be located. In Parque del Oeste, we visited a bunker and our pupils were surprised to see the Civil War frontline was so near the centre of Madrid. Finally, we visited the Cuartel General del Ejército del Aire, which used to be the Cárcel Modelo during the Civil War. This educational field trip allows the A Level pupils to immerse themselves in the locations and experience one of the works they will be examined on.

To conclude, I would like to thank all the members of the Spanish Department for their continued hard work and dedication: Ms Muñoz (who has been a thorough and dedicated Head of the Spanish Department during most of this academic year), Ms Bedoya (who did a fantastic job covering my maternity leave absence), Ms Pardo and Ms Ramos. Thank you for being the most supportive and hardworking colleagues.