Working together to create new specifications

By Sadaf Najib
Published 07 November 2023

We know that the specification lives and breathes in classrooms where you seek to develop linguistic skills and spark a love of languages in your learners. It’s for this reason that our new GCSEs were developed with input from teachers and learners from the very start. We wanted to develop specifications that would help motivate learners to succeed, broaden their horizons and inspire them to be curious about other cultures and communities.

Themes and topics

The themes and topics of the new GCSEs are the vehicle through which the vocabulary and grammar is taught. There were over 1,000 teachers, alongside KS4 students, who contributed to the development of our themes and topics. From this came two new topics, ‘Celebrity culture’ and ‘Places of interest’, which provide opportunities for incorporating authentic resources and building cultural capital in the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) classroom.

Developed with input from teachers and learners

Teachers were consulted on different options for our assessment model and then, once we had produced our first draft of sample materials, we travelled all over the country to gather further teacher feedback. This gave us invaluable insight into your views on what would work for your students and perhaps more importantly, what wouldn’t. We also trialled our draft materials from different contexts with students, to review how the tasks perform in practice and made adjustments in light of these trials.  Our focus throughout has been to do everything we can to improve the student experience and ensure they have a positive attitude towards language learning.


Sadaf Najib

Sadaf Najib

About the author

Sadaf Najib is Curriculum Support Manager for Languages at AQA. She has extensive experience in language education. In her previous roles as Head of Department and National Lead Practitioner, she supported teachers across multiple schools in their language teaching.

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