St. Annes College Grammar School


Italian at SACGS

“Una lingua diversa è una diversa visione della vita” – Federico Fellini.
(A different language is a different outlook on life.)

“Se si parla a qualcuno in una lingua che capisce, si va dritti al cervello. Se gli si parla nella sua lingua, si va dritti al cuore” – Nelson Mandella.
(If you speak to someone in a language they understand, you go straight to the brain; if you speak to them in their own language, you go straight to the heart.)

To be able to communicate effectively and meaningfully with someone requires a profound understanding of their view of the world. This is rooted in the languages that they speak and the cultures that they are familiar with.

The learning of a foreign language should be fun and provide an important intellectual challenge. The skills acquired in doing so are central to our pupils’ personal, cultural and social development; our pupils learn to engage with the Italian culture and to be confident, articulate linguists. Accuracy and precision are valued, and curiosity and independence are encouraged throughout.

Teaching and Learning strategies in Italian lessons at SACGS place equal emphasis on developing ability in each of the four language skill areas, namely: reading, writing, listening and speaking. This is currently reflected in the Examination Board’s marking of GCSEs. Lesson activities are exciting and varied and may include using a literary text for comprehension, extracting key details from listening texts, engaging in role-play or practising translation. Throughout their learning, pupils are strongly encouraged to recognise cognates, false-friends and to make links with other languages that they know, then to share this information with the class.

Italian is a beautiful language and it’s relatively easy to learn and pronounce, as so much English vocabulary comes from Latin, the most common ancestor of all the romance languages. It also complements other subjects, such as Art, Music, French and History.

Studying Italian at SACGS aims to:

  • demonstrate just how quickly and successfully students of all abilities and strengths can pick up and master a new language
  • give students an excellent knowledge and understanding of Italian grammar and vocabulary
  • enable students to learn independently using materials available at school and at home
  • give pupils an appreciation of Italian culture, including an introduction to Italian music, festivals, film, literature and customs
  • bring enjoyment and confidence in using the language, through regular educational Visits to Italian-speaking places
  • equip pupils with the skills needed to become effective language learners at any stage of their lives

Italian in Years 5, 6 and 7 (Key Stage 2 and beginning Key Stage 3)

Cool Kids Speak Italian Books 1, 2 and 3.

Pupils begin the ‘Cool Kids Speak Italian’ series of books in Year 5 of the Junior School. These are supplemented by a curriculum that includes many cultural awareness activities (such as festivals, customs and traditions) and an introduction to some of the themes and grammar that will be studied at GCSE Level, which begins in Year 8.

Year 5 and upwards are welcome to take part in our annual Italian or French visits, whereby they can have the opportunity to practise their newly acquired skills!

Italian in Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 (continuation of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4)

GCSE Italian Amici text book (2nd Edition)
GCSE (9-1) Italian: Practice Questions with Detailed Solutions
Amici: Workbook (2nd Edition)
I Come Italia: Nuova Edizione
The Amici text books are primarily used to support delivery of the new GCSE curriculum, which covers the following three themes, and on which pupils’ external examinations will be based:

  • Theme 1: Identity and Culture (e.g. Music, film, reading, fashion, internet including customs and festivals)
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas (e.g. Holidays, accommodation, eating, food and drink including global issues, such as environmental problems)
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment (e.g. Current and future study and employment, career choice and ambitions and looking for and getting a job)

Within each of the above themes, students engage in listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation activities. These tasks enable pupils to explore the communicative and linguistic structures of the language as well as gaining cultural awareness. The Amici text books are often supplemented by other materials for specific purposes. (e.g. PowerPoint presentations, Google and YouTube are regularly used in Italian lessons).
Pupils are also advised to purchase a good dictionary and grammar / verb reference book to assist with homework.

How Learners Are Assessed in Italian in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4

Students are continually assessed on their progress in listening, speaking, reading and writing in the target language, using a variety of forms of assessment (formative and summative) in-line with School Policy. Peer assessment in lessons plays an integral part in the work of the Modern Foreign Languages department.

In addition to this, as with all of their subject choices, SACGS pupils are expected to sit January examinations (mocks for Year 11s) and Summer end-of-year examinations in June.
We follow the AQA Examination Board for GCSE Italian: pupils are entered for Foundation or Higher Tier for each skill, and each skill is worth 25% of the overall final level.
The Speaking examination is carried out after February half-term, and Reading, Listening and Writing are assessed in individual exams at the end of the academic year.

Italian AQA GCSE Specification

For more information regarding GCSE Italian please contact Miss Welsby on

Please note that due to COVID-19, the Summer 2021 GCSE Italian examinations are unlikely to include a Speaking examination. It is also a current recommendation that speaking and singing activities in general are reduced in MFL lessons during the academic year 2020/2021.


To celebrate the end of the school academic year, the whole of our Senior School (together with our Year 6 pupils who will be moving up into our Senior School the following September) visit the Italian restaurant Tiggis in St Annes for a lovely lunch. This visit is always much anticipated by both staff and pupils alike, as they have the opportunity to practise their Italian and Tiggis never fail to provide us all with an Italian buffet lunch, consisting of a variety of delicious pizzas and pasta! 


European Day of Languages

On the 26th September each year, SACGS celebrate the European Day of Languages with a European assembly, followed by a Continental breakfast (croissants, brioche, pain au chocolat and pains aux raisins) for all of our pupils and staff. Following this, the MFL department usually organise a whole-school quiz about European countries and languages. 

Italian Classroom Assistant

Last academic year, our pupils benefited greatly from having Silvia, a native Italian language assistant in their Speaking classes. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and lockdown this year, we have been unable to repeat the experience this year, but we are hoping that we will be able to reinstate it again in the future.

Italian Visit to Sorrento July 2019

In July 2019, we took 16 pupils in Years 5 – 10 on a 4-day visit to Sorrento in Italy. We flew from Manchester to Naples and visited Herculaneum; Pompeii; learnt how to make pizzas in a restaurant in Sorrento; took the ferry to Capri and had a motor boat tour of the island, then took the funicular railway up to the piazzetta; visited Positano and Amalfi and swam in the sea and spoke lots of Italian! We cooled off at the end of each day with a swim in the hotel pool and ate lots of lovely Italian food – especially gelati, as the weather was so hot! Our pupils were wonderful ambassadors for our school and many comments were made referencing this, from members of the public. We’re very much looking forward to our next Italian visit – hopefully in 2021. 
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