Modern Languages Department

Welcome to Dalkeith High School’s Modern Languages Department section of the website!

Click here to see more information about Courses and Career Opportunities.

FRENCH-LOGOClick here for French Homework

SPANISH-LOGOClick here for Spanish Homework



Mr Valdera (PT); Miss Guesnier; Miss Maupetit; Mrs Hunter.

In Dalkeith High School every student will study French and Spanish during their Broad General Education Phase at DHS, taking cognisance of  the Scottish Government recommendation and 1 +2 policy, which follows the Barcelona Agreement (study of two foreign languages in addition to own student’s mother tongue). Students will study 3 periods of French and 1 period of Spanish in S1 and S2. Students continue to study French in S3 and can choose to continue studying Spanish in S3. During the Senior Phase students can choose French and Spanish courses from levels 3/4/5 National, Higher, Advanced Higher and the Languages for Life and Work award.

The English Language has around 3000 words that came into English via the Norman Conquest; therefore the study of French and Spanish play a very important role in the overall acquisition of literacy skills. As French and Spanish are both romance languages, which came from Latin, pupils can gain a lot of Language skills throughout the learning of Modern Languages. Spanish is offered as a beginner’s course. As Spanish is a Latin based language as well, pupils will build on their existing knowledge of French, and will deepen in language learning skills by studying two languages at the same time.

The courses build on the Language Experiences and Outcomes at levels 2 and students will progress through levels 3 and 4.  Courses are based on the communicative approach of language learning with a mixture of listening and talking, reading and writing skills. Exploring and learning about life and culture of Hispanic countries is well embedded in the courses. Since Language Learning is skill, rather than content based, students will engage in a variety of contexts dealing with citizenship, society, learning, employability, health and wellbeing, and culture.

Why Study a Foreign Language?
We live in a multilingual world where 94% of its population does not speak English as their first language and 75% does not speak English at all. You do not have to be fluent in a language- even the basic phrases make a real difference. Jobs from receptionists to top level management need language skills. Languages improve the quality of your life and your understanding of how other people live and think. Furthermore, companies are increasingly aware of the advantages of recruiting people with language skills. Spanish is one of the world’s major languages with as many first language speakers as English. By 2050 the number of Spanish speakers is expected to increase to 530 million, with the Spanish speaking population of the USA alone currently increasing at more than one million a year. Modern Languages can open a door to a whole new world. Whether on holiday, meeting people at work, socialising or enjoying cultural life your language skills will widen your horizons, create new opportunities and increase your appreciation of what’s out there. Whichever path students choose, it is important to remember that their language learning will be useful in life. Apart from languages’ transferable skills, students get a sense of worth and achievement.

This is a direct link to the British Council publication ‘Languages for the Future’ Report:

These are some interesting findings of the report, such as the Top 10 Languages to be studied in the UK and the Language Skills of British citizens:

Download: Findings

In August 2016 Dalkeith will celebrate the fifty-fifth anniversary of twinning with Jarnac, in the French Charente region. The spirit of bringing people together from different parts of Europe after the Second World War, to build cultural bridges and promote citizenship has been kept alive in the community of Dalkeith through our school since 1960.

Mrs Baillie, former PT languages at Dalkeith High School either led or participated in the exchange over twenty times. Many thanks go to her for her enthusiasm and contagious love for languages!

In June 2010 DHS had a whole school interdisciplinary week with the theme of Jarnac to raise awareness of the twinning amongst school children whilst celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. This project was relevant to both the school and the Dalkeith Community. The whole school got involved in this project and all departments took part and undertook work with all S2 pupils for a week in June.  All the pupils’ interdisciplinary work was exhibited at the school Campus to 350 guests from France and Dalkeith as the Charter of Twinning was signed at the School in August. As part of this project, French was taught for two months to over sixty adult members of the Dalkeith Community who visited Jarnac in July to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the twinning. Mr Valdera has been involved/ led the twinning since 2006 and attends meetings with the members of the Dalkeith-Jarnac Twinning Association.

Every October the Scots spend ten/twelve days in Jarnac and their pen pals return their visit around Easter of the next year.  These types of exchanges not only enrich our pupils’ linguistic abilities, but also contribute to increasing pupil self confidence, lifelong learning and develop pupil awareness of their role as citizens, not just of Scotland, but of the wider European Community.


Interdisciplinary week June 2010 slideshow
Information for October 2015 trip: JarnacLetter
Powerpoint: JARNAC EXCHANGE OCT 2014
Video: Jarnac Video 2014

S4, S5 and S6 French and Spanish students are invited to our Modern Languages Immersion Weekend 26-28th February 2016. At National Qualifications (N4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher) the performance of Talking weighs significantly towards students’ final grades, up to 30%.  Since 2006 DHS takes Modern Languages students away for one weekend to improve their Talking skills outside the classroom whilst having fun. Please see letter below and PowerPoint with more details about this event.

Download: Immersion Weekend Letter February 16

Click here to see photos from some of our French Trips

Click here to see photos from some of our Spanish Trips