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Modern Languages


Grace Susay (Head of Languages and teacher of German/ Spanish))
Robbie Keenan (Head of Irish)
Ian McMillan (Head of German and teacher of Spanish/ Latin/Irish)
Janet Mayers (French/Spanish Teacher)
Sara Camplisson (German/French teacher)

Anne Clarke (Head of French)


About the Department
The Languages department offers Spanish, French, Irish, German and Latin. There is also an Italian club. We are proud of the fact that all students study two languages for the first three years with all students continuing with one or two languages to GCSE level. All of the above languages are offered at AS and A2 level.

Each language classroom is equipped with the latest interactive whiteboard technology. In the languages department, we believe in bringing languages to life, making learning as fun and interactive as possible. At the same time we aim to challenge students so that each student reaches their potential. Some of the many activities we do include are sampling food from different countries and taking part in games and quizzes and learning songs as a means of practising the languages.

Extra – curricular activities include French, German and Spanish lunchtime clubs run by our foreign language assistants and regular competitions. In previous years students have taken part in a variety of trips in which they enjoyed a range of activities whilst at the same time improving their language skills. This June there is trip to Montpellier in France. In the past our sixth form students have successfully completed their work experience in France, Germany and Spain.

Aims and objectives:

  • We wish to give students a positive and enjoyable language experience to enable students to communicate effectively in the language they are learning.

  • Improve the overall communication skills of students so that they are able to make a meaningful contribution to society and the world of work.

  • Widen a student’s understanding of different cultures and traditions.


Language learning success stories at Shimna
We have had students do their GCSE early gaining excellent grades.

Sixth form student have completed their work experience in a German company which designs and manufactures components for aircraft. Other students of German, French and Spanish completed it in primary schools in the target language country and stayed with families.

We have also hosted students from France, Germany and Spain and organised work experience for French students in the Slieve Donard Hotel, The St. Patrick Centre and Tesco, Newcastle. Our Irish students have completed their work experience in Irish Medium Schools in Newry, Downpatrick and Castlewellan. One of our students of German completed a year of study at a school in Germany. This gave her valuable language skills and she was able to share her new experiences with us on her return. Each year we have hosted students from Germany and Spain. They spend three months or so with a local family and attend our school.

One of our A Level French students recently gained Best Speaker Award for his role in the Northern Ireland Schools French Debating Competition.

European Day of Languages on the 26th September is always a huge success and runs every year with a wide variety of activities for students.

We have enjoyed excellent links with primary schools through the Sharing Education Programme which saw our teachers teaching German and Spanish in at least 16 local primary schools.

Our Specialist Status enhanced our opportunities to develop links with the wider community. We have worked with a number of local businesses who have helped us promote language learning.

We have been able to offer night classes in French and Spanish and teamed up with Greenhill YMCA to provide a German-immersion residential experience for our German students.

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