The Head of Languages is Mrs Annie Watkins

Hello, I am Mrs Watkins. I am the Year 4 class teacher, I am also head of languages at Deepdene Upper School and I teach Upper School geography. In previous jobs I have been a wedding photographer, a cook and a music journalist! I lived in Spain for nine years, and I love the Spanish language and culture. From Year 3 upwards students at Deepdene learn Spanish, including learning about a different Spanish fiesta every term complete with traditional food! I also teach French from Year 1 to Year 6. This enables the children to gain a good level of French by the time they leave to go to secondary school.

Ciara Tucker adds a new dynamic to the teaching of languages.

My background is in foreign languages, primarily Italian and French which I studied for my degree. Although my PGCE specialims was in Art, I found that a linguistics background lends itself very naturally to helping children with spelling and reading difficulties, as most programmes focus on a phonetic approach.  I also teach French in nursery and reception at Deepdene and we enjoy singing and signing to aid most of our learning. For many lessons we also draw, use paint or colour to reinforce vocabulary. This means that all my skills and interests are rolled into one, fantastic job!

When children are lacking confidence in their reading or spelling I focus on learning phonics flashcards and how to use them to work out the most likely spelling of different sounds. I also like to use as many multi-sensory activities as possible and try to keep tasks brief and fun. As much as I can, I repeat the same structure to all my lessons so children know the routine and are familiar with what will happen next. Recently, I have also started helping children with mild cases of dyspraxia where physical strength and co-ordination exercises play an important role.

I look forward to what I will be learning and my own professional development, as I teach each child with his or her specific and ever-changing needs.