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“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Winston S. Churchill

Head of Department: Mrs T Heath

Staff: Mrs A Altseva, Mrs E. Azikhanova

Russian is part of a large and thriving Modern Languages Department. It is highly successful in terms of pupil/student enjoyment and is proud of its fine record of examination results at GCSE and A Level and university success.

The curriculum is designed to cater for students of high ability and is one which puts considerable intellectual demands on students. The Russian curriculum is constantly evolving to develop students’ linguistic skills and understanding of Russian culture, history, and literature. Students of all abilities make great progress and are always challenged to achieve their best.

The Russian curriculum at the Latymer School enables students to:

  • Develop their ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say with increasing accuracy.
  • Express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently.
  • Listen to and understand clearly articulated, standard speech at near normal speed.
  • Deepen their knowledge about how language works and enrich their vocabulary for them to increase their independent use and understanding of extended language in a wide range of contexts.
  •  Acquire new knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking through the ability to understand and respond to a rich range of authentic spoken and written material including literary texts.
  • Develop awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries and communities where Russian is spoken.
  • Develop language learning skills both for immediate use and to prepare them for further Russian study and use in school, higher education or in employment.

Russian is taught from Year 8, as a second foreign language, right through to GCSE and A Level.


The Russian curriculum is constantly evolving to develop pupils’ linguistic skills and understanding of Russian culture, geography, history and literature. In Year 8 we start by mastering Cyrillic alphabet which enables pupils to read and write fluently by the end of the Autumn term. Pupils learn everyday phrases and the basics of Russian grammar. In Year 9 pupils develop all four linguistic skills further; learn grammar and work on the translation techniques; deepen their cultural knowledge through reading Russian fairy tales and abridged authentic literary texts. Pupils improve their listening skills through Russian Music and Films. Key Stage 3 Russian is a great foundation for further Russian studies at GCSE. 

Year 8

Basics: Alphabet, numbers; Family and Pets; Town and Home; Hobbies and Free Time.

Year 9

School; Jobs; Russian Geography and Holiday; Russian fairy tales; Russian Cultural element: Music, Film and Literature.


The GCSE Russian curriculum is designed help students of all abilities progress and develop a passion for language, through culturally engaging content. We follow the GCSE Pearson Edexcel Russian specification. Pupils undertake four assessments in speaking, reading, listening and writing at the end of each term starting in the Autumn Term of Year 10.

We offer Moscow/Saint Petersburg exchange trips in Years 10 and 11. The main purpose of this trip is educational. It is intended to help students with their Russian language and give them an insight into the life of a Russian-speaking family and life in a Russian school.

In Year 11, we aim to take pupils well beyond the limited GCSE course, preparing them for further Sixth Form study.

Year 10

 Grammatical cases; Town and holiday; Identity and culture (over two years); School.

Year 11

 Future Aspirations, Study and Work; International and Global Dimension.


The A Level Russian curriculum offers inspiring and engaging themes – GCE Russian features familiar and popular themes, as well as some new content that provides clear links to some of the most fundamental and interesting aspects of the culture of Russian-speaking countries and communities. We study popular literary texts and films that include contemporary and more classical titles, together with authentic source materials from Russia.  All themes are set in the context of Russia only.

Year 12 Text: The Queen of Spades by A. Pushkin.

Year 13 Film: Burnt by the Sun by N. Mikhalkov.

GCSE and A Level pupils are offered one-to-one weekly sessions with the Russian language assistant.

Year 12

Theme 1: Developing Russian society: Russian youth; Education; World of work.

Theme 2: Politics and Culture; Media; Festivals and Traditions.

Year 13

Theme 1: Developing Russian society: Russian youth; education; World of work

Theme 2: Politics and Culture; Media; Festivals and Traditions.


Key Stage 4

  • Russian film club.
  • Year 10 and 11 Russian exchange to St Petersburg or Moscow on alternative year. 
  • Introduction to the Russian Film and Book study at the end of the GCSE course.
  • One-to-one GCSE revision sessions with teachers.
  • All National Russian Essay and Poetry competitions.
  • One-to-one and group sessions with the language assistant.
  • Russian books and films (available from the Department and the school’s library).
  • Lectures and webinars.

Key Stage 5

  • Oxbridge classes in Russian literature, politics and culture.
  • Russian newspapers, podcasts and blogs (pupils are introduced to them at the start of Year 12).
  • Russian Exchange to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
  • Pupils made aware of cultural events in London. 
  • GCE pupils have attended Russian Language conference in Oxford High and lectures on the Queen of Spades; theatre production of the play.
  • Film Club (all the films are based on the specific masterpieces of the Russian literature).
  • One-to-one and group sessions with the language assistant.
  • All National Russian essay competition. The participants have produced excellent analysis of the Russian literary works and displayed excellent knowledge of Russian language.
  • Debating Society for GCE students.
  • UCL SSEES link and updates on the lectures and seminars.
  • Russian conference at Oxford High.
  • Links with the former GCE Russian students.


Our students often go on to study Russian or Russian- related courses at university (including Oxbridge). Russian, Russian and French/German, Linguistics, Russian and Geography, Russian and Economics and Business studies are very popular choices.

I'm forever grateful to Latymer's Russian department for providing an excellent framework to develop a love for language learning. Studying Russian has opened up a world of opportunities to me, both academically and personally."
Latymer Alumni