Schools in Brisbane with Language Immersion Programs

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It is an undisputed fact that there are incredible benefits to learning a second language in your early (or even later) years of life.  For this reason, all schools in Australia have a second language built into their curriculum for students to learn, with a variety of different languages offered across the country.  But did you know that there are many schools in Brisbane that go one step further and offer language immersion programs?  Rather than a lesson or two a week, students at these schools who partake in the immersion program advance their language skills by completing 50–60% of the curriculum in a language other than English.

Benefits of Learning a Second Language

There have been many studies conducted over the years on the effects and advantages of children learning a second language.  The results have proven that children who do so gain in many areas such as;

  1. Socially – learning a second language helps to broaden a child’s view and understanding of the world and the different cultures and people who inhabit it outside of their own country.
  2. Academically – there is a clear link between learning another language and literacy development in English, therefore learning another language enhances their literacy skills.  Studies also show that the benefits of learning a new language included higher scores on standardized exams in math, reading comprehension, and vocabulary by multilingual students compared to the scores of monolingual students.
  3. It helps to improve their analytical and problem-solving skills as well as increases a child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, resilience and tolerance levels.
  4. Studies have consistently shown that speaking more than one language can help delay the effects of dementia and Alzheimers as well as improve your memory skills.
  5. Career opportunities and the ability to work and travel abroad are greatly enhanced if a person can speak more than one language fluently.

Schools in Brisbane who offer language immersion programs

There are many schools who offer immersion programs to students.  Students usually need to apply and be selected to partake in the programs which are usually offered to above-average students who the school believed will be capable of and able to to handle the more difficult workload.  Below is a list of the schools in Brisbane who offer a language immersion program as well as information on which language they offer and how and when your child can commence the program.

Benowa State High School – French Immersion

Benowa pioneered French Immersion in Queensland and has been acclaimed nationally and internationally as the most successful model in extension studies and language education.  For the past four years Benowa students have won the Language Perfect World Championships title, an international competition involving thousands of students studying in dozens of countries.  On completion, students will have gained a high level of proficiency in French that will enable them to sit the Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Francaise, if this is their ambition.  This qualification is an internationally recognised French Proficiency exam and is required to allow students entry into offshore universities.

The selection criterion for students is based upon their academic performance in Year 6, NAPLAN and an academic entrance exam.  A recommendation report from their Primary School teacher may also be used in order to evaluate the qualities needed to be successful in the Academic French Immersion Program.  You can find more information on their website.

Ferny Grove State High School – German Immersion

The German Immersion program at Ferny Grove State High School offers students an exciting opportunity to develop a very high level of German language proficiency through learning the regular curriculum in German.  Students learn exactly the same curriculum as other students during Years 7, 8 and 9 in German.  In Year 10, students continue to learn Science and Humanities in German, and begin the Senior German course.  Towards the end of Year 10, students have the opportunity to travel to Germany on a three-week exchange program. Students stay with German families, attend school and tour Germany.

Parents of interested students indicate their interest in Year 6 by completing an Expression of Interest for Student Enrolment Form (PDF, 345 KB)​ and a German Immersion Expression of Interest Form (PDF, 322 KB)​.  Upon acceptance of your enrolment application and completion of an enrolment interview, you will be contacted by a member of the Languages Faculty to arrange a German Immersion interview. Students are selected on the basis of the interview, their primary school results and recommendations by their primary classroom and language teachers.  You can find more information on their website.

Indooroopilly State High School – Spanish Immersion

The Spanish Immersion Program is an intensive course that provides students with the deepest possible exposure to a second language and culture. Students enter in Year 7 and receive instruction in at least 60% of the curriculum in the second language through to Year 9.  Maths, Science, Spanish, History, Geography and Physical Education are taught in Spanish providing students with a very high level of language proficiency, linguistic skills, intercultural understanding, and personal enrichment and challenge. Students may have the opportunity to travel to Madrid, Spain, in their final year of the program where they will attend classes at the prestigious Real Colegio Alfonso XII High School.  Beyond Year 9, students in the Immersion Program may complete their Senior Spanish studies in Senior Secondary and may choose to study Advanced Spanish at the University of Queensland in Year 12.

Applications for expressions of interest in the Spanish Immersion Program will be required by the end of semester 1, 2018.  Interviews for this Program will be conducted early in Term 3.  No previous knowledge of the language is required.

Kenmore State High School – German Immersion

The GIEP teachers are specialists in their respective areas and are either native speakers of German or have extensive experience in the German language. In German Immersion students study up to 70% of their program in the German language. Students and teachers use German to study Mathematics, Science, German, Social Science and Physical Education. An exchange takes place in Term 4 of Year 10. Students study the regular Year 12 German course in Year 11 and the German Extension course in Year 12. Other subjects are studied in English in Years 11 and 12.

To be selected for the program students are asked to complete an application form and seek the recommendation of their primary schools. On receipt of the application, suitable candidates will be invited to an interview. Students are accepted on the basis of their primary school recommendations, school and other test results and their interviews. After the German Immersion interview, successful applicants will be asked to choose one of two immersion strands: Standard program or Standard program plus Music Extension.

Mansfield State High School – French Immersion

The French Immersion Program is a four year highly innovative language-learning course which allows students to complete studies in Maths, Science, SOSE, HPE and French entirely in the French language. This gifted and talented program provides highly motivated students with the opportunity to extend themselves and to be challenged to do their best. Through the completion of this course, students may continue their French studies in the Senior school to an advanced extension level.
Entry into the program is via selection and to find out more details on the program and how to apply contact the school directly.

North Lakes State College – Italian Immersion

The Italian Immersion program at North Lakes State College is a three year program commencing in Year 7.  The Year 7 Program is designed to gradually introduce students to lessons undertaken in Italian. In Year 8 and Year 9, Maths, Science, Humanities and Italian language will be taught in Italian with qualified and dedicated native speaking teachers.  All other subjects are delivered in English.
You can find out all you need to know about the program, the selection criteria and how to go about applying for it via their Immersion Program Application Booklet or via the website.

Robina State High School – Japanese Immersion

The Japanese immersion program offered at Robina State High School is the only Secondary Japanese Immersion Program in Australia.  Students who are accepted into this program will study 60% of their curriculum in Japanese.

Students who wish to enrol in the program must have a minimum B grade average and be high achievers with a proven ability to cope in a challenging environment with an acceptance of high expectations.  To apply you can visit their website and also check out their Japanese Immersion Brochures here.

Murrumba State Secondary College – Spanish Immersion

Murrumba State Secondary College offer both a Spanish acceleration and Spanish Immersion program.  In the Spanish Immersion Program English-speaking students in Years 8-10 receive 50% of the curriculum in the second language.  You can find out more information about the program and how to enrol via their Spanish Immersion Brochure or by contacting the school directly.

Tingalpa State School – French Immersion

In 2015 Tingalpa State School introduced a French-Australian bilingual program. The initiative began with one Prep class in 2015, and in 2016 they expanded the program to include Prep to Year 3. As the program rolls up in subsequent years, they envisage that there will be one French-Australian bilingual class in each year level. They are working towards gaining full accreditation with the French Ministry of Education so that their French-Australian Bilingual program will be recognised as the first school in Queensland to implement a harmonised French and Australian curriculum. What makes this program such an exciting initiative, is that the children will be ‘immersed’ in the French language. Their instruction will be in both French and in English. Prep to Year 2 will see an immersion ratio of 80% French instruction and 20% English instruction. From Year 3 the ratio of French instruction to English instruction will shift to 70-30 to accommodate the greater demands of the Australian curriculum. 
For more information on the eligibility criteria for the program click here to view the Criteria to enter French Bilingual Program (PDF, 228KB).

Wellers Hill State School – Japanese Bilingual Program

The Japanese Bilingual Program at Wellers Hill State School has a primary intent to not just teach Japanese but to improve a child’s learning ability through the development of additional neural pathways which research indicates can occur in children who commence the learning of a second language by eight years of age.  It is expected that children who enrol in the program in Year 1 will be conversationally fluent in Japanese by Year 3 and technically fluent by the end of Year 5.

There is a limited selection process to ensure sufficient numbers to have the classes full and viable.  Factors considered based on a child’s Prep year have included attendance patterns, behaviour, reading progress and the extent to which a child is self directed because of the need to move between rooms and change teachers during the day.  You can find out more information on how the program was developed, its results so far and how you can apply here.

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2 responses to “Schools in Brisbane with Language Immersion Programs”

  1. Pamela Curtin says:

    Also Calamvale Community College has Chinese immersion from Prep-Year 2. Then Chinese as an additional language through to Year 8. Chinese is optional from Year 9 and Spanish is also offered as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

  2. Katherine says:

    My son has just completed year 12 at Mansfield State High School after spending grades 7- 10 in the French Immersion Programme and completing Advanced French in Year 11 and French Literacy in Year 12. He had no prior knowledge of French and there is nobody in our family or friends who speak French. In Year 9 he participated in a school trip to New Caledonia and in Year 10 was lucky enough to spend 4 weeks living with a French family on a school exchange programme. I am astounded to say that he is now fluent in both spoken and written French. In fact the lifelong friendships he has made from being with the same peer group year after year in the Immersion Programme is another benefit to being in it. His goal now is to be a Doctor with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and to help people in need. I’m so proud of him and so impressed with the French Immersion Programme at Mansfield SHS. Such an outstanding opportunity for any young person to learn a language in a supportive environment at an amazing High School. Mansfield State High has a reputation for outstanding academic outcomes to rival the most expensive private schools in Brisbane.

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