Aim: To instil in our pupils a love of the French language through a pupil-centred teaching approach which enables pupils to take an active role in their learning, understand the language and communicate effectively in a variety of different situations.

Members of the French Department:

  • Mrs S McGonigle
  • Mr X Prigent
  • Mrs J Smyth

At Key Stage 3, the members of the French Department use the Voilà series of textbooks and workbooks as their principal teaching resources.  Pupils in Years 8 and 9 access the former electronically, using their iPad.  The Voilà materials enable pupils to develop their Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing skills through a range of exercises promoting active learning.  Other materials, such as the Boardworks CD-ROM, TES French teaching and learning resources, Apps and the software programs, Microsoft PowerPoint and Word, facilitate active learning and a pupil-centred teaching approach.  ICT and Connected Learning tasks, built into the Department’s Key Stage 3 Schemes of Work, cater for a range of pupil abilities, interests and learning styles.  Pupils are given opportunities in class to work in pairs and groups, as well as present their work to their peers, thereby developing their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.  Pupils studying French in Year 9 may have the opportunity to visit Normandy and Paris.

In Key Stage 4, most pupils study one language at GCSE Level and many opt to continue to learn French.  Pupils study the CCEA specification at GCSE and at A-level.  GCSE pupils study three Contexts: The Individual, Citizenship and Employability and complete Controlled Assessment tasks in Speaking and Writing on topics such as family, holidays and the environment in Years 11 12.  The Controlled Assessment elements constitute 60% of GCSE French.  The current A-level specification is divided into four modules: two in Year 13 and a further two in Year 14.  There are three Contexts for Learning at AS: Relationships, Health and Lifestyle and Young People in Society.  These Contexts cover many of the topics studied at GCSE Level, such as family, hobbies and interests, travel and school life.  There are two further Contexts for Learning at A2; these are Local and Global Citizenship and Environmental Awareness. 

Increasingly, employers are seeking students who can offer good interpersonal skills; these can be developed through the French Programmes of Study.  Research has shown that the majority of students who can offer a second language work in business-related areas, such as finance, language services, pharmaceuticals, technology, the media, engineering, social and civil services, customer support services, education, transport and distribution and travel and tourism.  Universities are now offering courses which combine the study of French with another subject, such as Law, Music, Business Studies, or even a Science subject. There are many interesting combinations available, as employers and students alike realize that the study of a language provides invaluable communication and interpersonal skills, which can ultimately lead to fulfilling and successful careers.