All Modern Foreign Language teachers are committed to promoting excellence and to the great value of acquiring skills in foreign languages for students’ personal and academic development.
All students study French from Year 7, writing and speaking the language informally from Day 1. Our experienced staff take pride in communicating their love of the language and culture through lessons including French songs, authentic dishes, fashion, history and politics to ensure a far richer experience than purely academic study. The course fosters an understanding of the society and literature of France and French-speaking countries, building students’ knowledge and confidence, so that they can communicate fluently, and enjoy reading modern and classic literary texts on their own in the original. This provides a firm base for higher level studies and the department invariably achieves excellent examination results.
French is taught through a range of topics relevant to everyday life. Our aim is to enable students to develop their French language skills to their full potential, equipping them with the knowledge to communicate with confidence in a variety of contexts such as:
- Identity and culture
- Local, national, international and global areas of interest
- Current and future study and employment
Students will explore French-speaking artistic culture, including francophone music and cinema, and learn about political engagement as well as who wields political power in the French-speaking world. They will also look at diversity and its benefits, in addition to social and technological change.
Students also explore the influence of the past on present-day French-speaking communities. Throughout their studies, they will learn the language in the context of French-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them.
Students will study literary texts and will have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice. Assessment tasks will be varied and cover listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation skills.
French is spoken on all five continents, and it is also the official language of many international organisations. Therefore, being fluent in French gives many opportunities to work abroad or for British companies that have trade links with other French-speaking countries.
It is possible to study French as a joint honours’ degree with many other subjects (for example Engineering, Medicine, Mathematics, Law, History, Art History, English, International Relations, Psychology), along with the traditional option of French with another Modern Foreign Language or Classics. Career options are varied with a French degree: translation, teaching, journalism, tourism are the obvious ones, but companies in numerous fields are looking for people with a French degree.
Beyond the classroom
The French department runs regular trips for different year groups. Currently there is a Year 8 trip to Normandy and Brittany, in which all the cultural visits and activities are conducted in French by native speakers.
There is a Year 10 study trip to Nice which includes some French lessons in the morning.
At A Level, students are given the opportunity to take part in a study trip to Brussels, taking place in the October half-term. There is also the opportunity for Sixth Formers taking French to go to Paris jointly with the History Department.
The French Department organises trips to the cinema or the theatre on a regular basis, as well as activities and competitions. Weekly extra-curricular clubs are also on offer for different year groups.
Sixth Formers can get involved in mentoring to help younger students in school and can visit primary schools to experience supporting younger pupils with French learning. We also run an enrichment programme that supports students who intend to study French at university. Students are also given regular opportunities to attend language events run by local universities.