Aims of the department
Our main aim is to make this experience a fun, stimulating and positive one, which will lead our pupils to communicate confidently and effectively.
We also aim to impart to our pupils our enthusiasm for the language, culture and society of our closest neighbour.
We wish to spark a passion for French in our pupils, which we hope will develop as they progress through the school.
Why study French?
In a world in which the professional job market is fiercely competitive, French competes strongly with English as a main language of business and politics.
French is an official working language in the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Red Cross and international courts.
Major French companies also dominate in the UK and the USA.
Proficiency in French is an important skill for anyone planning on a career in international organisations.
Those interested in a career in finance will discover some 350,000 French natives working mainly in London’s finance sector, therefore being a francophile, if not francophone, is a distinct advantage in the job market.
Careers and ambition aside, learning French also opens up an understanding and appreciation of this very vibrant society: social issues, politics, film, literature. In spite of the ubiquitous Eurostar adverts, we do tend to forget that France is just a two hour train journey away. You certainly do not need to study French to survive in Paris for example, but how satisfying is it to understand quirky adverts on the métro, not feel thrown by the array of possibilities on a French menu, and simply go to see a film?
All students in Year 7 study French for three periods per week, after which many pupils opt to continue to study French to GCSE level and through to A level.
In Years 10 and 11 pupils have four periods of French per week and follow the Edexcel IGCSE course. This covers a range of topics such as local area, leisure, education and employment, environmental issues, alongside a broad range of grammar. Pupils sit terminal examinations in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.
Co-Curricular and Enrichment
Beyond the academic curriculum, the department aims to encourage its pupils to aspire not only to broaden their linguistic knowledge, but to explore French culture and society. To this end pupils are encouraged to take part in cinema outings, trips abroad and other activities. Pupils in Year 11 upwards are encouraged to take advantage of the department’s broad range of literature and DVDs.
The department organises cinema trips to London, the most recent being a trip to see Intouchables in Covent Garden.
We are keen to arrange for our Year 11 and Sixth Form pupils to hear talks on various aspects of French culture and society.
Trips and Visits
French exchange to Laval-Paris – this exchange for Year 9 continues to be very popular. Our pupils host their exchange partners from Laval for a week in January and make their return visit to Laval during the Easter holidays. The trip also includes a short stay discovering Paris.
Cultural weekend trip to Paris – for Year 11 French pupils during Michaelmas Term.
The department arranges cinema visits to central London.
Our older pupils have heard talks by outside speakers such as the Deputy Cultural Attaché to the French Embassy in London, on a range of topics such as Immigration Education in France and La Francophonie.
Clubs and Societies
French Film Club - Within the school day we organise a series of film screenings for pupils from Year 7 to Year 11.
Senior French Society - offers talks on a whole range of academic and contemporary topics from both staff and pupils, is open to Year 11 upwards.
French is taught by: