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?
At Sixth Form level pupils have eight periods of French per week. Additionally each pupil benefits from a timetabled weekly oral lesson with the French assistant. We follow the AQA specification and the majority choose to continue from AS level through to A2 level. At AS level pupils study a range of topics, from the influence of celebrity culture to the dangers of the internet. At A2 level, in addition to tackling issues such as environmental debates, immigration and ethics, pupils are introduced to French literature, alongside a film, for the Cultural Topics. At the end of each of the AS level and the A2 level courses, pupils take two examinations: a synoptic paper and an oral examination.
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
Study week - Once in the Sixth Form, pupils have the opportunity to take part in a study trip and an exchange on alternate years. In the past pupils have participated in study trips to Nice and Bordeaux during which they have attended language lessons in the mornings, which focus on the specific demands of their respective orals examinations. The afternoons involved a range of activities and cultural visits.
Exchange visit to Monaco – For Sixth Form pupils, the bi-annual exchange trip to Monaco is arranged in conjunction with the lycée Albert 1er in Monaco.
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 is taught by: