French

Overview

The French department at Eltham College is popular, flourishing and successful. Alongside its strong academic track record, it also aims to enthuse its students and foster in them a life-long enthusiasm for this elegant, important language. There are 220 million French speakers worldwide, a number that is set to increase to over 700 million by 2050. In a world in which the professional job market is fiercely competitive, French competes strongly with English as a main language of international business, finance and politics.

Studying the French language and cultures throughout the francophone world is a rich and rewarding experience. Opting to study French with us opens up an understanding and appreciation of this very vibrant society that is also our closest neighbour: contemporary francophone culture, social issues, politics, film, literature and history. 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 it is deeply satisfying and rewarding 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.

We aim make learning French a fun, stimulating and positive experience, which will guide our students right from Year 7 through to A-level, to communicate effectively and with confidence. We want to equip them with the skills to adapt their lexical and grammatical knowledge to communicate independently, whilst also developing a rigorous understanding of the techniques that lead to success in examinations. We hope our students will develop into astute linguists, whose understanding and appreciation of other cultures helps shape their understanding of the world and themselves.

Curriculum

Years 7 and 8

In Years 7, students have three lessons per week of French and one piece of homework will be set. In Year 8, they will have three lessons per week and two pieces of homework will be set. Students will build their grammatical understanding steadily over the academic year and will broaden their vocabulary through the study of a variety of topics including:

Year 7: TopicsYear 7: Grammar
General Basic ConversationGender
PetsAdjectival Agreements
FamilyPresent Tense
Daily RoutineReflective Verbs
Year 8: TopicsYear 8: Grammar
Countries and ContinentsPrepositions
School and RoutineModal Verbs
DescriptionsAdjectival Agreements
Food and DrinkThe Perfect Tense

Year 9

In Year 9, students have four lessons per week and two pieces of homework will be set. Students will study a variety of vocabulary and grammar topics including:

  • Discussing relationships with family and friends
  • A linguistic and cultural study of Paris
  • School life and future plans
  • Grammar: four tenses; object pronouns; comparatives and superlatives

We provide students with a textbook and grammar workbook. The department has subscriptions to some online resources and can recommend other useful, free online resources. The department is also equipped with DVDs and reading material.

GCSE

French is an option subject at GCSE. Students follow the Edexcel IGCSE course Edexcel IGCSE French 4FR1.

At GCSE, students have four lessons per week and two pieces of homework will be set. They also have one-to-one slots with the French assistante to support their preparation for the oral examination. Full details can be found in the specification but topics include:

Year 10Year 11
Home Town, Home Life and RelationshipsFrancophone Traditions and Cultures
School Life, Education and CareersThe Media and Modern Technology
Hobbies, Interests and SportEnvironmental Issues

The course is examined by three exams at the end of Year 11: Listening, Reading and Writing, Speaking.

Trips, activities and clubs

Beyond the academic curriculum, the department aims to encourage its students to aspire not only to broaden their linguistic knowledge, but to explore French culture and society. To this end, students are encouraged to take part in cinema outings, trips abroad and other activities. Students in Year 11 upwards are encouraged to take advantage of the department’s broad range of literature and DVDs, and to attend the Modern and Classical Languages Society.

Trips and activities offered by the department:

  • Weekly clinic on Monday lunchtimes (Key Stage 4) and Thursday lunchtimes (Key Stage 3)
  • Lower School ciné club
  • Modern and Classical Languages Society programme of talks (recommended for Year 11 upwards)
  • Activities week trip to Paris (Key Stage 3)
  • Study trip for Key Stage 4

The Lower School activities week trip to Paris aims to discover the French capital and improve their French in a fun context, as the trip usually also involves a trip to either Parc Astérix or Disneyland, Paris, as well as more cultural visits.

The study trip open to Key Stage 4 students offers a week of lessons in a language school focused on improving students’ vocabulary, grammar and confidence in speaking, relative to the demands of the IGCSE course. The programme of afternoon visits offers a range of cultural and engaging visits. Students stay in pairs with French host families which provides invaluable exposure to French language and culture in an entirely authentic setting.

Keen linguists in Year 11 are very welcome to attend the programme of extension talks offered by the Modern and Classical Languages Society, which aims to challenging students to extend their cultural and linguistic knowledge beyond their programme of study.

Staff

  • Ms L Scarantino BA (Head of Modern Foreign Languages)
  • Mrs E Brooke BA (Hons)
  • Mr J Houghton MA (Chaplain)
  • Mrs S Chevrier-Clarke (French assistante)