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.

Careers and ambition aside, learning French also opens up an understanding and appreciation of this very vibrant society: social issues, politics, film and 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?

Our main aim is to make learning French a fun, stimulating and positive experience, which will guide our students to communicate effectively and with confidence. We aim to equip them with the skills to adapt their lexical and grammatical knowledge to communicate independently, and we encourage students to recognise the added advantages of deepening their cultural understanding. We hope to instil in students our enthusiasm for the language, culture and society of our closest neighbour and guide them to ask the sorts of questions to help them to become astute linguists. We wish to spark a passion for French in our students, which we hope will make of them lifelong Francophiles.


Years 7 and 8

In Years 7, students have two 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
SchoolAdjectival Agreements
FamilyPresent Tense
Year 8: TopicsYear 8: Grammar
ShoppingThe Partitive
At the Café/RestaurantPrepositions
A Trip AwayModel Verbs
Describing OthersThe Perfect Tense

Year 9

In Year 9, students have three 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.


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 and HolidaysEnvironmental Issues
School life, Education and CareersThe Media and Modern Technology
Home life and RelationshipsHealth

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.


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