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Our aim within the French Department is to inspire and enthuse our pupils to enjoy learning French, explore the culture and become effective communicators. Consequently, students are encouraged to:

  • communicate with each other in pairs and groups and with their teacher
  • use the target language for real purposes, as well as to practise their skills, e.g. “répétez s’il vous plait”
  • develop their understanding and skills through a range of language activities, e.g. games, role-plays, surveys and other investigations
  • take part in imaginative and creative activities, e.g. improvised drama, fashion shows
  • try to use everyday classroom events as a context for spontaneous speech, e.g. “A vos souhaits”
  • discuss their own ideas, interest and experiences and discuss them with others
  • listen, read or view for personal interest. Use of the library’s French resources

French is taught throughout the school to GCSE and A Level. Students choose 2 languages out of French, German and Spanish which they study in Year7.  At the end of Year 7, they select one language which they will study at Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11).


Head of Department

Mr H Nancey


Mrs S Ferris

Mrs S McCutcheon


Sonny Welch

Annie Burns


Niamh Bennett

Thandi Lovlie

Sophie Philpott

Abigail Roberts

Lucy Turner

Key Stage 3


Year 7 students use Studio 1 textbooks and Year 8 students use Expo 4 Foundation textbooks.

Students choosing French will embark on a stimulating and diverse course which offers the following topic areas: me; family; friends; school; hobbies; local environment; holidays; the world of work; lifestyle; global environment; and creative and cultural aspects of the language.

Assessment, Marking and Feedback 

In Year 7, students will complete classwork and homework largely in exercise books, or produce display work on paper. Homework and written tasks will be marked and accompanied by a comment as necessary. In Years 7 and 8, regular verbal or written feedback is given and when appropriate, a mark out of 10 for year 7 will be awarded (5 marks for content and 5 marks for language) for longer pieces of work and in year 8 a mark out of 20 will be awarded (10 marks for content and 10 marks for language). Exceptional pieces of work will be rewarded with Positive Events as appropriate. We will endeavour to return corrected work within two weeks and where work is not completed to our expectations. Vocabulary tests, Listening and Reading exercises completed in class will be given a raw mark and we embrace a variety of assessment techniques, including teacher, peer and self-assessment.

Assessment grids

Please click here for the Year 7 objectives and assessment grid

Please click here for the Year 8 objectives and assessment grid

Key Stage 4


Students use Studio 4 textbooks, which are very interesting and even more challenging!  They take 4 units, listening, speaking, reading and writing at the end of Year 11 (25% each).

The 4 examinations can be taken at, either all Foundation, or all Higher level but the levels cannot be combined.

The GCSE focuses on 3 context areas:

Theme 1: Identity and culture;

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest;

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.

Assessment, Marking and Feedback 

In Years 9, 10 and 11, students will take greater responsibility for their note making, and will be given regular homework in order to prepare them adequately for assessment. Shorter tasks will be corrected and accompanied with a comment advising on steps for further progression. Extended tasks will be corrected, marked using the GCSE mark scheme, as appropriate, and accompanied with a target to enable access to the higher grades. Students will be given their own copy of the GCSE mark scheme, to which they are regularly encouraged to make reference. Occasionally, oral feedback may be given on an individual basis. We wholly support the principles of Assessment for Learning and continually seek opportunities to include self and peer-assessment and encourage students to reflect on their targets and review their own progress. Positive Events will be awarded as appropriate and for exceptional performance, postcards will be sent home.


Please click here for the AQA GCSE French specification 

A Level


The coursebook followed in French at Year 12 and Year 13 is Edexcel French. It is supplemented by grammar books for grammatical support and ideas for essay writing.

 In Year 12, the course main topic areas are:

  • changes in French society;
  • political and artistic culture in French speaking countries.

In Year 13:

  • immigration and multicultural French society;
  • occupation and resistance.

Alongside these topics, as part of the course, students will also study a film and a literary text.

In order to support students’ learning, they will be attending a weekly session with a French language assistant to enhance their competence in the language.

There is also a selection of approximately 20 French films available for viewing from teachers and we also subscribe to a Mary Glasgow magazine “Chez Nous”!

Assessment, Marking and Feedback 

Assessment objectives; 


Total for assessment objectives

Paper 1: Listening, reading

and translation


Paper 2: Written response to

works and translation


Paper 3: Speaking


In the Sixth Form, students will be assessed using the corresponding A Level mark scheme, and all work will be corrected and targets will be set as appropriate.  Oral feedback will also be given regularly, as we find these 1:1 discussions lead to a greater understanding of the demands at a higher level.  Extended written work will be regularly set and returned within two weeks, and positive events will be awarded as appropriate.


Please click here for the Edexcel A Level French specification 

Exam Support


Students will be given a handbook with a course outline for A Level with a list of vocabulary for GCSE.

Past papers

Please click here for the AQA GCSE French past papers and mark schemes

Please click here for the Edexcel A Level French past papers and mark schemes


Potential careers

  • International Business and Marketing
  • International Finance and Banking
  • International and European Law
  • International Property Sales and Development
  • Science and Engineering
  • Event Management and Catering
  • Teaching, Tutoring or Lecturing
  • Interpreting and Translating
  • Tourism,
  • Charity work
  • Journalism
  • Film and Music/Media


Laura Ballard

Sophie Ball at Cambridge (Modern and Medieval French)

Amber Hurst at University of Reading (French and History)

Beatrice Keenan at Newcastle University (Modern Languages and Business Studies)

Sophie Major at University of Southampton (French and Linguistic).

Words of wisdom from our MFL alumni

Sarah Bigault, 23

Currently studying MA in Interpreting and Translating

When I was at school I thought: "everyone speaks English, so why should I learn another language?" Yet when it came to choosing GCSE and A level topics, I realised just how important languages are, and taking French and Spanish was the best decision I ever made. I have since fallen in love with language learning and am on my way to becoming an interpreter.

 Although you are probably never going to use trigonometry in real life, you just have to accept that it's just something you have to do to do well in GCSE. However, speaking another language is something that helps you to do well in life. Here's how:

  • It makes you more employable: these days it is not enough to speak one language. Many employers will prefer or even require knowledge of another language to consider you for a job.
  • Speaking another language means that you can travel to another or many different countries and speak to the locals. This means experiencing the world through different cultures, languages, beliefs, religions etc.
  • Interpreters and translators cannot work for the EU or the UN if they do not speak French - that rules out some pretty cool job opportunities!
  • If you carry on languages to University level, you get to go on a year abroad! That was one of the best experiences of my life and shaped me into the person I am today.

I know that 'adult' life seems so far away for you (I'm not even sure if I'm in it yet!), but the decisions you make now can shape your future.

Sarah Bigault, 2011



We will be running a support club one lunchtime a week to help students developing their language skills

Trips and visits

In March 2018, there will be a residential trip to Warsy for Years 9, 10 and 12 where students will do language activities, visits and immerse themselves in French culture for 4 days.

In June 2018, there will be a residential trip to Rue for Years 7 and 8 where students will do team building activities, visits and discover French culture for 4 days.


Goodbye to some very talented linguists who, for some of them, will carry on studying French with German or Business at university next year and we are sure they will enjoy their travelling abroad in the future! 

Well done for the hard work Year 11 students have been producing towards their examinations and we would like to express our thanks to the French language assistant and our French experience intern for their support with the speaking examination.

We have recently appointed 3 new French prefects, Luciana Peck, Celine Rai and Connie Wheeler who have been actively involved in supporting Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students in the classroom.