All pupils study French from the start of the First Form and continue with the subject until at the least the end of the Third Form. We use the very successful Tricolore course and as well as gaining a practical grounding in the language, pupils have also taken a great interest in learning about the French way of life and its rich cultural background. The popular trip to the Normandy during the first year of study reinforces and enhances what is learnt in the classroom.
The majority of those choosing French continue to GCSE, where we follow the Edexcel course. The emphasis here is on everyday communication in areas directly relevant to young people, such as media and music, school and work experience. For all of our courses, both junior and senior, a diverse range of multimedia facilities are available.
At Sixth Form, we offer a range of courses. The Edexcel AS and A2 courses take pupils’ language skills to near fluency by the end of the Upper Sixth and deal content-wise with important contemporary issues. The accompanying study of French literature, cinema and history has proven extremely stimulating at A2.
A Level French
Edexcel A Level French consists of three units of study:
- Paper 1 Listening, Reading and Translation (40%)
- Paper 2 Written Response to Works and Translation (30%)
- Paper 3 Speaking (30%)
How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on pupil participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the French Department Virtual Learning Environment. Students are supervised through the process of working through research-based literary, cultural, historical work. Pupils are also expected to participate on trips to France to and to keep themselves up-to-date with the current affairs by watching the French news daily.
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. Sixth Form French students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.
It is recommended that all students engage in substantial revision of French Grammar in order to prepare and equip themselves with the necessary tools for production and interaction before they embark on the course. For units 3 and 4, directed literary preparation and historical reading of France’s position during the Second World War is essential.
The IB Language B course, designed for non-native speakers, mirrors the skills developed at AS/A2 and has topics tailored towards pupils’ interests. We liaise closely with the Bean library, which has holdings of literary and cultural texts ranging from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. GCSE and Sixth Form students of French have benefited from the Homestay / work experience trips to Lille and the Sixth Form trip to Paris.
IB French A Literature (Higher Level & Standard Level)
The French A Literature course gives students the opportunity to study a wide range of literature but also appreciate the historical and social context associated with each work and develop a number of skills. A combination of lecture-based lessons, group discussion and activities and individual research all combine to ensure that lessons are stimulating and varied.
This course presupposes a native command of the language. It is, therefore, not a language acquisition course as such, but, rather more a reinforcement and refinement of already- present language and literary skills. The course of study is divided into four parts.
The French A Literature course requires the linguistic competence of a native speaker and it counts towards a Bilingual Diploma.
The Higher and Standard Level courses have similar syllabi; Higher Level students examine topics in more depth and study more literary options. While the same principles underlie both courses, the Higher Level marks schemes are naturally more rigorous.
Four modules are covered during the course of two years:
- Part 1: A study of three texts in Translation, involving close textual analysis as well as research.
- Part 2: A study of three works of different genres, one of which must be poetry.
- Part 3: A study of four works of the same genre and which allow for comparative as well as individual study.
- Part 4: A study of four works chosen freely by the teacher. The cultural background of the texts as well as film versions are studied alongside the works themselves.
How the course is taught
A heavy emphasis in this course is placed on research and independent learning, although, naturally, students are supported at all times and offered guidance when completing extended projects such as their coursework module and individual oral presentations.
Expectations / Homework
Students are expected to participate in class discussion, be inquisitive and work both independently and in groups. Homework ranges from independent research to essay questions, either from past papers or based on a topic currently being studied. In addition to this, students are expected to consolidate the texts they are studying and take additional notes in order to enhance their learning outside of the classroom.
All works studied are available to students from the beginning of the course so that they are free to read any of the texts in advance. They will be set poems to analyse in the summer preceding the course in order to acquaint them with the basic techniques of literary analysis.
IB French Language B (Higher & Standard Level)
French B is offered to non-native speakers of French who have completed either a GCSE or an IGCSE in French (or equivalent).
The 3 Core Topics are:
- Global Issues
- Communication and Media
- Social Relationships
There is huge importance attached to producing and recognising registers and throughout the course students will study many different text types, from leaflets, posters and diary entries to poems, short stories and newspaper articles.
At Higher Level, students must also study two works of literature written in the target language.
How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. Higher Level pupils will have nine lessons per two-week cycle (plus one assistant lesson per week) and Standard Level pupils will have six lessons per two-week cycle (plus one assistant lesson per week). The language assistant lessons will be timetabled into one of your non-contact periods. The language assistant lessons are usually taught in small groups and sometimes individually and so are extremely beneficial.
A heavy emphasis is placed on pupil participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the French Department Virtual Learning Environment. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessments. Pupils are also expected to participate in trips to France and to keep themselves up-to-date with current affairs by watching the French news daily.
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.
The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider an aspect of French history or culture as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study French or History at university. Students are free to select any topic that lends itself to an enquiry focus, requires assessment of conflicting evidence and has a holistic worth. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.
It is recommended that all students engage in substantial revision of French grammar in order to prepare and equip themselves with the necessary tools for production and interaction before they embark on the course.