“….but how can you govern a country which has 258 kinds of cheese?" Charles de Gaulle.
Since the fall of the Roman Empire and the gradual demise of Latin as a living language, French has arguably had the greatest influence of any language on European literature, culture and politics. The motherland of fashion, art, literature, cinema, classical music, philosophy, industry and gastronomy - France's creativity has been prolific and her language has been known throughout history as the language of chivalry, economics, diplomacy and love. French is not only the native or administrative language of almost sixty million citizens of continental France, but of over two hundred million more people in Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Pacific. Countries in the Middle East and Asia, such as Lebanon and Vietnam, are still profoundly influenced by their status as former French territories.
France has a unique history of literary richness and influence exceeding one thousand years, extending from the creation of the first masterpiece of French literature, La Chanson de Roland, into the twenty-first century with the emergence of Francophone literature from Northern and Western Africa, Canada and the Caribbean.
At Brentwood, all pupils learn and explore French in the First Year; many choose to specialise in French Studies at university, having enjoyed an enriching journey packed with literature, culture, cinema and theatre. ‘Fascination’ with French is a factor at all levels, be it tasting one of the 258 types of French Cheese (a figure undoubtedly doubled since De Gaulle’s observation), or simply analysing the language. As a young pupil recently remarked: “Citron vert is so much better than lime, isn’t it, Miss? And mauvaise herbe is so much nicer than weed….but then again, weeds are seriously ugly - so we're right to have an ugly word!”
To view the French curriculum please click here.
Dr Esther Rowlands
Head of French
After doing a doctorate in French and Critical Theory, Dr Rowlands taught at some of Britain’s leading universities and then spent a more dynamic year working as a Financial Recruitment Consultant for the French, German and Scandinavian sections of Investment Banks in the City of London. She then returned to Education and taught French while continuing to publish books and articles on French Literature, Cinema and Critical Theory, mainly in relation to France’s position during the Second World War. Her main areas of interest are French Surrealist and Postmodernist literature/cinema, post-structuralism and travel narrative. She enjoys all aspects of French teaching, particularly the IB. Other interests include tennis, walking in the countryside, piano, theatre, modern Art, European Cinema, modern and biblical history, a diverse music range and Liverpool Football Club. We’ll never walk alone!
Miss Katie Allen
Miss Allen's fascination with languages, their patterns, roots and derivations, started at school where she studied French and Spanish. She went on to do a degree in French and Italian ab initio at Oxford before completing a PGCE at Cambridge. Miss Allen also loves literature from Dante's epic poetry to the absurdist theatre of Ionesco and is excited to be teaching the literature component for Italian IB. Her other interests include history, public speaking and performing arts, (her favourite musical being Les Misérables - for obvious reasons!)
Miss Reina Campbell
Miss Campbell teaches French and Spanish. After completing her own studies at Brentwood School, she went to King’s College London to read Hispanic Studies. During her university course she lived for a year in the centre of Madrid. She spent much of her free time wandering around El Museo del Prado, contemplating Goya’s “Pinturas Negras” and other famous works, or eating chocolate con churros in the Chocolatería San Ginés. She has travelled all over Spain but her favourite Spanish city, after Madrid, is Barcelona, where she was blown away by the stunning architecture by Gaudí.
Mme Laetitia Dearmer-Decup
Mme Dearmer-Decup is a native French speaker from the South of France… Attention: not the southwest or the southeast, THE SOUTH! She studied at the University of Montpellier and Salford university. Mme Dearmer-Decup also teaches German, a subject she particularly enjoys as it was the first modern language she studied at school. She loves English literature, modern and classic. She enjoys travelling and usually spends her summer holiday in Andalucia where she tries to improve her Spanish at every opportunity. She goes back home to Beziers to visit her family as often as she can.
Mme Hawkings teaches French and RE. She graduated (longer ago than she cares to remember) from Exeter University with a degree in French with additional German. After university she obtained Institute of Linguists’ qualifications in both languages and worked in Marketing in France, the USA and the UK, before she started teaching. She developed her love for languages as a First Form pupil at Grammar School, where she was fortunate to have an inspirational teacher. She has continued to develop this interest in the romance languages in particular, by studying Italian and Spanish. Mme Hawkings has twice worked in France and now owns a house in the Pas de Calais, where she can indulge in two of her hobbies: food and speaking French. She also enjoys travelling and discovering the rich and diverse cultures of other countries, both in Europe and further afield.
Mr Hugh Ottewell
Mr Ottewell teaches Spanish and French and is the Contingent Commander for the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Mr Ottewell went to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he read Spanish and Latin American Studies/Portuguese with French as a subsidiary subject. On graduation Mr Ottewell attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned as an officer in The Light Infantry (now The Rifles). Mr Ottewell left the Army in 2005 and retrained as a languages teacher. He is widely travelled and has a passion for all things hispanic. He is also a very keen sports coach and enjoys outward pursuits and foreign literature.
Mr Rhodri Pritchard
Languages have always been in Mr Pritchard’s blood. His love of France, its tongue, landscapes and cuisine, came from his French mother, whilst his father, a lecturer in Spanish and exacting grammarian, introduced him to that language’s riches. He not only studied these languages at university but lived in France and Spain for considerable periods. Here he pursued his other passion - rugby - and was instrumental in re-establishing the now thriving sport at Brentwood after a decade’s hiatus. Mr Pritchard is a strong believer in cultivating practical language skills and has led dozens of MFL trips and visits to France and Spain, including sports tours and a thriving French rugby exchange.
Mme Solange Roast
Originating from the beautiful region of Normandy (Northern France), Madame Roast has always been interested in learning languages and travelling. She loves discovering new cultures, different ways of life, and meeting people from all over the world. She is also an avid practitioner of sport and always rises to new challenges. She specialises in tennis and plays for the county. She studied English at Caen University with Russian as a minor and Anglia Polytechnic University in Chelmsford. She enjoys British and American civilisation and literature. She is still keen to learn new languages and would particularly like to study Italian and German. In her free time Madame Roast loves going to the theatre and to the cinema. She teaches French, Spanish and Games at Brentwood School.
Mme Niluka Rooke
Mme Rooke is originally from Sri Lanka and is a passionate linguist. She speaks Singhalese, English, French and German and has lived in four different countries. Mme Rooke moved to France as a young student and attended the Sorbonne University in Paris, studying Literature and Teaching French as a Foreign Language. She later moved to London with her half-German, half-English husband and completed her teaching practice at King’s College London. Mme Rooke worked in both France and the UK teaching at schools and at university, before starting her job at Brentwood School. She loves to read and travel, and enjoys watching films from different countries. She also paints in her free time. Mme Rooke teaches French and German at Brentwood School.
Dr Richard Storey
Dr Richard Storey started learning languages seriously from the age of 13 and enjoyed some first-class teaching in both German and French. A first extended trip to Germany and Austria at the age of 17 set him up for what became a lifetime’s involvement in the language and people. Study breaks for his doctorate in Tübingen and Dortmund were followed by teaching in Cleveland and Cambridgeshire before he came to Brentwood. An avid reader, Dr Storey is an enthusiastic fan of the IB and its possibilities for exploring German literature in all its forms and styles. He is keen sportsman and fan, enjoying particularly athletics, cycling and handball.
Mme Marisa Taylor
Madame Taylor teaches both French and Italian. Having spent many of her formative years in Northern Tuscany she was educated at the London Oratory School where she became Head Girl. Her passion for languages was further inspired by her Latvian French teacher which led to studying French and Italian at London University. She also studied in Paris at the Sorbonne University and particularly enjoys reading a wide selection of French Literature including Racine, Molière, Zola and Mauriac. Not only has she organised study trips to Lille and Paris but she also initiated much sought after visits to Italy for Brentwood School pupils and staff including Florence, Siena, Rome and Venice all of which have incorporated her deep love of Renaissance art and music. Indeed, many parents and Old Brentwoods have also enjoyed these artistic, cultural and musical experiences over the years.
Mr Ian Walton
Though Mr Walton came to German relatively late (as a Fifth Former), he was hooked on it from the start. Taken by the language’s possibilities, he won a place to read the subject at St Peter’s, Oxford, gaining a double first in Modern History and Modern Languages. His tutors there imbued him with a lasting fascination with literature, ranging from the ballads of medieval minstrels, through Schiller’s dramas, to twentieth century war novels. Having worked variously as archaeologist, bookseller and road sweeper, he was very glad to eventually alight on Brentwood where he has been able to indulge and impart his love of German to three generations of students. Convinced of the civilising effect of foreign travel and cultures, he has led or accompanied over fifty residential trips to Germany, France, and Spain. His other interests include opera, chess, cricket, French wine and the music of Bob Dylan.