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Head of Department

Mrs S Mullan


Teaching Staff

Mrs A Mc Cambridge

Mrs F Simpson


Bienvenue au département français!


The foundation of the work of the French department may be outlined under the heading of the following aims:


  • To develop the ability to use French for purposes of practical communication.

  • To develop a sound foundation of the language skills and attitudes required for further study work and leisure.

  • To make French an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating and successful experience and thus encourage positive attitudes to French.

  • To develop an awareness, understanding and appreciation of French culture and civilisation and in so doing develop a better understanding of oneself and one’s own country.

  • To foster sympathetic and positive attitudes to speakers of French.

  • To develop an awareness of the nature of language and language learning in general.

  • To develop transferable skills of a more general nature (e.g. analysis, aural discrimination, memorising, drawing of inferences)

  • To encourage the perception of foreign language learning as a means of improving geographical and occupational mobility.

In meeting the above aims, the teaching and learning of French reflects the broad aims of the school’s curriculum by promoting the personal and social development of the pupils and by incorporating the cross-curricular themes.


In line with the above, the department believes that it is very important that pupils learning French spend some time in France using the language which they have learnt and are afforded the opportunity to experience French culture and tradition.  Therefore, students in year 10,11 & 12 are given the opportunity to participate in the department’s bi-annual GCSE trip to Paris.


The delivery of French is effected by one full French teacher and two part French teachers.  A French language assistant is employed with a view to offering conversation classes at AS and A2 level and team-teaching of Junior and GCSE classes.  Each pupil studying French at AS/A2 Level will have 2 individual timetabled classes per week with the French Assistant. Three classrooms have been designated for the teaching of French.  All classrooms are equipped with a range of modern audio resources linking interactive whiteboards and computers.  ICT is a very important aspect both in the teaching and learning of French at the College.  The ICT suite in the College is used to enhance pupil learning of French and the regular use of ICT encourages pupils to become independent learners.

Course & Content


Year 8 pupils have 3 periods of French per week and year 9 & 10 pupils have 4 periods of French per week. At KS3 students focus on four key -skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.   

The main topics taught are:

  • Year 8: personal details, family, description of self and others, alphabet, numbers, colours, school/classroom objects, classroom instructions and pets. 

  • Year 9: house, local area, time, buildings, directions, daily routine, school, food & drink, hobbies & holidays.

  • Year 10: family, jobs, local area, weather, daily routine, past events (last weekend, yesterday evening), TV, going out, making excuses, clothes, shopping, food and drink, shopping for food, eating out, countries, languages, nationalities and holidays.



At GCSE, the contexts for learning are:


1. Identity, lifestyle and culture.

Myself, my family, my friends, my relationships and choices, social media & new technology, free time, leisure & daily routine, culture, customs, festivals and celebrations.

2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest.

My local area & the wider environment, community involvement, social & global issues, travel & tourism.

3. School life, studies and the world of work.

My studies & school life, extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs & money management, future plans & career.

Students are assessed equally in all 4 skill- areas: Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing, (each 25%)


Unit 1: Listening: There are 2 tiers of entry:  Foundation & Higher Students answer 12 questions.  Four of these are the same for both tiers.  Responses include: selection; gap-filling; answering questions in English and answering questions in French.


Unit 2: Speaking: There is 1 tier of entry.  The test lasts 7-12 minutes, plus 10 minutes of preparation time.  Each test includes two role-plays, both from the same Context for Learning, lasting up to 2 minutes, and a general conversation on two topics, one from each of the other two Contexts for Learning.  Each topic takes up to 4 minutes.  Students prepare the first conversation topic in advance from the Context for Learning provided by CCEA.


Unit 3: Reading:  There are 2 tiers of entry:  Foundation & Higher. Students answer 12 questions.  Four of these are the same in both tiers.  Responses include: selection; gap-filling; answering questions in English; answering questions in French and translating short sentences from French into English.


Unit 4: Writing:  There are 2 tiers of entry: Foundation & Higher.

Students answer 4 questions.  One of these is the same in both tiers. Responses include: a listing and short phrase task (foundation tier only); short phrase/sentence response in French (both tiers); short responses in French to one or more pieces of text (higher tier only); translation of short sentences from English into French (both tiers) and one structured, extended writing task in French from a choice of three (both tiers)


Students study the CCEA course for AS and A2.

AS course:
Module 1: Speaking. (30% of AS Level & 12% of A level):  This unit is in two parts. 1.Presentation: the candidate gives a presentation in French based on an AS level theme related to an aspect of a French-speaking country or community (3 mins approx.)

2.  Conversation:   The candidate conducts and engages in a conversation in French with the examiner (8 mins approx.).

Total time: 11 mins.

Module 2:  Listening, Reading and Use of Language. (40% of AS Level & 16% of A2 Level):   This unit is in three parts.

 Section A: Listening:  Students answer two questions based on two discrete passages recorded on individual CD. In question 1, students respond in French and in question 2, students respond in English. (40 mins)
Section B: Reading: Students answer one set of questions in French based on one passage and translate a passage from French into English (50 mins).
Section C: Use of Language: In questions 1-4, students complete a series of short grammatical and lexical exercises.  In question 5 students translate short sentences from English into French (30 mins).

Total time: 2 hours

Module 3: Extended Writing.  (30% of AS Level & 12% of A2 Level).   The students write one essay in French in response to a set film or literary text.

Total time:1 hour



AS : 40% of A Level


AS  topics

For modules 1 & 2 students will need to have studied the following topic areas: different family structures, roles, responsibilities & relationships within families, challenges for families, intergenerational issues, influences on young people, physical well-being, risk-taking behaviour, dealing with stress & challenges, hobbies & interests, the arts, film, fashion & design, social media & new technology, holidays, festivals & tourism.


A2 course

Module 1: Speaking (18%).   This unit is in 2 parts.

  1.   Discussion: Students introduce and discuss one individual research project based on a cultural aspect of a French-speaking country or community, a historical period from the twentieth century of a French-speaking community or a region of a French- speaking community (6 mins approx.)

2.  Conversation (9 mins approx.)

Total time: 15 mins.

Module 2:  Listening & Reading: (24%)

Section A :  Listening:  Students answer two sets of questions based on two discrete passages recorded on individual CD.   In question 1, students answer in French and in question 2, students answer in English. (45 mins)

Section B:  Reading:  Students answer two sets of questions and complete one summary exercise and one translation exercise.  In question 1, students complete a gap-filling exercise in French.  In question 2, students answer a set of questions in French based on one passage.  In question 3, students read a passage in French and summarise it in English.  In question 4, students translate a passage from English into French. (2 hours)

Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes


Module 3: Extended Writing (18%):   Students write one essay in French in response to a set literary text.

Total time : 1 hour.

A2 topics

For modules 1 and 2 students will need to have studied the following topic areas: part-time jobs, education & employment, career planning, young people and democracy, European citizenship, societal attitudes & young people, equality/inequality, discrimination/prejudice, poverty at home & abroad, immigration & emigration, multicultural society & cultural identity, causes, consequences & resolution of conflict, sustainable living & environmental issues.   The areas within these topics studied at A2 are an extension of the AS topics and students are expected to deal with much more complex issues.


Through the study of French, students develop their communication skills and learn to communicate effectively in a wide range of different situations in France or in a French speaking country.  They are also able to communicate with foreign visitors to this country and will feel part of a broader culture. Studying French enhances students’ understanding of how their own language works and is a stimulating and rewarding experience. French is taught on all continents and is the working language of both the European Union and the International Olympic Committee.  All of the above, make French language graduates extremely marketable to employers.   In today’s global economy, universities and employers seek to recruit students who are proficient in at least one modern language at GCSE & A Level.  French graduates are recruited not only for their linguistic abilities but also for the particular set of skills which they possess and which only come from studying a language.  The skills accrued from learning a language are transferable and can be seamlessly applied to any area of learning for life and work.  French graduates are, by nature, excellent communicators, resilient, adaptable, know how to persevere at tasks, know how to manage their time, can meet deadlines effectively and have experience of living abroad.

A level French is particularly useful for the following careers:  law, European law, business & finance, teaching, translation & interpretation, hospitality, tourism and any career in which the person wishes to work in Europe.  The presentation and general conversation aspect of A level French provide useful practice in interpersonal skills which are essential for any career involving personal relationships.

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