In the French department, we aim to widen students’ horizons through enriching their knowledge of the French language and culture, as well as their awareness of different Francophone communities around the world.
Our KS3 curriculum is designed to quickly build students’ skillsets, so that they can engage with the language as soon as possible, across the 4 skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
In Year 7, students study an initial Bienvenue module, in which we cover French phonics and spellings, language to use in the classroom setting and the basics of giving personal information about oneself. We then go on to study Avoir & Etre, as an introduction to using French verbs, a module on school, where students can express and justify their opinions, and finally a module on discussing their local area.
In Year 8, students begin with a module on TV&Film, focusing on developing their skills of giving and understanding complex opinions. They then complete a module on Paris, where we introduce using the past tense, a module on French music, covering the future tense, and finally a module on Food & Drink, to develop their transactional language and experiment with spoken role play scenarios.
In Year 9, students are covering GCSE content and the key idea is accuracy with tenses and achieving linguistic spontaneity. They begin with a module on La Famille, then move to cover describing Francophone countries, les Vacances, Healthy Living and final Education and Work. Throughout the year, they cover GCSE content such as photocard tasks, role plays, spontaneous written work and suitable reading and listening texts. During the year, students are offered the chance to join a residential trip to Normandy, which gives them an authentic environment to practise their French communication skills.
At GCSE, students have the opportunity to study French for 3 hours a week if they opt to continue their studies. They study the AQA French GCSE specification, which uses the 9 – 1 grading system.
The GCSE in French consists of four externally examined papers based on the following skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each skill counts for 25% of the final grade. Each paper is available at Foundation or Higher tier.
The topics covered include: Identity and Culture (self, family, hobbies, technology, French festivals and customs), Local, National and International Areas (town, social issues, the environment) and Study and Employment (school, plans for the future, jobs). Threaded through these topical modules are grammatical skills and a continued emphasis on spontaneity.
The 4 papers are as follows:
Paper 1: Listening and understanding in French. Students are assessed on their understanding of standard spoken French by one or more speakers in a range of public and social settings. Students answer questions in both English and French based on what they understand the recorded speakers to have said.
Paper 2: Speaking in French. Students are assessed on their ability to communicate and interact effectively through speaking in French for different purposes and in different settings. There are three tasks – a role play, where students speak as in an authentic situation (in a restaurant, at the cinema etc), a photocard task, where they describe what they can see and respond to questions linked to the image, and finally between 4 and 6 minutes of general conversation questions.
Paper 3: Reading and understanding in French. Students are assessed on their understanding of written French across a range of different types of texts, including adverts, emails, letters, articles and French literary texts, with questions in both English and French. There is also a short translation from French into English.
Paper 4: Writing in French. Students are assessed on their ability to communicate effectively through writing in French for different purposes and audiences. Students are required to express ideas and opinions in French.