The French Department consists of 3 well-qualified and committed teachers who deliver the language in creative and varied ways. This might include the use of games on the Interactive Whiteboard, pair work to practise speaking, studying French poetry or more traditional exploration of the grammar. The French Department has access to 30 laptops which can be used in our classrooms to support and extend our students’ learning. In addition, we have many resources including CDs, bi-lingual dictionaries, the website Memrise, textbooks and workbooks.
Key Stage 3
In years 7 and 8 students may study French or Spanish exclusively or possibly a mixture of the two languages. This will vary from year to year and from set to set. We aim to build on any work they have been doing in primary school, so that by the end of year 8 they have a sound ability to describe themselves and others and can talk about their holiday plans. We assess our year 7 and 8 students’ Growth Mind-set using our Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. We encourage our students to aim high and regularly discuss ways in which they can progress to the next stage of learning. Assessments may take the form of Modular Tests, Mini Tests, Vocab tests, Speaking tests and peer-assessment of written work they undertake in the classroom. Homework will be set each week and will be available on the Show My Homework/Satchel site.
Key Stage 4
At the beginning of year 9, students who have selected French as an option, will start working towards the GCSE qualification set by the AQA Examination Board. The New GCSE qualification which we began teaching in September 2015 comprises 3 main themes. These themes are: - Theme 1 - Identity and culture; Theme 2 - Local, national, international and global areas of interest and Theme 3 – Current and future study and employment. Within these themes, students will develop their skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. All these skill areas carry equal weighting (25% each) and students will be entered exclusively at either foundation level or higher level. They will be examined in these skills areas at the end of year 11. Speaking is assessed via a final examination in which students complete a role-play, answer questions about a photograph and then hold a general conversation on two topics with their teacher. Writing is assessed via an examination of approximately 1 hour in length. At foundation level students have to write 4 sentences about a picture stimulus; write 40 words in French based on 4 bullet points, translate 5 sentences into French and write 90 words for an article or letter on a familiar topic. At higher level students write 90 words for an article or letter on a familiar topic; write 150 words for a leaflet, website or article and then translate a paragraph of English into French. The listening exam is approximately 40 minutes long. For Section A the questions and answers are in English and for Section B the questions and answers are in French. The reading exam is approximately 50 minutes long and in Section A the questions and answers are in English. In Section B, the questions and answers are in French.
During the 3 year examination course, students will be assessed at the end of each module of work via mock papers in all 4 skill areas. They will be given weekly homework to complete via the Show My Homework/Satchel site and there will be a strong emphasis on learning homework in preparation for mock tests and the final exams. We also strongly encourage our students to regularly use the Memrise website which we demonstrate in class as this site will help students learn the 2,000 words needed for the GCSE French exam. We assess our year 9, 10 and 11 students using GCSE grades 9-1. As for KS3, we encourage our students to aim high and regularly discuss ways in which they can progress to the next grade.
The school regularly offers educational visits abroad to enhance the learning experience and our last trip to Paris for year 9, 10 and 11 students took place from the 13th – 16th February 2016. Our teachers also often hold after school revision/exam practice classes to support students with their examinations. These sessions will be announced to students and published in the bulletin.