The French department is part of the Modern Languages department, situated in the Library block. French is a thriving subject with a substantial take up at GCSE, A level and within the IB diploma programme.

In our modern world of global interdependence, many employers highly value the ability to speak a foreign language and our aim is for our pupils to express themselves fluently and confidently and to understand spoken and written French competently, as well as introducing them to the society and culture of the Francophone world.

Now that research has shown that learning a language boosts brain power – enhancing thinking skills and memory abilities – many pupils are choosing to add a language to a portfolio of other subjects. This is partly to enjoy the cognitive benefits that language learning brings to their whole programme of study, and also because Modern Languages are viewed by universities as ‘facilitating’ subjects meaning they leave open a wide range of options for university study.


Exam board: AQA

In Year 9, pupils start their GCSE course and almost all pupils will have studied French before. When moving into Years 10 and 11, pupils are put into set based on ability, and this allows us to choose whether a pupil is examined at either foundation or higher level in Year 11. We follow the AQA French course and this provides an excellent grounding for A level and IB study. Pupils take final exams in all four essential skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.

We benefit from excellent Language Assistants and pupils will have increased exposure as they near their GCSE exam.


Exam board: Edexcel

Entry requirements: Grade 6 in GCSE French.

The A level French course is studied at Sixth Form, looking at the general themes of Changes in French Society and Artistic and Political Culture in Year 12 and Immigration and the French multicultural society and Occupation and Resistance in Year 13. There is also study of literature and film and the opportunity for an individual project into an area of choice as a basis for the oral exam.

Many pupils particularly enjoy the Cultural Studies part of the A2 in which French literature and cinema are studied as an assessed part of the course. The exam in Year 13 consists of a speaking exam, and a Listening, Reading & Translation and Writing exam.


Entry requirements: No previous knowledge of the language is required but you must have studied another language at GCSE.

The five themes of the IB French ab initio course are:

  • Identities
  • Experiences
  • Human Ingenuity
  • Social Organisation
  • Sharing the planet

Entry requirements: Grade 6 in IGCSE or equivalent.

The Language B assessment consists of a speaking assessment in the second year of the course, a listening paper, a reading comprehension paper, and a written tasks paper. The IB course covers a vast range of exciting topics, and at Higher Level, there is also a literature element of choice which forms the basis of the oral exam. 

The five themes of the IB French B course are:

  • Identities
  • Experiences
  • Human Ingenuity
  • Social Organisation
  • Sharing the planet

The Department organises theatre and cinema trips for French pupils. Every year, we enjoy the French play put on by the UEA French Department in Norwich. We have seen Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Rhinocéros in recent years.

We also have links with France and facilitate individual trips where pupils improve their fluency as well as their individual confidence.

The French Department also is involved in wider Modern Foreign Languages Department events such as Translation workshops and Language Days, inviting specialists and native speakers to add their input to our full, varied and exciting curriculum.

We benefit from excellent language assistants and all Sixth Form pupils have a weekly individual speaking slot with the French Assistant, whilst pupils in Years 9 – 11 will have increased exposure as they near their GCSE exam.

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A level
IB Diploma