FOUNDATION | EXAMINATION | ADVANCED
The language of our closest European neighbour, French is a widely-used foreign language for business and travel. It is the official language of more than 20 countries, a common second language in many more – and is in high demand as a business language.
The fundamental aim of the MFL Faculty is to provide each student with a sound understanding of the basics of the target language and culture relative to their ability. This is achieved through high expectations of work and behaviour from all our students and staff, a rigorous learning process and an exciting curriculum. We aim to broaden horizons and experience life outside our community by not just developing listening, speaking, reading and writing skills but also widening intercultural understanding. We provide an engaging and relevant curriculum and our lesson offer a wide range of activities to make learning an engaging and positive experience.
Why learn a language? On average, people who use languages in their jobs earn 20% more. A customer on the Internet is three times more likely to buy when addressed in his own language. 74% of employers are looking to employ school leavers with a languages skill. 75% of the world's population does not speak English at all. We teach languages so that our students become independent learners and have great collaborative and communication skills. Other advantages of language learning are seeing things with a different perspective, being better at multitasking and problem solving and make sharper judgement calls. Learning another language also improves memory and quality of life allowing people to enjoy travelling and experience different cultures.
During the Foundation stage of the Kingsbury Curriculum (Years 7 and 8), students study one of three languages (Spanish, French or German), depending on their form group. They gain a good understanding of phonics and learn vocabulary from a range of topics. They also acquire the basics of grammar and develop skills for effective language learning through the development of language learning strategies, embedded in the curriculum. Students are set homework once a week in the foundation stage, with a great emphasis on vocabulary learning.
Topics covered in Year 7 are:
- The essential basics (greetings, alphabet, phonics, numbers, days, months)
- Myself and my family
- My school (school subjects, timetable, school day)
- My hobbies (sports, free time activities)
Year 8 topics are:
- My area (town/village)
- Holidays (present and future holidays)
- Hobbies (TV, music, reading, technology)
- Paris (attractions, past holidays)
- My identity (personality, relationships, clothes)
In the Examination stage, (Year 9, 10 & 11) students continue to study vocabulary from a range of topics, including more specialised vocabulary needed for the GCSE examination. They continue to develop their understanding of grammar and begin to focus on the specific skills needed to succeed in the GCSE course. Language learning and examination strategies continue to be a focus in lessons and homework is set twice a week. Students also have the chance to participate in our very popular residential trip to France as part of our Excel Day programme, a great opportunity for them to have first-hand experience of the target language culture and customs and to practice the language they have been learning since Year 7.
Students will prepare for the AQA French GCSE, linear specification. Assessment at the examination stage takes place through 4 modules: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, each of worth 25% of the final grade. There are three themes covered (Theme one: Identity and Culture, Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest, Theme 3: Current and future study and employment). Constant feedback from the teacher is provided and rigorous data tracking and intervention is in place. Students are expected to complete homework twice a week in the Examination Stage and to use the wide variety of resources provided to revise vocabulary constantly.
For the Examination stage, we recommend the following:
- Studio AQA GCSE French Foundation / Higher textbook (Pearson)
- Studio AQA GCSE French Grammar and Translation Workbook (Pearson)
- Revise AQA French GCSE 9-1 Revision Guide (Pearson)
- Revise AQA French GCSE 9-1 Revision Workbook (Pearson)
- Oxford Learner’s French Dictionary (OUP)
- Subscription to Ça va magazine (Mary Glasgow).
In the Sixth Form, students prepare for the AQA A-level in French. Through the study of various aspects of modern life and current issues, using the medium of the French language, students deepen their knowledge of the language and culture of French-speaking countries and learn to express their views, both verbally and in written form, in a clear and structured way.
In the Sixth Form we recommend the following:
- AQA AS/A2 French textbook (Nelson Thornes)
- Mot à Mot New Advanced French Vocabulary (Hodder Education)
- Bescherelle, La conjugaison pour tous (Hatier) Grammar book
- Collins Robert Concise French Dictionary
- subscription to Chez Nous magazine (Mary Glasgow).
We also recommend reading French novels towards the end of Year 12 and throughout Year 13. Any of the books suggested in the AQA textbook would suit, but also:
- The Game of Thrones books, translated into French
- The Twilight books, translated into French
- Le Petit Prince
- Le Grand Meaulne
- La Mare au Diable
- La Gloire de mon pere
- Jean de Florette
- Manon des Sources
- Le chateau de ma mere
- La nuit des temps
Target Language use is expected from the teachers in the Faculty but no child should be left confused. Therefore, at times, the use of English is envisaged, especially when discussing the learning process and more complex grammatical points. We are very lucky to have the support of a Foreign Language Assistant, who works closely with the classroom teacher and focuses mainly on helping students develop their speaking skills.
For students about to commence the foundation and examination stages of the Kingsbury Curriculum, we recommend relevant reading in the school’s curriculum handbooks (see links to the left).
Beyond the formal curriculum, the Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages offers students the opportunity to study a second foreign language in Years 8 and 9 (both languages can then be continued at GCSE level). A programme of enrichment activities is in place as part of the Kingsbury Excel Day programme
For more information, please contact the Head of French, Ms M Christodoulou.
Links to websites:
Other revision websites: