The learning of another language is not only an achievement in itself, but also a window onto another culture and the broader world. French is part of the school curriculum from Early Years to Year 8. Up to the end of Pre-Prep in Year 3 the main focus is on speaking and listening skills. In Main School, from Year 4 onwards, the children practise all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Our lessons are energetic and enjoyable. We practise speaking at every opportunity to promote fluency and confidence. We signpost parts of the school in French. We reinforce accuracy and grammatical awareness at every turn. For those with a particular aptitude, native speakers, or those who may have spent time in France, the French department offers a weekly French Conversation Club.
Every two years, we have a French Day, when lessons are abandoned and the school is given over to all things French. Children in Year 7 enjoy an educational visit to Normandy in September. They stay at a private farmhouse and put their knowledge to the test during a morning at the market. They visit some historical sites and take part in lessons at a French school and many other activities including assault courses, bread making and archery, all conducted in French. The highlight is a walk across the Bay of Mont St Michel with a guide, the source of many happy memories and great team photos.
We also offer the children a chance to taste Spanish, an opportunity which is often enriched by the presence of a small number of Spanish children in the school.
Alan Tamplin, Head of French