French

Departmental approach to the curriculum

In MFL at Key Stage 3 we aim to develop literacy through the ability to use language effectively for purposes of practical communication; to offer insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where the language is spoken; to encourage positive attitudes to foreign language learning and to speakers of foreign languages as well as a sympathetic approach to other cultures and civilisations and to develop an awareness of the nature of language and language learning.

The MFL curriculum aims to develop students’ understanding of themselves socially and in the context of an international environment as well as provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation. 

All students are encouraged to form a sound base of the skills, language and attitudes required for further study and practical implementation as they move into Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 where the application of tenses and longer sentences as well as more complex grammar is crucial for success. 


 

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

Year 7

 

 

When students arrive at Rickmansworth School they have had a variety of different experiences in relation to their learning of a Modern Foreign Language. Therefore, students are given the opportunity to learn both French and German in Year 7.  Having 3 lessons a fortnight in each language they gain an insight into the basic language and cultures of the target language countries before deciding which language they would like to study, in the majority of cases, until GCSE. There is also the option to continue with both languages with one language being studied in twilight sessions in Years 8 and 9.

As well as being introduced to the basic topics and grammatical rules, students have the option to become involved in the Ricky MFL Bake-Off and the European Day of Languages, the aims of which are to raise awareness of:

  • Europe’s rich linguistic diversity, which must be preserved and enhanced;

  • the need to diversify the range of languages people learn (to include less widely used languages), which results in plurilingualism;

  • the need for people to develop some degree of proficiency in two languages or more to be able to play their full part in a globalised world.

Later in the year, Year 7 learn about the importance of languages in society through the MFL Factor Enrichment day which culminates in an evening of celebration in March each year.

Year 8

In Year 8 students who have opted to study French as their language build on their basic understanding of the key elements covered in Year 7. This involves working on communicating in the past as well as the present tense and using a greater range of language to talk about their daily life.

The highlight of Year 8 is the residential trip to Rue, near Amiens in Northern France. Students have the opportunity to visit the country, see the cultural differences as well as the language they have learnt into practice at the Christmas market we visit the other visits we undertake.

Later in the year we have an MFL Space Challenge (run jointly with the Science Faculty) which highlights to the students the crucial links between these subjects in the workplace.

Year 9

In Year 9 students continue on the development of their language skills. In year 9 we focus on the ability to refer to 3 or more time frames and look at a far greater range of language to not only talk about themselves but also more social and topical issues such as what the future holds and holidays. This provides a crucial springboard to study at Key Stage 4 and prepares the students for the demands of the GCSE course.

In addition to this, students have the opportunity to listen to outside speakers at their Which Way Now Conference arranged by our Careers and Work-related Learning Coordinator about how language skills can be combined with other skills in the workplace to enhance opportunities. There is also an option to visit the BFI on the South-Bank in London for a study day on French film.

Year 10 and 11

We operate a pathway system with roughly 70% of the cohort being selected to continue with their Modern Foreign Language study.

We follow the AQA syllabus which continues to build on the premise that learning a language can bring many benefits. It is a syllabus which expands students' cultural knowledge whilst developing their language skills at the same time. Our KS3 curriculum prepare students for the demands of this course due to its spiralled nature.

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based. 

Theme 1: Identity and culture

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

 

GCSE French has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9).

Students must take all four question papers at the same tier and all question papers must be taken in the same series. 

 

Paper 1: Listening  

What's assessed? - Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language 

How is it assessed? - Exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)  

 

Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally 

Section B – questions in German, to be answered in German or non-verbally 

 

Paper 2: Speaking 

What's assessed? - Communicating and interacting effectively in speech for a variety of purposes How it's assessed • Non-exam assessment 

Role-play – 15 marks ( (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 2 minutes at Higher Tier)

Photo card – 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 3 minutes at Higher Tier) 

General conversation – 30 marks (3–5 minutes at Foundation Tier; 5–7 minutes at Higher Tier)

 

Paper 3: Reading

What's assessed? - Understanding and responding to different types of written language 

How is it assessed? • Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier) 

Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally 

Section B – questions in French, to be answered in French or non-verbally 

Section C – translation from French into English (a minimum of 35 words at Foundation Tier and 50 words at Higher Tier) 

 

Paper 4: Writing

What's assessed? -Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes 

How is it assessed? • Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier) Foundation Tier

Question 1 – message (student produces four sentences in response to a photo)

Question 2 – short passage (student writes a piece of continuous text in response to four brief bullet points, approximately 40 words in total)

Question 3 – translation from English into French (minimum 35 words)

Question 4 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions

Higher Tier 

Question 1 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions

Question 2 – open-ended writing task (student responds to two compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 150 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions

Question 3 – translation from English into French (minimum 50 words)

 

Alongside this there is a further residential trip in year 10 which has in the past seen students visit the Burgundy area. We also support the students through a selection of extra drop-ins, booster sessions and Spring Revision Workshops.

Year 12 and 13

We have also chosen the AQA syllabus for advanced level study in French. The syllabus enables students to develop their linguistic skills alongside their understanding of the culture and society of the countries where French is spoken. There is a broad area of study, with prescribed  aspects for closer examination. Students study how French-speaking society has been shaped, socially and culturally, and how it continues to change. They study aspects of the social context, together with aspects of the artistic life of French-speaking countries, and will also focus on issues such as life for those on the margins of French-speaking society as well as looking at the positive influences that diversity brings. Students will also study aspects of the political landscape in a French-speaking country, looking at immigration from the political perspective and at the way in which political power is expressed through action such as strikes and demonstrations. Teenagers and the extent to which they are politically engaged looks towards the future of political life in French-speaking society.

 

 Throughout their studies, they will learn the language in the context of French-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study Au revoir les enfants (film) and No et moi (text) and will have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice. Assessment tasks will be varied and cover listening, speaking, reading and writing skills

 

Students cover the following themes:

1 Social issues and trends

2 Political and artistic culture  

3 Grammar 

4 Works: a literary text and a film

 

Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing 

What's assessed?  - Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends • Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues • Artistic culture in the French-speaking world • Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world • Grammar

How is it assessed ? - Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes - 50% of A-level  

Questions:

 Listening and responding to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources covering different registers and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. Studio recordings will be used and students will have individual control of the recording. All questions are in French, to be answered with non-verbal responses or in French (30 marks). 

 

 Reading and responding to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. All questions are in French, to be answered with non-verbal responses or in French (50 marks). 

Translation into English; a passage of minimum 100 words (10 marks). 

Translation into French; a passage of minimum 100 words (10 marks). 



 

Paper 2: Writing 

What is assessed? - One text and one film from the list set in the specification • Grammar 

How is it assessed?  Written exam: 2 hours - 20% of A-level 

Questions:

One question in French on a set text from a choice of two questions and one question in French on a set film from a choice of two questions. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation, as appropriate to the work studied. Students are advised to write approximately 300 words per essay.

 

Paper 3: Speaking 

What is assessed? - Individual research project • One of four themes ie Aspects of French speaking society: current trends, Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues, Artistic culture in the French-speaking world, Aspects of political life in the French speaking world

How is it assessed? - Oral exam: 21–23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time) 30% of A-level 

Questions :

Discussion of a sub-theme with the discussion based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes). The student studies the card for 5 minutes at the start of the test

Presentation (2 minutes) and discussion (9–10 minutes) of individual research project

No access to a dictionary during the assessment (including 5 minutes preparation). 

Students are encouraged to visit the target language country either independently or through an organised work experience programme. Students are also encouraged to read authentic texts as well as watch films and other series on platforms such as Netflix.

How can you help your child succeed in French?

 

Independent study outside of lessons is a crucial element of learning a modern foreign language which will improve attainment and ensure students are making good progress. As a parent you may or may not have any understanding of the French language.  However, NO language knowledge is necessary! 

Students will be expected to learn new vocabulary on a regular basis and parents can encourage study of the language and where it can take young people as well as showing an interest in the topics of study. Testing your son or daughter on the words/phrases can be really helpful and give you a real indication of how they are getting on. The department is committed to providing opportunities for students to experience the language abroad and practise their new language skills. A range of educational visits are offered and you will receive details of these throughout the academic year.

Helpful websites and further information

Please find below some websites & resources which students should be using at home or in their free time.

We recommend a number of online resources to help students with their independent learning and consolidation of material encountered in lessons. In addition to this online platforms such as Netflix. Amazon Prime, ALL4 and YouTube all provide access to series/films/clips in the foreign language.


KS3 

www.linguascope.com

(FREE subscriber app also available on iOS [iPad], Android [tablet]) The department subscribes to this website which is a really helpful and fun way to revise vocabulary through different games and activities, sorted by topic. Elementary is aimed at 6-12 year olds, Beginner is aimed at 9-14 and Intermediate is aimed at ages 13-16.

Students are given the username and password.

www.quizlet.com

(also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

www.languagesonline.org.uk

This is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses

BBC Bitesize (French & German)

www.bbc.co.uk/education

A range of activities and videos to practice reading, listening, speaking and writing at KS3 and KS4. 

Zut! (French)

http://zut.org.uk

A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4pm weekdays and at weekends.

www.lyricstraining.com

LyricsTraining is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

www.wordreference.com   

(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.


 

KS4

www.linguascope.com  

(FREE subscriber app also available on iOS [iPad], Android [tablet]) The department subscribes to this website which is a really helpful and fun way to revise vocabulary through different games and activities, sorted by topic. Elementary is aimed at 6-12 year olds, Beginner is aimed at 9-14 and Intermediate is aimed at ages 13-16.

Students are given the username and password.

www.quizlet.com 

(also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

This resource works at its best when students have a free account and ensure they are logged in whenever they use it as this logs their progress.

www.languagesonline.org.uk

This is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses.

www.thisislanguage.com

This is a website we subscribe to for our KS4 students and for which they will be given log-in details. It contains authentic language videos, interactive exercises and awesome games for MFL learning.

www.pearsonactivelearn.com

This website compliments the course text books we use in the classroom. Students will have their own log-ins and it provides the students with online home learning and practice.

BBC Bitesize (French & German)

www.bbc.co.uk/education

A range of activities and videos to practice reading, listening, speaking and writing at KS3 and KS4. 

Zut! (French)

http://zut.org.uk

A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4pm weekdays and at weekends.

www.lyricstraining.com

LyricsTraining is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/ 

A website which allows students to listen to a round-up of the weeks’ news at a slower pace.

www.1jour1actu.com   

A website and search engine for French children.

www.wordreference.com

(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.

 

KS5

www.quizlet.com 

(also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

This resource works at its best when students have a free account and ensure they are logged in whenever they use it as this logs their progress

www.languagesonline.org.uk

This is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses

Zut! (French)

www.zut.org.uk

A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4pm weekdays and at weekends.

www.lyricstraining.com

LyricsTraining is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/

A website which allows students to listen to a round-up of the weeks’ news at a slower pace.

www.1jour1actu.com

A website and search engine for French children.

www.wordreference.com 

(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.

https://www.20minutes.fr

News, off-beat stories and analysis of French and international affairs.

https://www.institut-francais.org.uk/ 


The Institut français is part of a worldwide network promoting French language and culture and encouraging cross-cultural exchange and cultural diversity. They organise a range of events ranging from courses aimed at learners of French to festivals, talks and concerts.