The French Department

High Expectations, Strong Support, High Achievement

Head of Department: Mr D Brittain (Head of Modern Languages)

Behind our teaching is the belief that all students are capable of excelling in French.

View our key resources here:

KS3 FRENCH (Years 8 and 9)

During the first two years of French at Grosvenor, our focus is on embedding key vocabulary and teaching accurate pronunciation and intonation. Moreover, we encourage pupils to have fun and make mistakes in order to learn.

Students are encouraged to chant, sing, imitate, again and again in order to learn the differences between French and English pronunciation.

We are keen to vary our approach to teaching and learning and therefore we draw on a range of resources including language games, youtube videos, current news articles and an in-house produced pamphlet called, “French, it’s virtually English!” in which we provide memory hooks for learning vocabulary and a guide to pronunciation, where we use English phonics to explain French pronunciation. Eg:

French                  Mnemonic                                                          Pronunciation                    English

Cheval (m)          chivalry associated with knights                               sheuh-vaal                          horse

Escargot(m)         Look how slow does the ‘es’ car go!                         Ess-caar-go                        Snail

This pamphlet will be used by students from Year 8 through to GCSE and beyond. It allows pupils to challenge themselves to the best of their own ability.

We do not subscribe to a text book as we feel that we are able to produce varied and current resources more efficiently by ourselves.

KS3 FRENCH (Year 10)

During Year 10, our focus moves away from phrase-based learning towards a learning approach which focuses more heavily on grammar. The key areas of grammar on which we focus are:

> tense differentiation

> use of modal verbs (eg. I want to go, where the verb ‘want’ is used in conjunction with another verb, here, ‘to go’)

> Rendering phrases negative

> creating questions

> using the object pronoun, ‘it’

The other area of focus which remains as a constant in our tuition from Year 10 onwards is that of paraphrasing.

This is where we tutor our pupils to find ways around linguistic problems.

Eg. If a student is required to translate, “I was keen to leave”, we will encourage him or her to focus on communicating the information in the correct tense. Therefore, an answer such as “J’ai voulu aller” which means “I wanted to go” would be marked as correct.

During Year 10, it is our aim is to prepare our students for GCSE French and by the end of this academic year, pupils are able to discuss and write about holidays in the present, past and future, which sets them up well for the challenges of GCSE French in Year 11.


In Year 10, we offer three 90 minute after-school catch-up sessions per year, each fuelled by pizza (funded by the pupils). In these, we look to work closely with those who are struggling and have not met their potential, as indicated by common assessment tasks.


The majority of homeworks that are set during this year are learning homeworks. Pupils are tested individually on their learning and we encourage parents to test pupils on their learning before their teacher tests them on what they have been asked to learn. We believe that progress is dependent on a three pronged approach where parents, pupils and teachers work together.

GCSE FRENCH (Year 11 and Year 12) (CCEA)

The current GCSE (2015-2016) is based on 60% controlled assessment and 40% end of year exam.

The 60% controlled assessment is divided into 30% on two Speaking Exams and 30% on two Written exams.

The 40% is divided into a Reading exam worth 20% and a Listening exam worth 20%.

The 60% controlled assessment assesses the student’s ability to produce French, the 40% assesses the ability to recognise it.

Our grammar / paraphrasing approach, begun in year 10 is continued and developed in Years 11 and 12 in order to allow pupils to create French of an ever more complex nature, thereby responding to the requirements of the Speaking and Writing tests.

In order to prepare for the Listening and Reading tests, we spend considerable time reading current news articles, engaging students in word learning games and quizzes, completing past papers, blank-fill exercises and completing on-line listening homeworks. Our current (2015-2016) on-line resource is called Yabla and is used extensively by students in order to deepen their listening and reading skills. This site can be visited at

AS/A2 French (CCEA)

We encourage students to look at A level French as a two-year course. There are elements of grammar and expression that take time to master and students should not expect to make lightning-fast progress. Rather, steady consolidated learning leads to fluency and we expect our students to reach near fluency by the end of their A level course. Commonly, we would expect students to score a grade or two grades higher at A2 than AS.

At A level, students will deepen the core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as studying a film and a short literary work, which can be a novel, play or collection of poetry.

Areas of language are marked as follows:


We attempt to make learning as relevant and current as possible. In most classes will, for example, look at that day’s news and read and listen to current broadcasts.

We employ a language assistant from a French-speaking country and students can generally to be tutored on a 1 to 4 ratio at AS and a 1 to 2 ratio at A2. 35% of the exam depends on speaking performance so we feel that this authentic language tuition is vital to the success of our students.

At A level, we make use of Yabla in order to improve listening and reading skills and grammar classes are delivered almost entirely in French.

In conjunction with the resources already mentioned we use two in-house booklets called, “French for Independent Learners 1” and, as one might guess, “French for Independent Learners 2”. These booklets can be downloaded below and are self-testing documents in which the students can write and which they keep. Students are expected to complete these by Christmas and we spend the remaining year and a half consolidating the grammar that they present.

At A level, students are expected to learn independently. However, teachers are there to enjoy helping.

Our teaching tends to be tailored to the needs of individual students and around a third of all teaching time available will be spent on a one-to-one basis where the student and teacher work together on clearly targeted goals.

While we expect pupils to work independently, we do not forget the importance of testing, and pupils will be tested on their learning in nearly every class and will asked to record their progress. This provides them, their parents and their teachers with clear evidence of achievement.