“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”Nelson Mandela

Study of languages gives students a degree of academic rigour and a better understanding of a wide range of current topics and cultures. It widens horizons and imbues a greater tolerance towards different perspectives and ways of life. Competence in a foreign language can greatly enhance career possibilities, whether in its own right, for example in teaching and interpreting or in combination with other skills such as law and the business world. Skilled linguists are particularly appreciated in many fields of employment. 

A level

As at GCSE, the emphasis of the course is on acquiring excellent communication skills. Speaking and listening are as important as reading and writing and the main difference lies in the depth of knowledge expected and the flexibility with which this knowledge can be used.  The course also requires independent thinking and research.  Each student has an individual lesson with the language assistant every week in addition to general conversation in class.

A level content course:

Year 12:

  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends.This covers topics such as family, cyber society, voluntary work and charities.
  • Artistic Culture in the French-speaking world such as world heritage, music and cinema.
  • Grammar and Translation
  • Film studied:” La Haine” by Mathieu Kassovitz

Year 13:

  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues.This covers topics such as diversity, marginalisation, criminality.
  • Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world such as politics, the right to vote, strikes and political engagement.
  • Grammar and Translation
  • Literature studied: “No et Moi “ by Delphine de Vigan
  • Individual Research Project.


The French department organises cultural visits to the target language country for Year 12 and 13 in Rouen or Paris. These not only provide an insight into modern France, but also give a great deal of historical background to the course. The students are encouraged to undertake a week of work experience abroad through the company Halsbury during October or February half terms, or at Easter.  Some students can decide to spend three weeks during the summer holidays in a language school either in Montpellier or in Vichy. The students regularly go to the BFI and the French Institute.  They are also encouraged to run film clubs, language societies and organise assemblies.