Throughout Key Stages 3 & 4 we encourage the girls to present French orally to their peers, building both language and public speaking skills which will stand them in good stead in the future.  The use of ICT is of key importance in our Faculty both for creative tasks, and for finding out about France and its culture. Pupils regularly use the internet to find out about France and its people. They then present their project either orally, using the interactive whiteboard, or in the form of a written project. Games and songs are popular as a means of teaching the syllabus, particularly with Years 7 & 8. Year 7 pupils create inventive raps which help with the acquisition of language and pronunciation. All Modern Language classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards which can be used for games as well as for presenting new material. Moving text around the board appeals to all pupils, not just the kinaesthetic learners. ICT also allows the girls to present their work professionally to the rest of the class. IT labs and the new multi-media lab allow us to use the languages websites we subscribe to effectively. The new multi-media lab adds a new dimension to the way the girls practise speaking and listening and create dialogues.  It provides essential practice for public examinations and adds a fun element to speaking, as it places the girls in charge of their own recording.

Language Leaders (see below for more information) In Year 10 Language Leaders often act as mentors for girls new to the school or pupils in Key Stage 3 who need extra help. They also help to prepare y9 pupils for their end of year speaking test.

Year 7

All pupils study French. Most now have some experience of French in their primary schools so we advance fairly rapidly and ensure that all pupils cover new material. It is necessary to consolidate their writing and listening skills. From the outset we encourage them to use connectives to link their sentences. They also learn to use different tenses.

Year 8

The focus is still on teaching the girls additional ways to build more complex sentences and to understand and use several different tenses more accurately to express themselves in a variety of situations. We also cover a wider range of topics.

We offer a Year 8 trip in the summer term to the Opal Coast. The trip lasts for four days and students get the chance to visit many different attractions in northern Normandy and are encouraged to practise their French with native speakers wherever possible!

Year 9

By the end of this year, many girls are beginning to use up to 5 different tenses confidently. They can express their ideas quite fluently in speaking and writing and can select the tense they need accurately. Some are already working at an extremely high level, beyond that expected at Key Stage 3. 

Years 10 and 11

In Key Stage 4 we do focus on examination skills, but without losing sight of the cultural element in the study of a language.  From September 2009 Year 10 girls started the new AQA GCSE specification. Creativity and fun are also important in our delivery of French, as is the awareness of French news and views via the links on our VLE.  In March 2010, we ran our first French Exchange for Year 10 with students from the Collège du Sacré-Coeur in Versailles, just outside Paris. 48 girls took part in this exchange and, having hosted their French partners in their own families for a week, spent a delightful week with their host families in Versailles visiting the sights of Paris, spending time in our partner school and significantly improving their spoken French. This exchange will continue for each Year 10 cohort. The French assistant adds a touch of authenticity to proceedings, and all Key Stage 4 pupils see her regularly. 

The Modern Languages Faculty runs an accredited Language Leader Award Scheme.  Mrs Callaghan runs occasional training sessions for staff from other schools who wish to sep up similar schemes, and has taken some of our Leaders to National Conferences in order to demonstrate what they do.  As part of the scheme the Leaders learn to do many different things, for example: they visit local primary schools and give lessons in French, German and Spanish. They tailor their lesson to fit in with programme being followed by the primary school.  They run activities in the lunch hour for younger girls in years 7 and 8 such as a Spanish Tapas bar, a French café, a shopping experience, a pantomime, interactive whiteboard games, and different activities to celebrate the European Day of Languages and Bastille Day. They also visit normal language lessons in DCHS to provide additional oral and writing practice for the younger girls. They are a valuable additional tool in the language classroom as younger pupils look up to them and yet feel able to ask them for help. The scheme offers the leaders the chance to improve their own language skills (particularly their awareness of their own pronunciation) and confidence, to be creative, to plan and organise activities, to adapt them when the unexpected happens, to develop a whole range of presentational skills, to work as a member of a team and as a team leader. Being a Language Leader entails commitment and enforces good time management. The Language Leaders are thrilled and surprised when new year 7 pupils come and say that they remember their visit to their primary school and the lesson they gave!


Years 7, 8 and 9:

Girls are assessed in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing at the end of each half-term. They are awarded a level in each of the four skills (LSRW) and a percentage for their overall performance in the test. Typically, Year 7s will progress from levels 1 to 4, Year 8s will progress to level 5 or 6 and Year 9s will progress to level 6 or 7 by the end of an academic year. Level 4 requires the comprehension or production of short texts, level 5 requires understanding and production of the present and past tenses, level 6 requires the understanding and production of present, past and future tenses, and level 7 requires understanding and production of five tenses (past perfect, past imperfect, present, future and conditional) as well as the ability to structure a piece clearly, linking sections well.

Years 10 and 11:

GCSE assessment is divided between the four skills as follows:

Listening = 20%

Reading = 20%

Speaking = 30 %

Writing = 30%

The Listening and Reading exams are taken in the summer of Year 11 and cover all topics studied throughout the GCSE course. Speaking and Writing are now examined by internally-conducted Controlled Assessment. Girls will complete three speaking assessments and three writing assessments throughout their course and the best two in each skill will be submitted to AQA. The schedule for controlled assessments is as follows:

Year 10:

Half-terms 1-6



Year 11:

Half-terms 1-6






None - explain assessment format at end of unit



Il faut bosser!

Writing Assessment 2



Mon temps libre

Practice Writing Assessment




Speaking Assessment 2



Là où j’habite

Practice Speaking Assessment



Mode de vie

Writing Assessment 3




Writing Assessment 1



Le monde en danger

Speaking Assessment 3


None - Summer Exams



GCSE Exams



Le collège


Speaking Assessment 1



GCSE Exams