French is taught formally throughout Key Stages 3 and 4 where an emphasis is placed on acquiring grammar and vocabulary, as far as possible through the medium of French. This enables pupils to communicate through speaking and writing, as well as being able to understand spoken and written French. All pupils study French until the end of Key Stage 4 when they take a GCSE in the subject.
The benefits of learning a foreign language cannot be underestimated. Language acquisition helps develop strong cognitive skills, such as better concept formation, mental flexibility, multitasking, listening skills and problem-solving, in addition to improving social interaction and encouraging connection between peers.
We have close links with a school and music centre in France and work with our French counterparts to provide opportunities for our pupils to collaborate and to meet each other either in France or here in Alderney, either through musical activities or school visits. We are lucky to have support from the local community and the States of Alderney for these activities.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum:
Pupils use the Oxford Allez! course which includes two textbooks to which all pupils have digital access online so that they can use them at home or in school. Pupils have three periods a week of French and can expect either a vocabulary/grammar learning or written homework each week. The course fully prepares pupils for progression to GCSE through the following topics:
- Personal information, physical appearance, favourite objects
- Personality, family, school subjects, friends
- School, home and animals
- Local area
- Sport and leisure
- Daily life and issues in francophone countries
- France and other countries
- Entertainment and advertising
- Issues for teenagers
- A balanced diet
- Parties and festivals
- Transport and holidays
- Jobs and ambitions
Key Stage 4 Curriculum
Pupils use the Oxford AQA GCSE Higher textbook to prepare them for GCSE. The qualification is assessed via four terminal examinations in listening, speaking, reading and writing. All four skills are equally weighted in the final result and the four exams can be taken at either Foundation Tier or Higher Tier - although you cannot take examinations in a mixture of tiers. Pupils have three periods of French per week and can expect two relatively short homeworks every week, one that involves learning vocabulary or grammar for a test and one where they will do a grammar exercise, a translation or a listening, reading or writing task.
Themes and subtopics at GCSE:
- Identity and Culture
- Me, my family and friends
- Technology in everyday life
- Free-time activities
- Customs and Festivals
- Local, national, international and global areas of interest
- Home, town, neighbourhood and region
- Social issues
- Global issues
- Travel and tourism
- Current and future study and employment
- My studies
- Life at school and college
- Education post-16
- Jobs, career choices and ambitions
In addition, all pupils regularly use the online vocabulary acquisition ‘Memrise’ to learn vocabulary and a number of other language websites.