We emphasise the importance of all skills, especially the speaking component, as well as a sound grammatical base. In teaching French, we also focus on its communicative and receptive importance. We use whole class tasks, pair-work, and autonomous learning on a regular basis and have integrated modern technology (iPads) into our teaching techniques.
Modern Foreign Languages
First to Third Forms – compulsory for all pupils
In the First Form, we consolidate the foundations laid by primary schools while fully accommodating those pupils who have not been taught French before. We use a topic-based approach so that pupils expand their vocabulary rapidly yet encounter grammatical features from an early stage. After one term we place pupils in sets (two upper sets and two lower sets).
In the Second and Third Forms, we develop pupils’ linguistic skills, knowledge and understanding further which enables them to engage in discussions, or write more extensively employing the past, present, and future tenses. We place pupils into sets in the Third Form.
Fourth and Fifth Forms – GCSE optional subject
- Pearson Edexcel French (1FR0)
- Assessed via four examinations (Listening/Reading/Writing/Speaking).
We teach French in small sets, in dedicated language classrooms, offering you the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways and using a range of technology. The aim of the course is to help you develop the ability to use French effectively and confidently for purposes of practical communication. You will be encouraged to become a confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged learner.
The syllabus provides opportunities for contextualised learning, creative thinking and problem solving, with an emphasis on ‘authenticity’. We are keen to promote the importance of grammar and positive learning skills to engender accurate expression and confidence. Topics covered include family, house and home, local area, school, leisure, future plans, world of work, and the environment.
Sixth Form – A Level optional subject
By selecting French, you will be enthused, challenged, and offered myriad opportunities to excel. Bilingualism benefits the ageing brain and instils better cognitive skills in intelligence and reading tests.
Speaking a second language gives you a clear advantage in life and our French Department is proud of the linguistic competency of its students. We place a strong emphasis on sound grammatical principles, weekly one-to-one speaking classes with a French assistant, and regular exposure to French current affairs.
We will help you hone your speaking and writing skills to ensure authenticity and accuracy; you will also be expected to listen to and read the language outside of the classroom. Lessons are conducted in French and you will be encouraged to work in groups or autonomously, in order to develop sound research skills. Course topics include changes in French society, political and artistic culture, immigration and multiculturism, The Occupation and the Resistance. You will deliver presentations in preparation for the speaking examination special topic, and you will complete a study on the France Algeria crisis of the 1950s and 1960s.
You will have the opportunity to stay in France as part of an immersion trip. You will leave the course fluent, stimulated, and zealous to continue your language studies or employ French in a work environment.
Beyond the classroom: Extend your learning in French with extracurricular opportunities such as our weekly French Club with our French Assistant, get involved with our Prep School pupils during European Day of Languages, take part in our Declamation Competition in French and in national competitions such as the ISMLA Writing Competition, UK Linguistics Olympiad or the Stephen Spender Prize. Do get involved in the organisation of Kimbolton Cultural Club as part of the committee and promote all things French. We are also looking forward to organising cultural visits to the Institut Francais.
- View our Sixth Form Prospectus
Our International Society offers the chance to travel (in school!) through cultures and languages via a varied programme of multilingual films, food and fun. Pupils are also encouraged to join the lunchtime French Club. We also organise other various activities, including making short films and producing plays in French, lectures to Sixth Form students, debates (Joutes oratoires) and French films.
The French Department runs an annual study trip for 4th Form and 6th Form pupils to Montpellier in France, although the location can vary every year. This is an immersion trip where pupils have lessons and explore the cultural side of the subject in an authentic environment. The reviews from pupils attending the trip have been extremely positive. There have also been (along with the Art and History Departments) biennial trips to Paris in the February half-term.