‘’L’homme qui sait deux langues en vaut deux.’’ Translation: ‘ ‘The man who knows two languages is worth two men.’’ French Proverb.
We currently offer French straight through from Year 7 to GCSE. From the outset we get started with how to greet people, introduce ourselves and talk about where we live, our family and pets. The course is vibrant and highlights how easy French is to learn. Students discover that 40 per cent of the English words that they use every day are in fact French or are derived from French words. They find that they already know so much without knowing it!
Everyday words such as ‘table’, ‘chair’ & ‘paper’ have their roots in French – boosting English literacy skills as students see patterns in language. Similarly words such as ‘cent’ and ‘mille’ are used in Mathematics showing students the credible links that French has across the curriculum.
The new GCSE specification covers three key themes to improve knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the French Language, French cultural traditions and the wider French-speaking world. Through the two-year course students build vocabulary and develop confidence and flair, taking ownership of their French. Through first-rate and explicit teaching, including new grammatical concepts, structures, tenses and expressions, they progress to mastery of the language; able to exchange ideas and information in the target language with increasing fluency, improving pronunciation, intonation and complexity of ideas. Students are able to listen to and respond to increasingly complex written, literary and spoken texts as well as accurately producing written French to communicate their developed, linked and balanced ideas.
Students at The Taunton Academy follow the accredited AQA qualification in French – 8658. The course is well-supported with a range of resources, including but not limited to Pearson Education’s new Active Teach package, time-proven language learning applications such as Linguascope, Memrise and should students wish, language software such as Duo-lingo.
Having chosen their options and KS3, students arrive ready for the course highly motivated, keen and driven to succeed, supported by outstanding teaching and resourcing. The three themes studying during the course are:
i) Identity and culture
ii) Local, national, international and global areas of interest
iii) Current and future study and employment
The course is assessed through Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing, with each component worth 25 per cent of the total mark. During their listening & reading examination students will have to understand both gist and key detail, being able to answer in both English and French to a wide range of questions based on the themes of study. In their speaking, students ask and respond to a range of questions, including picture prompts, role-play situations and conversations focusing on a theme chosen by the candidate as well as a more general free-flowing conversation. When writing, students not only show they can extend and develop their ideas on a range of issues and using increasingly complex structures and language, but also that they can master translation from a wide variety of sources both in English and in French and understand and evidence nuances of meaning.
The course can be followed at two levels; Foundation Tier, which accesses grades 1-5, and Higher Tier, which allows students to pass at grade 4, to the very highest awards at grade 7, 8 and 9. All students at TTA follow the course at Higher Tier although the final decision to enter at Foundation Tier may be made later in Year 11.
Homework is set at least weekly at KS4 and students are expected to prepare rigorously for assessments.
Students leave The Taunton Academy as confident, connected and committed language learners who may opt to continue and excel in their studies at A-Level or the International Baccalaureate. They leave us with excellent passes in French at GCSE and pass rates in Modern Languages are frequently some of the best in the school, with many students leaving with passes at a very high level. These hard-working young men and women are better equipped than mono-linguists in their future careers, have significantly broader cultural capital and employer appeal than their peers. They may go on to study languages at Richard Huish College, apply for scholarships at Taunton School or other institutions and some continue their language studies at university.