Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
the school is at the heart of the community


Exam Board: Edexcel


Subject Overview

With ever-increasing levels of international trade and business, tourism, immigration, and random cross-cultural experiences, chances are you will eventually find yourself face-to-face with someone who doesn’t speak English, at least not up to a level you understand. The reasons to learn a foreign language or two have never been stronger`


At The Swanage School, all students learn French from Year 7 to Year 9 through a variety of class activities and games, role plays and by using interactive softwares. They get ready for the GCSE through the Edexcel syllabus and this starts straight away in Year 7 with a variety of activities in and out of the classroom to increase their confidence in writing and speaking in French, but also to equip them with the skills to learn another language easily, later on in life.

From 2019, Y9 students now require to take French as an option if they wish to continue it to GCSE level. The aim of learning a language until GCSE is to give all students the skills to cope with any situations in their future life, whether for business or for pleasure. Students will benefit from working in smaller groups and will discover many aspects of the French culture alongside essential GCSE preparation.

For more information on the new GCSE specifications go to:



1) Year 11 students enjoy making French "crepes" during their first French lesson
2) Year 8 students attending a "most able language day" organised by Southampton University
3) Year 7 students enjoying a "French Day" with cultural activities and music

Summary of the French GCSE which started in May 2018

The new 9-1 grading system will replace A*-G, and there are no longer any controlled assessment. All papers are set and marked by the awarding organisation.

Compulsory topics are linked to identity and culture; local, national international and global areas of interest; and current and future study and employment.

Papers are tiered, with 25% assessment weightings per skill. (choice of foundation or higher)

Papers include:

  • short translations from and into the target language
  • some target-language questions in the reading and listening paper
  • authentic stimuli in the reading paper, including literary texts.

Due to the demands of the new GCSE, students are encouraged to do some independent learning little and often to be successful in their exam. As well as their school notes and homework, they are welcome to use any of the following links to that effect.

From Year 7 to Year 11 – (interactive vocabulary and grammar practice)

From Year 9/10:

  • To practise vocabulary, grammar and exam style questions interactively, go to www.pearsonactivelearn.co.uk use your individual username and password.
  • To perfect your listening skills in a fun way, do gap fill of French music on https://lyricstraining.com and listen to French music regularly (try the French music chart on YouTubeex: “Musique Francaise 2017 | NRJ Hits 2017”)
  • Immerse yourself in authentic French by listening to news clips or by reading articles from www.20minutes.fr or www.1jour1actu.com