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City of London

School for girls

The French department strongly believes that the ability to understand and communicate in other languages is essential in our society and in the global economy. Languages contribute to the cultural and linguistic richness of our society, through personal fulfilment, mutual understanding, commercial success and international trade and global citizenship.

We therefore aim to:

  • instil in students a love for languages and an appreciation of their importance in an increasingly globalized society
  • teach students to communicate effectively and confidently in French with an emphasis on accurate pronunciation
  • give students a thorough grammar base
  • develop in students an understanding of cultural aspects of France and Francophone countries
  • extend students' learning experiences beyond the textbook through the use of authentic materials and extra-curricular activities
  • inspire pupils to extend and pursue language-learning outside the classroom

At Sixth form level we aim to help students to communicate confidently, clearly, accurately and imaginatively in French and to develop critical insights into contemporary French society and French speaking countries, culture, politics, history and literature whilst vastly improving their communication skills. They also develop a very sound knowledge of French grammar through regular grammar lessons. They engage in in-depth discussion of questions of both personal and global significance requiring great commitment to detail, vocabulary and grammar.


We use a multi-skilled and communicative approach to teaching and learning in French supported by an embedded use of technology in the classroom. Trips to France are an integral part of the learning. Year 10 to 13 students have access to two French speaking assistants.


YEARS 7 - 9

Our course is based on Dynamo textbooks laying solid foundations to the GCSE course. We insist on a rigorous approach to spelling, grammar, tackling such grammar points as past, present and future tenses, negation, adjectives, comparatives and superlatives. Translation skills are also emphasised.

"I love French because it is really fun and even though grammar points are sometimes challenging, I enjoy learning them and finding similarities in the conjugations to help me memorise them better. In terms of lessons, I really enjoy them because we not only look at reading and writing, but we also work on our speaking and listening skills. We do a variety of activities like bingo (yesterday) which was really fun too!" (Jiyaa)

"I really enjoy learning French because it is an interesting language of a neighbouring country. I really like the Dynamo 2 textbook because it is very easy to understand and follow. I also find that the lessons very engaging as we use many online platforms such as languages online and quizlet. I really like this as I think that it is a good way to keep us all concentrated during these strange times of remote learning where it is easy to lose concentration. Overall I really like French and I think that it is a very positive experience."(Grace)

"I decided to study French at GCSE level because it is a subject I really enjoy. It is also very useful, not only to go to French-speaking countries but also because it will make it easier to learn other languages. The main reason I chose it was because I really enjoy it." (Daniela)

"I decided to study GCSE French and Spanish because I think it is very impressive to have 2 language GCSEs. I enjoy French lessons more than other lessons where I find I can stop paying attention quite quickly. I think it will be useful in the long run for jobs and on holidays." (Lucy)

YEARS 10 and 11

Students prepare for the AQA GCSE exam using Studio textbook. We consolidate the four skills speaking, listening, reading and writing . Grammar and translation play a significant role at GCSE.

Topics covered include Healthy/Unhealthy Lifestyles, Technology, Environment, Pressures at School and The World of Work.

"I would recommend studying French at GCSE because the teaching is excellent. The oral examination can be what students feel most apprehensive about, but the department's language assistants are available both during and outside of lesson time which ensures that by the end of the course each student's French speaking ability and confidence have improved significantly." (Amy)

"The transition from Year 9 to Year 10 is very smooth as you build quite a lot on previous content. The higher end of the course (future career, environment) builds towards AS level content. This makes it really enjoyable as it is challenging, fun and also extremely stimulating!" (Aila)

A Level: We follow the Edexcel specifications

Students will develop their knowledge and understanding by studying both the language and themes relating to the contemporary and historical society and culture of the French-speaking world. The four themes are:

  • Theme 1: Les changements dans la société française
  • Theme 2: La culture politique et artistique dans les pays Francophones
  • Theme 3: L’immigration et la société multiculturelle française
  • Theme 4: L’Occupation et la Résistance


Year 12 are currently studying “les 400 coups” (1959) and the New Wave by François Truffaut and Year 13 study the novel “Une si longue lettre” by Mariama Bâ (1981)

 Feedback Year 12

"At A Level you get the opportunity to go above and beyond the basics of the French language and begin to develop skills in expressing your own opinions at a more sophisticated and fluent level. Being exposed to a range of cinema, literature, history, culture and politics opens your mind to every aspect of the French speaking world, and comes together to create a fascinating course which I have loved!" (Helena)

"Learning French has been an absolute pleasure this year. I love how in lessons we not only continue to learn to speak, read and write French but also the culture, society and history of the francophone countries. I really look forward to each French lesson and the teachers are amazing!" (Chenying)

Feedback Year 13

"Learning French has been one of my best experiences at City without a doubt. The department is enthusiastic and provides the best possible support while also encouraging independent research and further reading. One of my favourite aspects of French course is the discussion-based classes and one-to-one speaking sessions lift your fluency and confidence to a whole new level that I could not have even imagined before starting. For me, learning French became such a joy at A Level, with smaller classes and a genuinely fascinating throughout. Not only do you learn about social and cultural issues in France, but the rest of the French speaking world. It is a unique and engaging experience whereby what you learn is shaped by real time events happening in France, such as the Gilets jaunes and the rise of the far right in French politics." Rosie, year 13

"For me, learning French at City was truly an enriching experience. At the start of Year 12, I struggled a bit to get myself used to the A-level standard French because I think the jump between GCSE French and A-level French is quite big. However, the French department has been very helpful, so the transition was not too long. I really recommend French A-level as it gives you an opportunity to explore current affairs in a different perspective, apply concepts that you learn from other subjects (for me, economics) and, of course, improve your French, Cindy, Year 13


Year 8 students join a successful five-day trip to Normandy, visiting such places as the Normandy landing beaches and Bayeux.

In Year 9 students will be given the opportunity to discover another region (Loire Valley).

Year 10 students attend a language course combined with cultural activities at the “Centre International d’Antibes” and stay with host families.

“The Antibes trip is not only a hugely academically beneficial experience but also an opportunity to explore French culture by staying with a French family.” (Amy)

Our Year 12 students organise trips for themselves, whether it be for courses or work experience. Past students have studied in Nice , Montpellier and worked in a boutique in Paris.

We strongly encourage students to experience French culture on offer in London by going to the French Institute to see films, attend talks and use the library for research and take part in yearly competitions.

Students activities
French film club

Head of Department: Mme N Signeux