What will students study in French this year?
We follow the AQA syllabus (8698) which is both interesting and challenging for students. There are three main themes: Identity and culture; Local, national, international and global areas of interest, and Current and future study and employment. We will be basing our teaching on the AQA French Foundation textbook in Year 9 and will move to the Higher textbook through Year 10.
We will be consolidating and building on all the language and the skills students developed at KS3 but the emphasis is much more on spontaneous use of the language.
Assessment takes the form of four separate exams, all taken at the end of Year 11. The speaking exams are a little earlier than the written papers. Each paper is equally weighted, so it is 25% of the final mark. The listening and reading comprehensions require verbal and non-verbal answers in either English or Spanish and the reading paper also includes a translation into English. The speaking exam will be 10-12 minutes plus preparation time and includes a role play, photo card and general conversation. The writing paper contains two writing tasks and a translation into Spanish. To ensure students are well prepared for these exams, they will need to be confident in unrehearsed use of the language both orally and in writing. A solid foundation in grammar and vocabulary will be required.
Students will learn more about French and French speaking culture, using a range of resources, including video, film and music, and computer resources to help bring the language to life. We have subscribed to the Kerboodle digital learning package which support the new exam.
What are the major assessments this year?
There will be formative assessments covering a range of skills at the end of each unit and three assessments near the end of each term that will englobe all the teaching that has taken place from the beginning of the year.
Each teacher will set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. There will also be initial assessments at the beginning of each unit to corroborate students’ prior knowledge that is linked to the unit that is about to start in order to inform the teacher on how to best approach the unit.
What do assessments test?
These assessments will address different skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as vocabulary and grammar.
What are the expectations of my daughter in French?
There are 5 lessons a fortnight and homework are set frequently. Homework will almost always include grammar and/or vocabulary learning as this will be key to success and will also usually involve translation, comprehension, grammar practice, writing, or preparing oral work. This may be in writing or online using the AQA digital textbook and practice resources to support their learning. It is essential for students to recognise the value of regular learning homework in steadily building up their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge, particularly in this new exam. To benefit fully from the course, students are expected to take an active part in lessons, especially in speaking French at every opportunity. Written work is marked using the exam board’s mark scheme, which enable students to work out themselves how to improve their work, thus helping them to learn more effectively. They should re-draft marked work and will usually be able to do so in lesson time.
How can I best support my daughter in French?
Please, encourage your daughter to use her own language in her written and oral work rather than relying on Google Translate or similar. Electronic translation tools give strange translations and lead to errors which use of a good dictionary (online or paper) can avoid. Above all, always encourage and praise her efforts generously!
It is by no means essential to know French in order to support your daughter effectively. Simply by taking an interest, asking her to show you her work and explain it and motivating her, you can make an enormous difference to how she feels about the subject.
You can also encourage her to do regular, short grammar and vocabulary revision and test her if she wants you to.
Watching French speaking series in any of the platforms that offer them is a great idea to train the ear to the language and to support the listening skills that usually are the ones where student struggles the most to get the highest grades. It would be a great idea to support this as a family.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Please, feel free to contact your daughter’s teacher in the first instance but Mrs Lane as Head of French is available on firstname.lastname@example.org