The French Department at Queen Elizabeth's School offers lively lessons supported by impressive resources, as well as a wide range of opportunities outside school to learn the language and explore French culture.
French at QE starts in Year 7. It is a compulsory subject for all until the end of Year 9, when boys may choose which language(s) to continue for GCSE. Initially boys are taught in their form groups, then sets are introduced at the end of the first term. The skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed equally as these are tested separately at GCSE level. Students are encouraged to speak French with their peers and teachers as much as possible.
We use the Expo course at Key Stage 3 and Edexcel for GCSE French at Key Stage 4. At A Level, we use Edexcel French AS and A2 course books as well as a variety of other materials including Authentik and Écoute magazines and Schaum's Grammar.
The department has interactive whiteboards in every classroom, and a state of the art computer suite, including Language Laboratory facilities. There is a large selection of French films and French magazines which are used both to teach language and to reinforce the teaching of culture and heritage. Modern Languages Film club shows films, classics as well as new releases, every half term.
We provide additional support through our weekly French clinic, although pupils can ask for extra help at any time. We also offer additional oral examination practices prior to formal tests. For boys wishing to take the subject at Oxbridge level, there is a comprehensive programme of support led by the Head of Department.
There are many opportunities for our pupils to make contact with native French speakers. Over 50 boys each year take up the chance to make pen friends at our French link school, Jean-Baptiste de La Salle in Rouen. Boys in Year 9 are offered an exchange. They can go for a week or a fortnight to stay with a French family in Rouen. Boys in Years 7-10 can enjoy a week in Normandy at the Chateau de la Baudonnière. This is an adventure holiday run by French-speaking organisers who ensure boys are practicing their language as well as their sports. Year 8 have the opportunity to take part in an exchange with our partner school, Collège St. Pierre de Bourg en Bresse near Lyon. Boys stay with a French family for a week in May, spend time at the school and visit the local area. They then host their exchange partner at their house in the following October. Year 12 students have the opportunity to participate in work experience in France: recent placements have been at offices, shops and a radio station, for example. We also arrange for KS4 and KS5 students to attend study days in London.