Years 7, 8 and 9

In their first year at Cobham Hall, students follow a carousel programme which introduces them to the three core languages: French, Spanish and German.  In each language, they learn basic communication and vocabulary, with the emphasis on speaking skills and the common principles of language acquisition.  For French, students are taught at two separate levels, depending on their prior exposure and competence in the language.  All girls continue to study French until the end of Year 9.

A topic-based approach is used to teach and learn French in Years 7, 8 and 9.  Language is introduced and practised with the aim of working from individual words to building communicative competence and confidence in a wide range of contexts.  Pupils are supported across the four key skill areas of listening, reading, speaking and writing in a range of different ways, while grammatical structures and rules are also explored and developed.  ICT presentations, props, games, activities, mime, songs and puzzles are all tools used to learn and consolidate lesson material.  Pupils are encouraged to explore their own learning preferences and to use methods which suit them in terms of developing their linguistic acquisition as part of their independent study.  Various online and digital resources are also used to support learning.

Years 10 and 11: GCSE

At GCSE level, pupils are encouraged to consolidate and build on the language acquired in previous years.  Topic-specific vocabulary and grammar are reviewed and revised and activities continue to be based around the four key skill areas of listening, reading, speaking and writing.  Further use of available online and digital resources is promoted, in order to support the development of independent linguistic awareness and progress.  Communicative independence is reinforced by students giving presentations, working in groups, planning activities to support learning and making choices about activities which will develop their own linguistic competence.  Continued use is made of ICT, online resources, puzzles and activities to support language acquisition.  Time is also spent thinking about effective revision strategies and designing tools to support these.

Assessments include regular class tests across all four skills in Years 10 and 11, unit tests, internal examinations at the end of Year 10 and GCSE examination papers at the end of Year 11.

Sixth Form: International Baccalaureate Diploma

French can be studied at ab initio, Standard or Higher Level for the IB.

Ab Initio Level French is suitable for girls who have little or no experience of learning French. The course aims to equip students with sufficient language competence to deal with simple, straightforward information and to express themselves in familiar contexts.  The aim of the course is also to help the students gain some intercultural understanding of the relationship between their own culture and that of Francophone countries.  This course will enable students to progress through from Level A1 of the Common European Framework Reference for Languages to Level A2/B1.

Standard and Higher Level students are taught together, with Higher Level students taking two additional lessons each week.  Since a deepening understanding and appreciation of French culture is at the heart of effective learning of the language, the experience of learning French at IB level is as much about an exploration of French culture and values as acquiring a detailed knowledge of French grammar.  Students develop this through a myriad of authentic resources which develop their ability to both read and produce a range of text types in French.  In addition, Higher Level students also study two works of French literature.

Ideally, students should experience French first hand, so visits and exchanges to francophone countries are encouraged.

All Year Groups

Language Assistants – The Languages Faculty at Cobham Hall benefits from the support of native speaker language assistants who support students in the development of their communication skills at all levels throughout the school.  Students receive both whole class and one-to-one support.

Globetrotters Club  – In keeping with the spirit of internationalism at Cobham Hall, all students are welcome to join the activities provided by the Language Faculty’s weekly club.  The Globetrotters Club offers a range of enjoyable activities to promote international culture and enhance girls’ understanding of a variety of customs and traditions from around the globe.