GCSE French


Almost all students who started French in Year 7 continue the language up to GCSE level, and will have 5 lessons per fortnight. However, students can also opt to begin French from scratch at Key Stage 4, in addition to the language they are currently studying. This is an intensive course, taught from beginners level over two years, and is suitable for able and enthusiastic linguists.


French is tiered, so students will either be entered for Foundation tier (grades 1-5) or Higher tier (grades 4-9). Decisions will always be made carefully, using assessment evidence and with the intention of securing the best grade for each individual student.


In Key Stage 4 French students further develop their reading, listening, writing and speaking skills in the language, in order to be able to describe their world and the world around them in greater depth, and to express their opinions and develop them with reasons and additional information. In addition, students develop their understanding of cultural aspects of the French-speaking world.


We also have the opportunity for students who can speak, read and write another language to sit a GCSE in that language – what we call ‘home languages’. This is a great opportunity for students to gain an additional GCSE qualification, and students achieve strong results.

How is the course examined?

The GCSE focuses on three key themes, with several sub-topics within each theme:


• Identity & culture

Me, my family and friends

Technology in everyday life

Free-time activities

Customs and festivals in French-speaking countries/communities


• Local, national & global areas of interest

Home, town, neighbourhood and region

Global issues

Social issues

Travel and tourism


• Current and future study & employment.

My studies

Life at school/college

Education post-16

Jobs, career choices and ambitions


How is the course graded?

The course is graded with GCSE grades 1 to 9.


This subject has 2 tiers.

Foundation tier is graded 1 to 5

Higher tier is graded 4 to 9


Sentence builder booklet – these are stapled into the back of students’ exercise books and provide reference material for all the topics covered throughout the year.


Speaking booklet – these will be kept at school mostly, but students will be expected to learn their answers in order to effectively prepare themselves for the speaking and writing exams.


Homework is regularly set by teachers, usually once per week. This may consist of vocabulary learning or quizzing, exam-style tasks, and revision or ‘throwback’ activities. As language learning is best done little and often, students are therefore encouraged, particularly with vocabulary learning, to break up the total amount of time spent on homework into more, shorter chunks, to maximise their retention.


Learning outside the classroom

We are committed to providing students with opportunities to use the foreign language outside the classroom, as we believe that students’ motivation and engagement will be significantly increased if they are given such opportunities and if they can see how the foreign language can be used in real-life situations. In the past, the school has organised trips to Paris, Cologne and Bilbao, and in 2024 we are running a trip to France for our KS4 and KS5 students.


We celebrate European Day of Languages every September with various assemblies and activities, and we also learn about different festivals within French-, Spanish- and Punjabi-speaking cultures throughout the year. Further reading is strongly encouraged to develop our students’ language skills and our library is well-stocked with French and Spanish books for a range of ages and tastes.


Students are able to access extra speaking session sessions with Paola and Janeth, our French and Spanish language assistants, in particular Year 11 students preparing for their speaking exams.


The school also has good links with the University of Leeds and our GCSE students have taken part in a ‘French in Business’ study day at the University.

KS3 Modern Foreign Languages

KS4 Modern Foreign Languages

KS5 Modern Foreign Language

Allerton High School
King Lane, Leeds
West Yorkshire LS17 7AG
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