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"French is a global language of influence and culture."



Apart from learning to communicate in one of the world’s most beautiful languages, students who learn French are learning a language of global influence and high culture.

French is a language of global trade and international relations. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations and the European Union and is the official or administrative language in over forty five countries or regions worldwide.


Learning French develops your confidence in how you project yourself and how you communicate with others. Employability skills such as teamwork, cultural awareness, critical analysis, problem solving and communication are at the basis of everything we do. As a result, students with a background in French are much sought after because of their knowledge, their people skills and their vision of the world which is outward looking and creative.


What’s more, once you have learnt French,other languages are easy to learn. French is your passport to the rest of the world!


The French department aims to support the whole curriculum, whilst being a subject in its own right. The language is taught in a meaningful context, providing students with experience of using French creatively and with confidence. We seek to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in accordance with the requirements of the Revised Curriculum for Northern Ireland. 

Mrs C Montgomery Rintoul (Head of Department)

Mrs T Mulholland

Dr J Thompson

Mrs C Devlin

Mr M Fleming

Ms Y Colin (Language Assistant) 



Throughout Key Stages 3, 4&5, all students of French work towards a mastery of the four attainment targets (ATs) of speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Although the four ATs comprise four discrete skill areas and have their own distinctive contributions to make to language acquisition, they are also interdependent and mutually supportive. This interdependence is reflected in

class room practice where opportunities are provided to use a multi-skill approach to both teaching and assessment.

The French department aims to:


  • Develop, maintain and stimulate students’ curiosity, interest and enjoyment in using French.

  • Develop students to a suitable level of competence in spoken and written French

  • Encourage students to develop personal qualities, such as self-confidence and effective communication

  • Develop students’ ability to comprehend and present information effectively through the medium of French

  • Enable students to develop transferable communication skills that can be used in a series of situations and across various subjects

  • Enable students to take their place in an international world and a global economy.

Anchor 4

Year 8


  • Students are taught basic language concepts and language skills. They learn to communicate effectively through the medium of French using a variety of teaching methodologies. In Year 8, students learn to talk about themselves, their family and their locality and interests.


Year 9


  • These areas are further developed. Students in Year 9 learn how to describe facilities in their local area, express and ask opinions about pastimes, daily routine and discuss aspects of school life.


Year 10


  • Preparation begins for the GCSE course. Students learn to communicate in the present, past and future tenses. Students learn to talk and write about their interests, how they use technology, describe in detail past holidays and also explore Paris from a tourist point of view.

Departmental Organisation:

Students who opt to do French as one of their two languages in Year 8 will study it for three years until the end of Year 10, after that they can choose to study it further for GCSE and A Level.  Around February of Year 10, they select the language they wish to take for GCSE from French, Spanish or Irish. If they are linguists, it is possible for students to choose two languages for GCSE, if that is their wish.


French groups in Key Stages 3 & 4 are mixed ability in nature. Class groups of French in Years 11 and 12 are determined by the subject choices of individual students at this stage and are also influenced by options for Double or Triple Award Science and Single or Double Mathematics.


The French club is held held once a week, on alternate weeks where students have the opportunity to develop their spoken French skills with the French Assistant. This will also be a cultural experience where students will be able to learn about the cultural aspects of French life, including cinema, sport and new technology and food.


Trips to France are organised every two years to provide students with the opportunity to experience French language and culture in an authentic setting. This can be in the form of home stay with French families or as a sightseeing tour.


Students also have the opportunity to attend film showings and workshops at Queen’s Film Theatre, as well as language conferences and revision courses at Queen’s and Ulster Universities.


The European Day of Languages on the September 26th is always eagerly celebrated in the College with a range of activities taking place to promote the enjoyment and importance of French such as food tasting, French competitions, pétanque, French cookery demonstrations, French song, external speakers promoting the importance of French for business and future careers. All A Level students have the opportunity to go out to local primary schools on this day, to teach French to children in the local area as part of our outreach programme. 



  • Students who learn French are learning a global language which opens doors onto the worlds of business, law, medical research, diplomacy, politics, art, technology and culture. Studying French gives you endless career opportunities and sets you apart from other monolingual competitors and affords you the opportunity to do work placements abroad and advance your career prospects in different countries.

  • Speaking French opens up opportunities to study at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world.

  • Learning French also develops your confidence in how you project yourself and communicate with others and those other key employability skills such as critical thinking, cultural awareness, problem solving, are at the basis of everything we do.

  • As a result, students of French are much sought after because of their knowledge, their people skills, their ability to think laterally and their vision of the world which is outward looking and creative.

  • Past students of French have found employment not only at home but in France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA among others.

The French Assistant’s work is primarily to do conversation classes with the French students of Year 13 &14 in preparation for their externally assessed oral exam. She will also be employed to do activities over lunchtime, as part of the French Language Club and to do immersion classes with small groups of junior students who join the College in Year 9 and 10 but who have not done French in their previous schools.

Where the French Assistant’s timetable allows, she can also do some team teaching with whole class groups and can get involved in preparing materials for the department.

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