Every pupil learns French. We aim to make this fun for everyone involved, ensuring that all pupils can maximise their potential.
The learning skills we teach will provide the pupils with a structure which can be used throughout their education. We adopt a rigorous approach to learning correct pronunciation and to mastering verbs and grammar. We develop independence, teamwork and respect for others, their culture and traditions. We are lucky to have children from a variety of international backgrounds at Beechwood Park to make these lessons relevant and lasting. We prepare our pupils thoroughly for all examinations – external and internal.
French is taught by specialist teachers in form groups from Reception to Year 5. They are set from Year 6 to the Top Form (Year 8). In the Junior Department the emphasis is on oral and listening skills. They sing and chant, and have fun with the unfamiliar sounds of another language. In Year 2, as part of the class topic “Barnaby goes to France”, pupils use their French to role-play shopping for food. The Middle Department children see more words and learn to write simple sentences about themselves and such topics as the dates, food and animals. The interactive programmes Rigolo and Early Start French create lively ways of introducing new language.
In Year 5 each group is taught to organise their work in a filing system which they maintain through to the Top Form. The basis of the course is the Common Entrance syllabus using Expo 1 and 2, and Studio Actif 1.
In the Senior Department there is a Russian activity after school. The pupils are introduced to the Russian alphabet and various topics such as the family and hobbies. There is also a beginners’ Spanish activity after school. The format is similar to French but Boardworks Spanish is used.
The children learn that French is for communication. There are many opportunities to use the language. At Le café du lion, for example, all pupils in Year 5 serve their parents afternoon tea. For La soirée amicale, each class in the Senior Department puts on a play which they have created in French. Our trip every two years to Provence strengthens the links with Latin, and gives children the opportunity to practise their language skills in an authentic French environment.
French taught from the get-go by a specialist teacher; reception were playing French fruit bingo and at the top of the school pupils write and perform their own French play. The Good Schools Guide, 2017