Modern Foreign Languages

The majority of our pupils study French throughout their time at Loreto.  Every year we also enter pupils for GCSEs in foreign languages they have learned outside of school.



Bienvenue! Welcome to the French Department. We aim to offer pupils the opportunity to learn French in a positive and interactive atmosphere, encouraging positive attitudes to language learning and to speakers of French. We seek to promote a supportive approach to other cultures and civilisations. We aim to develop students’ understanding of themselves and their own culture.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 pupils learn to talk and write about themselves, their friends and their family, leisure activities, where they live, the time, school, the weather, holidays and snacks.

In Year 8 they study past-times, what they did last weekend, tourist attractions in Paris, where they live, their talents and French-speaking countries.

In Year 9 pupils will learn about describing others, hobbies, school, technology, home life, being ill and staying healthy.

Pupils learn by using four key language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will also translate to and from French. They will also be building up their grammatical skills, throughout the years. They will also build up a repertoire of vocabulary.

In Year 7 students are expected to spend around half an hour on their homework and by Year 9 they should be spending about 45 minutes on it.  If students have any problems with homework they should speak to their teacher, to Mrs Fitzsimons (Head of French), or attend the French Clinic which is held in St Joe’s every Wednesday lunchtime.

To reinforce their learning, Y7 and Y9 students are given the opportunity to watch a French play during the year, presented by a touring theatre company. They study a scene from it the lesson before they see the play, to aid their understanding.  This is usually a really enjoyable, funny and entertaining experience for students.  They are often surprised at how much French they already understand.

In Yr 8 students take part in the MFL Fun Day, where they participate in a carousel of activities to promote language learning.

Useful websites for KS3 include: (free to use before 9 and and after 4 pm)
BBC Bitesize

Key Stage 4

Our students follow the Pearson Edexcel French 1FR0 specification.

Students will take exams in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing at the end of the two year course.  Each skill is worth 25% of the total marks.  Students will do the speaking exam with their teacher, but Pearson will mark them and all the other skills will be set and marked by Pearson.  Students will be entered for one single tier across all four skills.

We would expect Year 10 and 11 students to spend around two hours a week doing homework.  If students have any problems with homework they should speak to their teacher, to Mrs Fitzsimons (Head of French), or attend the French Clinic which is held in St Joe’s every Monday lunchtime for Year 11 and every Tuesday lunch-time for Year 10.  Students may also borrow books from the Library to help improve their literacy in French.

For 2020-21 only, our Yr 11 students will sit exams in Listening, Reading and Written skills, each contributing 33.3% of the marks to their final grade. There will also be a speaking endorsement: this will not contribute to the final GCSE grade, but the GCSE certificates will state whether each student has been awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction for this.

Useful KS4 website include:

Key Stage 5

Students are working towards the A Level exam, which will take place at the end of the two year course.  We are following the Pearson Edexcel 9FR0 specification.

Students will be examined on listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.  They will translate into and out of French.  They will be examined on key literary texts.  They will also do an independent research presentation as part of their Speaking exam.

Students should spend between three and four hours a week doing homework.  They should do as much independent study as possible, including recommended websites.  If they need any advice and help with this, they should speak to Mrs Fitzsimons.  Attending French films and/or plays (at the Institut Français, for example) would also prove very beneficial.

We often ask our Sixth Form students to help younger students with their work, as this often reinforces their own understanding.  We also encourage them to take on the role of French prefect and promote French throughout the school.

Useful KS5 websites include:

quizlet – French A-level Edexcel flash cards
quizlet – quotations “un sac de billes” flashcards
sparknotes – stranger
youtube 1
youtube 2

Opportunities for French beyond Loreto

By studying a MFL at A Level, students should have equipped themselves with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to further study or employment, develop their capacity for critical and analytical thinking through the language of study and develop as independent researchers through the language of study.

Students may also go on to study a course such as French and French with Law at university.

MFL & Careers@Loreto

Want to find out more about MFL work skills, then check out this infographic poster, which can also be found on the Maths corridor.