Ysgol Stanwell School

Archer Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, CF64 2XL


Head of Department
Miss P Menhenitt
Mrs S Cameron
Mrs A Crompton
Miss L Cross
Mr O Flatley
Mrs J Jones
Miss J Lock

Stanwell’s French Department is a thriving and successful department which has been at the forefront of the school’s success over the years. With seven members of staff, we offer a blend of youth and experience, all fully committed and enthusiastic with a wealth of skills and knowledge.

ICT in French

The department embraces all aspects of new technology in its teaching methods. We have a departmental trolley of Macbooks which allow pupils to practise their skills and extend their knowledge using specialist software and online learning facilities. The department subscribes to a number of language learning websites which are used by as part of classroom-based lessons with the interactive whiteboards, iPad technology and the Macbooks.

French Culture and Visits Abroad

The department believes that an awareness of French culture and customs enhances pupils’ learning experiences and enjoyment. Year 7 pupils are offered the chance to visit the seaside town of Boulogne at the end of the summer term, whilst Year 8 are offered the opportunity to sample the cultural delights of Paris and the Parc Disneyland. In class pupils develop their understanding of French culture by learning about the Tour de France and Bastille Day, and also sampling the delights of le petit déjeuner français. European and World Cup tournaments offer the chance for class draws and a more competitive way of learning the names of foreign countries in the target language.


We firmly believe that pupils are motivated by positive encouragement. The department has a long-running successful reward scheme, which involves graded certificates, a monthly draw for the opportunity to win small prizes, and a termly draw for a voucher prize.

Key Stage 3

In Key stage 3 pupils are introduced to French and develop their language skills within the framework provided by the National Curriculum. They build up their knowledge and skills whilst exploring a range of familiar topics based on their personal experience. In Key Stage 3 pupils are allocated 2 lessons of French per week in Year 7. If you opt to study German in Year 8 pupils have 3 lessons of French per fortnight, whereas those pupils who do not study German have 2 lessons of French per week.

In Year 7 we learn about: introducing oneself, family and pets, school, routine, clothes, sports and free time.

In Year 8 we learn about: our home, local town, holidays, asking the way, daily routine, food and drink, shopping, a trip to Paris.

Which resources do we use?

The main resource in our classrooms is the interactive whiteboard, where we use resources and games from language learning websites, as well as our own worksheets and booklets.

Pupils follow an adaptation of the Métro 1 and 2 (Heinemann) course. Pupils have access to the textbooks in school and each child is given their own workbook for each module studied.

Pupils are encouraged to speak French as much as possible in lessons in order to increase their confidence and improve their oral skills. Pupils learn through a balance of the four skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing, and these are all complemented by games and songs.

Key Stage 4

The GCSE course provides a natural progression from the work already done in Key Stage 3. It aims to develop the four language skills and to extend knowledge of the way the language works. Pupils follow the WJEC specification and study topics which build on their knowledge from KS3 such as family, home life, school and free time.  In class the Expo text book is used.

How is GCSE assessed?

Assessment is broken into four units:

Unit 1: Listening Examination (20%)

Pupils sit an examination at the end of Year 11 during which they answer comprehension questions in English based on extracts of spoken French.

Unit 2: Speaking Controlled Assessment (30%)

During the three year course pupils complete a number of speaking assessments with their teacher, which take the form of a structured conversation or a presentation and discussion. The best two are submitted to WJEC.

Unit 3: Reading Examination (20%)

Pupils sit an examination at the end of Year 11 during which they answer comprehension questions in English based on texts of written French.

Unit 4: Writing Controlled Assessment

During the three year course pupils complete a number of written assessments with their teacher, which take the form of letters emails and blogs. The best two are submitted to WJEC.

There is no final exam to assess speaking or writing! It is 100% coursework!

This information will be updated in the summer of 2017 to give details of the new GCSE (first examination summer 2018).

A Level French

Students are allocated 5 lessons per week and in addition they are offered after-school conversation lessons and grammar support. Students follow the WJEC syllabus.

Which topics are studied at A Level?

The current Year 12 are following the new WJEC AS and A Level course. We study a number of topics with reference to French speaking countries as well as in a wider context.

Theme 1: (AS Level) Being a young person in French-speaking society
  • Family structures, traditional and modern values, friendships / relationships
  • Youth trends, issues and personal identity
  • Educational and employment opportunities
Theme 2: (AS Level) Understanding the French-speaking world
  • Regional culture and heritage in France, French-speaking countries and communities
  • Literature, art, film and music in the French speaking world
Theme 3: (A level) Diversity and difference
  • Migration and integration
  • Cultural identity and marginalisation
  • Cultural enrichment and celebrating difference
  • Discrimination and diversity
Theme 4: (A level) France 1940-1950: The Occupation and the post-war years
  • From June 1940-May 1945 (occupation, liberation and end of World War II)
  • Life in Occupied France and the cultural dimension (théâtre, cinéma, littérature)
  • 1945-1950: rebuilding and restructuring
  • Repercussions for modern day France

Year 13 are currently following the WJEC A Level course (last examination summer 2017)

At A2 they are studying:

  • Environmental issues
  • Pollution, global warming, transport, energy, nuclear energy.
  • Social and political issues
  • EU, multiculturalism, racism, immigration, social exclusion and integration, terrorism, world of work, (employment, commerce, globalisation, minimum wage, single European market, Euro etc).

The Guided Studies option

In addition, part of the current A2 course involves studying one film and one book from a prescribed list. This year we are doing Les Choristes and L’Etranger by Albert Camus.

The film forms the basis of a presentation and discussion in the oral examination (FN3) and the book is examined through an essay in French on the FN4 paper.

How is A-Level assessed?

The two AS modules are as follows:

  • Unit 1 – Oral examination- two discussions (12% of A Level)
  • Unit 2 – Listening, Reading, Translation into English, Critical Response in Writing (1 essay based on the film) (28% of A level)

These units are assessed in the summer term of Year 12.

The three A2 modules are as follows:

  • Unit 3 – Oral examination- presentation and discussion (18% of A Level)
  • Unit 4 – Listening, Reading and Translation into French (30% of A level)
  • Unit 5 – Critical and Analytical Response in Writing – 1 essay based on the novel (12% of A Level).

At A2 there are currently 2 units (last examination 2017):

  • FN3 – Oral (Conducted by an external examiner) (20%)
  • FN4 – Listening, Reading and Writing (30%)

These units are assessed in the summer term of Y13.

Why opt for French at GCSE or A Level?

Anyone who can speak French can communicate with around 200 million people in their own language as French is not only spoken in France but also in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, several African nations and in many other countries around the world.

  • France is the nearest country to the UK on mainland Europe, and speaking the language is an indispensable tool for a trip abroad. France is the top tourist destination in the world and the possibilities are endless when it comes to holidays, far too many to list here!
  • If you go on to study French at university you are much more likely to get a job than people with arts, humanities and media-related degrees.
  • Speaking French will enhance your job prospects as many employers will choose the candidate who can speak a foreign language over the one who can’t.
  • One of the main reasons for companies losing business abroad is the inability to communicate in the client’s language.
  • Speaking French will allow you to take advantage of your EU citizenship and travel and work within the European Union in countries such as Switzerland and Belgium, as well as France.
  • Speaking French gives you a better understanding of France’s rich culture and heritage, as well as its fascinating history.
    The ability to communicate in another language allows you to get to know new people and build new relationships, as well as communicate for day-to-day activities.

Speaking French is a real asset and can be combined with a degree in the sciences, law, business or politics. You often have the opportunity to spend a year abroad, studying your main subject in university in France, Belgium or even Canada.

Wider Cultural Events

Year 12 pupils attend a “Wales in Europe” event in City Hall in February, where they are able to sample new languages, attend grammar workshops and even learn Salsa dancing!
We have links with two lycées in France and the teachers there can find suitable penfriend partners for our students, with a view to a possible private exchange arrangement.

Careers Wales Mark Eco Schools Healthy Schools Vale Network Welsh Baccalaureate Arts Council of Wales