“A different language is a different vision of life”

Federico Fellini


At Oldershaw, the Modern Languages department is passionate about the benefits of learning a foreign language as a life skill and we provide the opportunity for pupils to achieve, develop confidence and enjoy learning a foreign language in a safe, welcoming and stimulating environment.

Our languages curriculum is coherently sequenced and structured to help students of all abilities progress and to inspire pupils to discover more of the world around them because some of our students have little contact with other cultures.  Learning a foreign language is vital in helping to shape the individual.   In French lessons, as well as acquiring language skills, pupils learn about the similarities and differences between our local community and French speaking countries, and in turn develop a deeper appreciation and tolerance of other cultures.

French is a language which is closely related to English; this means that pupils will see links between the two languages which will in turn make it easier for pupils to make progress.  It is well documented that the learning of a foreign language helps a person better understand their own language and we believe that it is not the choice of language that is most important, but the skill derived from learning a second language.

Therefore, we are passionately committed to providing a French languages curriculum which:

  • is engaging, inclusive, built on high expectations and ambitious for all,
  • builds on pupils’ prior knowledge and attainment to ensure there is meaningful recall of learning stored in long-term memory thereby facilitating transition between academic years,
  • is carefully planned to allow for progression through the continuous acquisition of knowledge (phonics, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary) in order to develop pupils’ ability to communicate coherently and confidently in French,
  • aims to close gaps created as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,
  • provides insight into the culture of the French-speaking world.

We want our pupils to:

Think and know like a linguist:

  • to appreciate that learning another language celebrates difference and creates opportunities,
  • to appreciate that different languages have different systems,
  • to understand how vocabulary, grammar and phonics combine together to create language,
  • to develop cultural capital by gaining knowledge about the places other languages are spoken and the people that speak them.

Speak and listen like a linguist:

  • speak with fluency and spontaneity in order to communicate with others,
  • listen actively and attentively in order to understand speakers of other languages.

Read and write like a linguist:

  • read with fluency,
  • infer plausible meanings from unfamiliar words embedded in familiar contexts,
  • be able to discuss language using specialist language vocabulary (Disciplinary Reading),
  • to write creatively in a lexically and grammatically accurate way,
  • to translate short texts rendering the meaning of the original language.

Furthermore, our French curriculum also aligns with our school ethos and values (pride, kindness and resilience) which seek to provide pupils with the social, moral, spiritual and cultural capital to succeed in life.


The Year 7 journey begins with learning the basics. We learn about greeting people, the numbers 1-31, the days of the week, months of the year, items in the school bag and the alphabet. We also learn more about France as a country.  During this introductory unit we learn about sound-spelling links and about nouns (articles and gender).  By the end of term 1, we can hold a basic conversation in French. This first term gives us an understanding of why languages are an important part of the curriculum and provides a solid foundation on which we can keep building. We then move on to talking about our classroom, hobbies, colours and animals.  By the end of term 2, we are able to describe our classrooms, say what we like and dislike, say what colour things are and talk about our pets.  We learn more about sound-spelling links and we start to explore more of the grammar – forming regular and irregular plurals, using adjectives and simple connectives. We end the year with talking about family, my home, food and drink, nationalities and countries and the weather.  We learn more about sound-spelling links and we start looking at possessive pronouns (my), adverbs and common verb forms – to have, to be, to live, to eat etc.  By the end of term 3, we are able to give a short presentation in French about our families and where we live.  We are also able to order some food and drink at a café – using our French for a real purpose.  This is our first taste of GCSE Role Play.

The Year 8 journey begins with revisiting some the basics we learnt in Year 7.  Our first module  revises simple opinion structures and adjectival agreement.  By the end of module 1 we are able to describe ourselves and others. During the second half of this term we learn about the school system in France and are able to talk and write about school subjects and different aspects of school life.  With regards to grammar, we learn how to ask questions, use a range of connectives and different verb forms. School is a topic we will come back to at GCSE. We then move on to our third module “Mes passetemps” which is all about what we like to do or usually do in our free time, namely doing sport; using our mobiles and computers and other social activities.  We continue to look at verb forms, especially to play and to do, but we also learn how to use “aimer” + infinitive.  This is another topic we will revisit at GCSE. We end the year with two topics: local area and holidays.  By the end of module 4 we are able to describe our local area, give and understand directions and invite each other out on dates – our second taste of GCSE role play.  By the end of module 5 we are able to talk about our holiday plans.  Most importantly we learn how to use a different tense: the near future and how to use “je voudrais” + infinitive to talk about what we would like to do in the future.  These topics are both revisited at GCSE and being able to recognise and use at least 2 tenses will prepare us well for GCSE.

The Year 9 journey begins with free-time and a tour of Paris.  Our first of two modules revises opinion structures and key verbs, such as to do.  By the end of this module we are able to talk and write about television programmes, types of film, how we use the internet and reading. During this term we also learn about Paris and the 14th July. With regards to grammar, we revise how to use “on peut” and “j’aime” + the infinitive and most importantly, we learn how to recognise and form the perfect tense of -er verbs – our third tense. We then move on to a topic called “Mon identité”.  In this term the focus is on tenses.  We improve our understanding of the perfect tense and we also revise the near future tense whilst talking and writing about personality, relationships, music and clothes.  We also get to know more about France and its different regions. We end the year with a further two topics: “Chez moi, chez toi” and “Quel talent?!”  “Chez moi” is all about where I live and meal-times.  We practise the near future tense and use the conditional “je voudrais” + infinitive to talk about where we would like to live.  We learn all about the French traditions of “la Chandeleur” (Shrove Tuesday)  and “Carnaval”.  The last module has us talking about our ambitions for the future, using a variety of structures, and the French Revolution.

Full Course Details available via AQA website HERE

The Year 10 journey begins with a recap of important grammatical concepts and high-frequency vocabulary from Key Stage 3. During this introductory GCSE unit we revisit a familiar topic: me, my family and friends.  The main grammar points are: using “avoir” and “être”, reflexive verbs, position and agreement of adjectives and the immediate future tense.  In the second half of the term we explore the second of our GCSE topics, in which we have already dipped our toes: technology in everyday life.  This unit provides furthers our understanding of the present tense (regular and common irregular verbs). We then move on to our third GCSE unit – free-time.  In this unit we discuss music, cinema, tv, eating out and sport.  These are all familiar topics.  The main grammar focus is perfect tense – with “avoir” and with “être”.  We then turn our attention to unit 4: customs and festivals.  In this unit we discuss various French traditions and how Christmas, Easter etc are celebrated in French-speaking countries.  We are also taught how to recognise and form the imperfect tense of common verbs. We end the year with units 5 and 6.  We start the term with another familiar topic: home, town, neighbourhood and region.  We talk about chores, our homes, what there is to see and do in the local area using a mixture of tenses. We then move on to social issues: charity work and (un)healthy and lifestyles.  In this unit we meet the pluperfect tense so we can compare old and new eating habits, as well as revising the conditional and imperfect tense.  By the end of Year 10 we have been exposed to all the key tenses and have copied 6/12 key topics.

Full Course Details available via AQA website HERE

The Year 11 journey begins with two further units.  In unit 7 we discuss environmental problems and solutions as well as poverty and homelessness.  We then move on to topic 8, in which we talk about our holiday preferences, past holidays and future holiday plans whilst learning about different regions of France. We then move on to our final topics and theme: education.  In these last 4 topics we talk first about school and school subjects, a typical school day and school rules.  We compare school life in France and Britain. We then fittingly focus on jobs, career choices and ambitions for the future.  It is in this term that we have our mock speaking exams. We end the year with our formal examinations but before we sit them we revise key vocabulary, tenses and opinion structures and we focus on exam technique, question types and how to do well in each paper.  In French we have 4 exams: speaking (25%), listening (25%), reading (25%) and writing (25%).  The speaking exam takes place before the formal exams start in early May.

Cultural Capital & Enrichment

The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world. 

So what enrichment opportunities do we offer in modern languages?

The enrichment elements of the modern languages curriculum are extremely important in helping build pupils’ Cultural Capital. The exposure to authentic resources such as film extracts and literature extracts shows pupils how important other languages have been to the development of civilization.

The various topics we teach support pupils in gaining an awareness of differences and similarities between people of their own age and encourages pupils to develop a tolerant and understanding outlook on society. In addition, pupils are exposed to opportunities to enhance their learning outside of the classroom through educational trips, competitions and workshops. We are passionate about promoting a love of, and curiosity for, languages as well as helping pupils see the relevance of learning languages through a range of enrichment opportunities. This can be seen through career links as well as via stand- alone opportunities or clubs, such as French Film Club, languages club and we also provide additional sessions to support with homework or revision for all year groups.

We facilitate a range of educational visits and experiences including:

  • Residential visit to France
  • A half-day visit to Manchester’s Christmas markets
  • Languages events organised by The University of Liverpool / LJMU.
  • French film club
  • A meal at a French restaurant

Progression Routes

At Oldershaw, we hope to inspire the next generations of linguists who wish to pursue careers with modern languages. 

Being able to communicate in a different language opens up opportunities for living in, working in or travelling to other countries. We therefore want to empower our young people by equipping them with key skills that are invaluable to their future careers – transferrable skills as well as ML specific skills.

A modern language, such as French, provides a strong foundation for any job or profession which involves communication and writing as students who can communicate in a foreign language show a heightened understanding of and capability in their own language.

Jobs include:

  • translation
  • interpreting
  • journalism
  • law
  • business
  • government roles
  • advertising and marketing
  • linguistics and many more

In fact, any profession that requires strong verbal and written communication can draw on the key skills acquired whilst studying a modern language.

Potential routes post KS4:

  • For those who want it, further study at KS 5 – A Level French
  • Employment
  • Apprenticeships
  • University.  (A modern language can be studied alongside a whole range of subjects.)
The Oldershaw School
Valkyrie Road, Wallasey
Wirral CH45 4RJ
T: 0151 638 2800 E: Executive Headteacher: Mr S Fisher