Welcome to the MFL department

Departmental courses

  • GCSE French (AQA)
  • GCE French (AQA)

At Poole High School, we believe that 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.

Learning languages gives pupils the opportunity to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and sophistication. Pupils learn about the similarities and differences between languages and learn how to manipulate and apply language in a variety of contexts. The development of communication skills, together with understanding the structure of language, lays the foundations for future study and supports the development of literacy skills in a student’s own language.

Who do I contact for more information?

Mrs K Dolman (k.dolman@poolehigh.poole.sch.uk)

The aim of the MFL curriculum is to take the students on a shared journey, which systematically builds year on year and which provides both the stepping stones and the challenge necessary in order to be able to successfully read and listen to French as well as successfully manipulate the language and communicate in French.

Throughout Key Stage 3, we teach the Physical French Phonics in order to empower students with the ability to pronounce words independently as well as improving their listening and spelling skills.

Grammar is taught gradually, consistently and explicitly across the department as well as across year groups. Our clear and simple explanations are reinforced with active practice.

Our French Knowledge Organisers, which are fully integrated into lessons and home learning tasks, also enable students to develop the essential discipline of practising actively, little and often in order to build durable long-term memories. As students know more and remember more, they will see their personal average grow in our vocabulary league table and their class may even win one of the termly prizes.

In addition, students will be inspired to appreciate the relevance of speaking another language in the wider world, not only by the expert and consistent use of the target language by their teachers, but also by the cultural information and traditions integrated into the curriculum. Students will benefit at least once a term from our video library of interviews that we have carried out with people who use their languages in their professional lives.

MFL – GCSE French

Why study French?

More than 220 million people speak French and French is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the only other language, alongside English, which is taught in every country of the world.

The UK trades with over 200 countries worldwide. UK businesses need people with language skills and knowledge of a language is a unique selling point and a qualification that employers respect. Studying a language can also help you get into Further Education; many courses at university now ask for a language qualification, regardless of the subject of the course. You will be able to communicate for travel or work and enjoy new cultures.

French is an academic subject, which will enable you to develop a number of transferrable skills; such as the ability to communicate, analyse, problem solve, work under pressure, take risks and be creative.

Topics include:

  • Identity and culture
  • Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Current and future study and employment


  • End of year 11 exams in all four skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing
  • Paper 1: Listening 25%

Section A: Answer in English

Section B: Answer in French

  • Paper 2: Speaking 25%

Role play, photo card and general conversation

  • Paper 3: Reading 25%

Section A: Answer in English

Section B: Answer in French

Section C: Translation from French to English

  • Unit 4: Writing 25%

Two written tasks, plus a translation from English to French

Which students do well at French?

  • …those with an open mind, who wish to discover new cultures
  • …those who are sociable and relish a challenge
  • …those who would like to go on to further education, particularly university
  • …those who want to work in a multinational company or in leisure & tourism


French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English. A Level French is a highly respected academic qualification that will equip you to converse confidently as well as enrich your knowledge and skills base in English. Language study naturally enhances your confidence, communication skills and ability to problem solve (which stimulate brain function and memory). Language learning is a social skill and studying French at Poole High School will provide you with the opportunity to build friendships with Italian, Swiss or German students, who choose every year to study French at Poole High School. You will therefore be able to enjoy the practical application of what you are learning. Success in this course depends on a commitment to little and often practice, not being afraid to ‘have a go’ and make mistakes.

Departmental Courses

  • A Level French

The A-level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It fosters a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity, which are valuable to the individual and society.

Year 12

The two themes over-arching the two-year course are: social issues and trends and political and artistic culture. In the first year, you will start with a phase of intensive grammar study linked to the content of the course. You will then develop all four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) whilst building your knowledge of aspects of french speaking society and artistic culture in the french-speaking world. You will also study a celebrated film or book (un sac de billes and la classe). At the end of the first year, you will start to plan your independent research study.

Year 13

In the second year, further aspects of the social background are covered, this time focusing on issues such as life for those on the margins of french-speaking society as well as looking at the positive influences that diversity brings. You will also study aspects of the political landscape in a french-speaking country. You will study the second celebrated work (book or film), as well as continuing with your independent research work and honing the four skills in preparation for the final examinations.


Paper 1 listening, reading and writing based on the two themes studied (50% of a level).

Paper 2 writing based on the book and film studied (20% of a level).

Paper 3 speaking based on individual research project (30% of a level).

Who can I contact for help?

Mrs S Bannister (s.bannister@poolehigh.poole.sch.uk)

Learning a language at an advanced level will naturally increase your employability and your likelihood of travelling, living and working abroad, as france is the fifth biggest economy and top three locations for foreign investments. Learning how to speak french opens the doors to french companies in not only france, but also in other french-speaking parts of the world such as canada, switzerland, belgium, and north and sub-saharan africa. While you can benefit from knowing a foreign language with nearly every industry, here are the main highlights:

  • Media(journalism) and film industry
  • Tourism and travel services industry including airlines and hotels
  • Banks and insurance companies
  • Local, state and federal government
  • International non-profit organizations
  • Publishing companies
  • Department of defense and international embassies.
  • Representatives of foreign companies
  • Health services
  • Social services
  • Immigration services
  • Primary and secondary schools, universities, and colleges

Wherever possible we assist students in gaining both GCSE and A’ Level qualifications in languages in which they are fluent, such as: Chinese, Russian, Polish, Arabic, and Italian.


Students will be inspired to appreciate the relevance of speaking another language in the wider world, not only by the expert use of the target language by their teachers, but also by continual references to the opportunities that language skills can provide, both at home and abroad. The MFL curriculum strives to provide opportunities to use the language on a practical ‘real-life’ level through projects, such as writing to students in the French Alps.

The students’ experience is also enriched by our range of extra-curricular activities:

  • Globe Trotters (a club that celebrates a range of cultures, languages and customs)
  • International Film Club
  • GCSE and A Level Film Club
  • a long weekend trip to Normandy
  • A Level Aspirations Club (aimed at our GCSE students)
  • links with the MFL department at Reading University (KS5)