Here at Merrill Academy, we passionately believe that learning a second language is an essential part of all pupils’ education. Lessons are high quality and engaging and pupils make good progress as well as gaining many cultural insights into French speaking cultures and countries. All students study French in year 7 and 8 before they make their GCSE option choices.
In Year 7 we start with the basics so don’t worry if your child has not studied French at Primary School. At Key Stage 3 pupils have 3 French lessons per fortnight. The first term is spent covering the basics before pupils move onto topics such as Food and Drink, School Life and Free-Time activities. The curriculum is designed to tie in as effectively as possible with the new GCSE format so that pupils are well prepared when they reach Year 9.
For every unit of work that they study, pupils will sit two assessments in two of the following skills:
We have recently moved to a 3-year GCSE system. This has proved very beneficial as it allows us to cover topics in more depth as well as preparing students for the key exam skills they will need to show in Year 11. The curriculum is divided into three themes: Identity and Culture, National and International Areas of Interest and Current and Future Study and Employment.
Students are assessed every half term in two of the four key skills: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. We therefore have an up to date picture of Students’ strengths and weaknesses at all times. Pupils will also sit Mock exams in all fours skills at the end of year 10 and midway through Year 11. They are also set a learning homework every week as well as a homework based on one of the key exam skills.
At Merrill Academy, we love to give students the opportunity to put their learning to practical use. We run a very popular 3-day trip to Northern France in year 7 and 8 every July and we intend to branch this out to year 9 and 10 as of next year. We also have a partner school in Neufchâteau in France and each year we welcome a group of 40 or 50 French Students into the academy for a couple of days. Miss Decaudaveine also runs a very popular French club at Friday lunchtime where pupils can improve their language skills as well as taking part in lots of fun activities.
Being able to speak a second language can open up a huge variety of job opportunities not open to single language speakers. Having a second language also means that on average you will earn 10-15% more pay.