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Meet the French department

Studying French at Shimna means the chance to work with teachers who are language specialists and who have studied or worked in France or a Francophone region for an extended period.

Anne Clarke (Head of French)

Janet Mayers (French teacher)

Sara Camplisson (French teacher)

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Our French assistant giving a careers in French presentation during Careers week

French assistant

We are also lucky to have a French assistant who works primarily with A-Level and GCSE students. The assistant also visits KS3 classes where possible to deliver fun cultural and seasonal activities.

Academic offer

 Key Stage 3 French

Pupils work through a variety of topics in the language and develop the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. In addition students will also develop their grammar and translation skills. The linguascope planning grids for each year provide parents with a framework to help support and extend classroom learning. The Shimna French Quizlet classrooms allow our students to quickly gain access to their textbook topic vocabulary.

GCSE French

Students currently follow the CCEA French specification. They take examinations in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. The speaking is conducted by the teacher. It gives students the opportunity to develop their language skills and widen their awareness and understanding of French-speaking countries/communities. This specification focuses on the practical use of French and is a sound basis for progression to further study, higher education or employment. It benefits students by helping them to develop their knowledge of and enthusiasm for language learning skills by providing opportunities for the practical use of French. It also develops confidence to communicate effectively in French and ultimately helps students to take their place as citizens in a multilingual, global society.

A-Level French

Students follow the CCEA French specification. (Jamie can you hyperling CCEA to )

 It aims to enable students to:

  • develop an enthusiasm for and an understanding of the language and culture in a variety of contexts and genres;

  • communicate confidently, clearly and effectively in the French language for a range of purposes; and

  • acquire knowledge and advanced skills that will help them progress to further study, higher education or employment.

Language learning can open up a world of opportunities to students. This specification will help students avail of these opportunities and take their place in a multilingual, global society.


Extra-curricular offer

  • French Club is offered either by the French assistant and the sixth-form French students when possible or by another member of the department. Students can avail of the club to enjoy activities offered by the assistant or to get help with homework and exam preparation.

  • In Sixth Form students will have the opportunity to attend French Study Days and Film Days at Queen’s University, Belfast.

  • A-level students are offered the opportunity to take part in a French debating competition.

  • We work with three partner schools so students have great opportunities to correspond, communicate and work on joint projects with their French counterparts as digital pen-pals. This includes e-mailing, video messaging and skype/Facetime.

  • We offer a French exchange to our partner school.

  • A-Level students are offered the opportunity to carry out their work experience in France.

  • KS3 students are offered enrichment activities. A French breakfast for Yr 8. Yr 9 celebrate mardi gras and Yr 10 enjoy a French feast.

  • Speakers are invited to talk to students about careers in French during Careers week.

  • French language ambassadors. Our A-Level students represent French in school and beyond. They are given opportunities to deliver presentations, perform sketches, and have even promoted French in a local primary school

  • European Day of Languages competitions.

  • We offer early GCSE or A-Level exam entry to bi-lingual students.


What we do well

We educate students to be global citizens of the 21st Century. For our students growing up in the digital age it is of utmost importance that as a department we help to develop their digital literacy beyond the confines of social media and gaming and help them to thrive in our ever-changing and unpredictable world. As such we encourage the use of digital learning tools to boost language acquisition be it via Exampro, linguascope, Quizlet, Ipad or phone. Our digital pen-pal scheme gives students opportunities to correspond, communicate and work on joint projects with their French counterparts and includes e-mailing, video messaging and skype/facetime. This year for the first time our A-Level students have been able to benefit from the opportunities of iPad technology which we have used to enhance the academic program that is offered at A-Level providing students with additional support in their learning and preparing them for what is currently used in colleges and universities. We encourage our students to become citizens of Europe and the world by offering the enrichment and cultural activities detailed above and of course the French exchange. Over the past two years two of our A-Level students have won Best Speaker Award at the QUB French debating competition.

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