Why learn French?

One good reason to learn French is because it is a giant among international languages.

  • There are over 120 million people who speak French fluently, either as a native or adopted language and who use it on a regular basis.
  • It is the 11th most common first language in the world, with 77 million first language speakers and another 51 million second language speakers and is, after English, the second most commonly taught second language in the world.
  • There are many French-speaking-countries – French is the major or an official language in over 30 countries, second only to English.
  • French, with English, is the only language spoken as a native language on 5 continents and the only language taught in every country in the world.

Key Stage 3 French

French at Sheffield High School is taught in a lively and engaging way and we are sure you will enjoy learning the language with us. Some girls come into the school having learned French in their Junior Schools, but if you haven’t done any French before, don’t worry: our activities cater for all levels of experience.

We have a link with a school in Brittany and correspondence with French school children is an integral part of our studies.

French GCSE (Edexcel IGCSE)

In September 2013, we started teaching a new qualification called the Edexcel Certificate, which is aligned with the trend towards linear courses and final examinations. The topics are varied and we spend the entire course building structures little by little so that, by the end of Year 11, girls are able to communicate spontaneously in French. This equips them to spend time in France but in particular it prepares them thoroughly for A-Level study.

French A-level

We follow the new AQA specification for A-level French. In Year 12, students study the culture, society, politics, world of work, tourism, festivals, music, media and of France and French–speaking countries.  They also study a French film in detail.  A firm understanding of grammar is essential in Year 12 and dedicated grammar lessons are an integral part of the course. This enables girls to use French independently and creatively.  Increased contact with our foreign language assistant helps girls with their oral work and keeps them on top of current affairs.

In Year 13, students study immigration, integration and multiculturalism, both within France and the French-speaking world. They also study the history of France, including the Second World War, and a French novel.  At the end of the course, students are assessed on their listening, speaking, reading, writing, translating and research abilities.  The skills developed during the course will prepare students thoroughly for academic life at university. Indeed, many of our students go on to combine French with another subject at university, such as other modern languages, English, economics, marketing, history, European Studies, politics, law and medicine.


  • We offer trips to France at all key stages. In Key Stage 3, we run a 3-day trip for Year 8 girls to St Omer in Northern France. In Key Stages 4 and 5, we offer 5 days in Montpellier, staying with host families and attending language classes in the mornings. 
  • We can help girls to arrange work experience in France to accompany their 6th form studies.
  • The use of film is becoming increasingly prominent in our curriculum and we study films in every year group. This year we are running a Key Stage 3 French Film Club and also offering a Key Stage 4 and 5 French DVD lending library.
  • Our foreign language assistant helps to run clinics to support girls at all stages of their learning.
  • All Year 7 girls enter a national foreign language Spelling Bee Competition and we have had national finalists every year so far.