The first language of 129 million people worldwide and spoken by 220 million across five continents, French has historically been the language of diplomacy; it possesses a strong literary and cinematic heritage; and is closely associated with the worlds of fine dining, hospitality and fashion. A practical tool and also a means to appreciate middle and high culture, French has a broad appeal and a key importance on both an individual and a global level.
At Oakham, French is a core subject studied by nearly all students to GCSE and by many beyond. It is one of the most popular subjects in the Upper School with about 70 students studying French at A-level or in the International Baccalaureate.
The Department comprises 13 teachers and 3 language assistants, whose aim is to foster a love of French language and culture among our pupils. We deliver all our courses using a variety of exciting, interactive resources and constantly aspire to teach ‘beyond the coursebook’ by exposing our students to authentic materials and literary texts.
In order to put their language learning into practice, Lower School pupils have the opportunity to spend a week in France at the start of July each year and in the Upper School we offer students the chance to do work experience in a French city, in an area of their choice. We have also enjoyed considerable success in multi-lingual competitions; recent ones being Nutty Tilez, Scoop and Flair for Fashion.
For Upper School students we offer many extra-curricular activities through Le Cercle Français (French Society). A very large proportion of our pupils who study A-level or Higher Level IB continue with French or combined degrees at university with excellent results. In addition, we offer specific classes in French literary study in preparation for Oxbridge applications.