Avoir une deuxième langue, c’est posséder une deuxième âme.Charlemagne (c747–814) King of the Franks

C’est un signe de médiocrité, que d’être incapable d’enthousiasme.Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) French novelist and playwright

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821) French military and political leader

Impossible n’est pas français. Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821) French military and political leader

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 TilezScoop 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. 

Edward Milner

Head of Modern Foreign Languages

Head of French for 12 years following a stint in charge of university applications. Prior to joining the teaching profession, I was a language assistant in Nice then returned to finish my degree at Oxford before briefly working in a bank. I am a tutor in Gunthorpe House and also continue to work in the Careers Department.

Sarah Angove

Housemistress of Hambleton

I am fortunate enough to have been teaching French for 13 years, having read French and English at St Andrews University. A year as an Assistante in a French high school in Saintes (Charentes-Maritime) helped me realise that working with young people, sharing my enthusiasm for the French language and culture, and laughing my way through most days was definitely the career for me! I am also a 6th form tutor, and involved in various other facets of Oakham School life, including DofE and Lower School book club. My interests outside of school include singing and travel; sometimes I even get to mix the two!

French News