French in S5-S6

Purpose and Aims of the Course

‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’ – Nelson Mandela.

The main purpose of the Course is to develop the skills of reading, listening, talking and writing, in order to understand and use French

The Course offers learners opportunities to develop and extend a wide range of skills. In particular, the Course aims to enable learners to develop the ability to:

  •  read, listen, talk and write in a modern language
  •  understand and use a modern language
  •  develop the language skills of translation
  •  apply knowledge and understanding of a modern language

The Course contributes towards the development of literacy skills by providing learners with opportunities to read, listen, talk and write in a modern language, and to reflect on how this relates to English.

The course aims to allow the students to further develop their French skills to a level of competence that will appeal to a range of students, whether they intend to follow a language course in higher or further education or not.

The course provides opportunities for students to develop further their skill of reading, discussion (written and spoken) and listening. In addition, it should contribute to the general education of students through consideration of intellectually stimulating texts of different genres and a range of themes. These themes include society, learning, employability and culture.

French will be used in class as much as possible as the medium of instruction and discussion.  Authentic videos and listening materials will be used for all class, group or individual activities. All pupils will have the opportunity to work with the French foreign language assistant weekly. 

The course involves an intensive study of the structure of the language and therefore involves the regular and thorough learning of grammar. Pupils will learn the new skill of translation as well as discursive writing.

The course assessment includes

  • Paper 1: Reading, translation and directed writing
  • Paper 2: Listening
  • A performance of Speaking where students engage in a conversation in French with their class teacher on topics they have covered during the session. Students will choose the topic areas they want to discuss. The performance lasts approximately 10 minutes and takes place in March.
  • An assignment: Students will give a written response to a scenario in French. Students will have the choice of the topic area they wish to discuss. This assignment tests the candidate’s ability to explore a topic area and express opinions in French. This will take place between mid-February and mid-March.

As the ultimate goal at this level is to become bilingual, as far as is practicable, French is the medium of instruction and discussion. There will continue to be use of blogs, video materials, newspapers and magazines. Within a smaller group and sometimes on their own, the students will have the opportunity to work with the foreign language assistant on a weekly basis.

There is a greater focus on grammar from Higher onwards. Out of the five periods, one will be dedicated to the study and practise of grammar concepts so that students become increasingly confident and accurate producing the language themselves rather than learning a bank of key structures.

The course aims to allow the student to further develop their French skills to a level of competence that will appeal to a range of students, whether they intend to follow a language course in higher or further education or not.

The course provides opportunities for students to develop further their skill of reading, discussion (written and spoken), listening and translation. In addition, it should contribute to the general education of students through consideration of intellectually stimulating texts of different genres and a range of themes. These themes include topical, personal and social issues and the environment. At this level, pupils are required to not only understand factual information from a text but also identify the overall purpose of this text and techniques the author used.

The students must also prepare a folio piece in English. This will be based on an area of study chosen by the teacher and discussed in class. However, the student will decide on the focus of that study following on some personal research and texts, films and articles studied in class.

The course assessment includes

  • Paper 1: Reading, translation and overall purpose
  • Paper 2: Listening and discursive writing
  • A performance of Speaking where students engage in a conversation in French with an SQA visiting examiner. The conversation will sample topics the students have studied throughout the session as well as the focus they have chosen for their folio. The performance lasts approximately 20 minutes and takes place between mid-February and mid-March.
  • A folio piece in English on their chosen area of study sent to SQA for marking in April.

As the ultimate goal at this level is to become bilingual, as far as is practicable, French is the medium of instruction and discussion. There will continue to be use of blogs, video materials, newspapers and magazines. Within a smaller group and sometimes on their own, the students will have the opportunity to work with the foreign language assistant on a weekly basis.

There is a greater focus on grammar from Higher onwards. Out of the five periods, one will be dedicated to the study and practise of grammar concepts so that students become increasingly confident and accurate producing the language themselves rather than learning a bank of key structures.

As per the earlier years, learning of vocabulary and grammar is crucial to make progress in a language. Students will be required to stay on top of the language on a nightly basis. 

On a weekly basis, they are also expected to learn a grammar concept and do some exercises to apply the new concept. They should also be preparing written answers to a range of questions in French to enable them to use these in essays and discussions with other students and the French language assistant.

At Advanced Higher level, students should also read and listen to the news in French as often as they can and engage with their personal research independently.

  • Ability to read, write, talk and listen in French.
  • Ability to make connections between French and English
  • Ability to identify the purpose of a text
  • Ability to identify literary techniques
  • Ability to appreciate the significant contribution French speakers have made to our world.
  • Ability to appreciate someone else’s culture and customs

‘I loved the study of French at N5. I enjoyed it so much I ended up taking it to Higher’


Is French for me? 

You will enjoy this subject if: 

  • You enjoy developing multi-tasking skills.
  • You want to understand how language works.
  • You are interested in meeting new people and discovering new cultures.
  • You like to strengthen your communication and decision making skills.
  • Want to develop skills relating to a range of language disciplines.

Famous French Speakers

  • Bradley Cooper – The Oscar nominated actor, director and producer is a graduate of the Modern Languages Faculty of Georgetown University, Washington D.C. 
  • JK Rowling – The author of the ‘Harry Potter’ series studied French at university. Her knowledge of the language is evident in many of the fabricated words and names that she included in the stories, which have French as their basis. Examples are Beauxbatons, which means beautiful wands, Fleur Delacour from ‘fleur’ meaning flower and ‘delacour’ meaning ‘of the court’ and Malfoy, from the French phrase ‘mal foi’ meaning ‘bad faith’). 
  • Eddie Izzard – The stand-up comedian and actor has toured his stand up show ‘Force Majeure’ in a multiplicity of languages across the globe. “There’s a political basis for me to learning other languages, because if we don’t come together in the world then the world’s not going to make it.”