The last twelve months have been a busy time for France and a busy time for the French Department. The Brexit result sent shockwaves around Europe and placed greater focus then ever on the French presidential and legislative elections. This proved very handy for the Year 13 pupils as they studied the topics of immigration, the EU and young people’s engagement with politics. Rarely can a year group have had so much material! The election of a candidate who was almost unheard of when the Class of 2017 began their A Level course showed the rapid changes happening in our society, with the traditional parties left far behind, and the continued popularity of French A Level reflects pupils’ interest in preparing for uncertain times.

Carrying on the theme of bidding adieu to the old guard and welcoming the new, this year’s Year 12 pupils embarked on the all new AQA A Level course, a voyage of discovery that has seen them tackle a wide range of new themes, exploring in depth the culture and society of France and other French speaking countries. The course is broader than ever before with world heritage sites, French language music, changes to society, new technologies, cinema and literature all featuring. Alongside the excitement of all that is new, we also said au revoir to Monsieur Batignole, a film that has charmed pupils for a number of years and formed an integral part of their study of France during the Nazi occupation. Louis Malle’s masterwork, Au Revoir Les Enfants has taken its place.

On a more personal level, the new was represented by the arrival of Mme Martin’s beautiful baby girl. We were lucky to have Mme Vecino and Mme Daries on hand to fill the gap left by Mme Martin’s absence.

Finally, in terms of the new, Mr Spillane’s Year 10 class, packed full of talented linguists, completed the IGCSE course and have already made some tentative steps in their new adventure of learning Italian. The Latin trip came at just the right time to enable them to practise their skills on unwitting ice-cream sellers.

Just as l’Hexagone will now be hoping for a period of stability after such a dramatic shake-up, the French Department looks forward to some time for consolidation. But with languages, nothing ever stays still.


French and PE Trip to Saint-Jean-de-Luz

By María B. and Javier R.

A week after the end of exams and a few lucky Year 10 pupils were off to France! We were extremely lucky to have the privilege to travel there. We did a wide variety of activities, both cultural and physical, and it offered a great opportunity to speak French. During our stay, we tried many water sports such as paddle-surf, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and surfing. The beach, sand and sun were a constant friend, and we spent most of our time enjoying the cool waters of the French Atlantic.

But it wasn’t all sports. We also visited surrounding towns and villages, such as Bayonne and Saint-Jean de Luz. They were absolutely beautiful, with impressive views of the coast and a cuisine we were glad to experience. Local crêpes, ice cream and croissants became as much a part of the trip as the sea, and it was very hard to go hungry!

We enjoyed a great five days, ending in one final dinner in a restaurant on the port; a truly memorable ending to a truly memorable trip. We are very grateful to the teachers, Miss Legros, Miss Del Río and Mr García for organising it.