General Introduction for MFL at AGS

Why study languages?

Welcome to the Department of Modern Languages at the Antrim Grammar School. In a world which is becoming increasingly competitive, a qualification in one or more European language will be a significant advantage in the job market. To equip our young people for their future we offer two major European languages. All students study both French and Spanish in Years 8-10 and can choose to continue with one or both of them to GCSE and A-Level.  Year on year we achieve GCSE and A-Level results which are consistently above the Northern Ireland Grammar School Average.  For the past three years our students have achieved 100% grades A*-B at A Level in French and many of them continue their French studies at university.

All our staff are subject specialists with a wealth of teaching experience both in this country and overseas.  We also have a permanent French language Assistant who works with small groups of A-Level students to help develop their spoken French skills. 

We teach in a suite of dedicated rooms, each equipped with Interactive Whiteboard, sound system and video equipment.

French Department Teaching Staff

Ms K McCrory, Subject Leader French, Head of Languages
Dr D Byrne, Teacher of French and Spanish
Mr. J Ross, Teacher of French
Mr F. Jabaud, French Language Assistant


Teaching and Learning Aims

As a department we aim to provide each student with an enjoyable and rewarding experience of learning French and we use a range of engaging classroom materials and activities to help build their confidence. 


The topics studied are relevant to students’ lives and lessons aim to develop communicative competence based on a sound grasp of grammar though a variety of fun and challenging activities. Students also learn something about daily life and culture in French speaking countries around the world and have the opportunity to exchange emails with students in our partner schools in France.



Extra curricular activities


We pride ourselves in the opportunities we offer students to extend their language experience beyond the classroom and the leadership experiences we offer our senior students.


We recruit “Language Ambassadors” from Sixth Form students who organise activities for junior students at lunch time.  These range from sample lessons in other languages to quizzes, competitions and parties!  Year 8 students are also invited to a delicious French breakfast every year in the Autumn term.


Students  in years 11-14  have the opportunity to take part in trip to Paris every other year when they visit iconic Paris landmarks and have the opportunity to try out their language skills first hand!  Sixth Formers also have the opportunity to take part in classroom support with junior and middle school  classes and to teach French in a local primary school as part of our European Day of Languages celebrations each September. Each year the Sixth Form take part in the French Debating competition in Northern Ireland, which they won in 2013.  We also enter students for the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad, with students making it to the final in Dublin every year.


Key Stage 3

In KS3, we use the Encore Tricolore and Voilà series of text books, supported by our own learning resources.


Year 8

Greetings, numbers, classroom objects, where you live, family,  home, pets, dates, clothes and descriptions..

Year 9

Weather, hobbies, food, shopping, daily routine, school life.

Year 10

Where you live, TV and films, a trip to a theme park, celebrities and lifestyle.


Students follow the CCEA French GCSE Specification. The course is assessed through a combination of examination papers (Reading 20% and Listening 20%) and controlled assessments (Speaking 30% and Writing 30%).In Year 11 and 12, the students complete TWO written tasks worth 15% each, and TWO oral tasks worth 15% each.



A-Level French gives students a fascinating insight into the French language and culture. Whilst developing the ability to communicate confidently and effectively in French in both speaking and writing, they also learn about the contemporary society, cultural background and heritage of French-speaking countries and communities.

The study of French contributes significantly to students’ personal development, and helps develop skills which are valued at higher education and in employment.


Students follow the CCEA A-Level French specification.

AS Level

Unit 1 Speaking

This is made up of a presentation which students prepare in advance, followed by a conversation. It is conducted by an external examiner.

Unit 2

Section A – Listening and  Section B  - Reading

The listening and reading texts are based on the topics studied throughout the year, namely Relationships and Culture and Lifestyle.

Section C – Use of Language

This section contains short grammatical exercises and translation of simple sentences into French.

Unit 3

Extended Writing – students write one essay on a film or piece of literature studied during the year. This year we are studying “No et Moi” by Delphine de Vigan.

A2 Level

Unit 1 – Speaking

Students present and discuss a topic which they have researched.  This is then followed by a general conversation.

Details of the subject content can be found on the CCEA website

Unit 2 – Listening and Reading.

The texts in the Listening and Reading tests are taken from the topics studied over the year, namely Young People in Society and Our Place in a Changing World. There is also a passage to translate from English into French.

Unit 3- Extended writing

Students write one essay on a piece of Literature studied during the year.

Details of the subject content can be found on the CCEA website

Career Opportunities

What can I do with a qualification in French?

Learning a language will develop a wide range of skills which are highly valued by employers in a range of industries such as communication skills, research and time management, organisational skills, team working, the ability to think clearly and apply logic to problem solving as well has having a global outlook.

Learning French can open up opportunities in an extremely wide range of careers.  A recent CBI survey found that 67% of UK businesses require people with language skills.  Studying French can lead to careers in Business, Law, Computer Games Development, Travel and Tourism, Speech Therapy, Teaching, Journalism, Interpreting and Translating and is also useful in careers such as Engineering and ICT.