Passionate about Languages

Hampton Court House is a profoundly Francophile school which believes in fostering French not just as an academic subject but as a living language through which we teach other subjects. In Early and Lower Years of the school, around half of the lessons are taught in French by native French speakers, thus creating confident, fluent young speakers. Teachers readily help children who need a little translation into English here and there but, all in all, the method is astonishingly successful at creating confident, fluent young French speakers.

In the Middle Years, when teaching in the wider school switches to English, we cater both for children who have developed strong French skills with us and for children who join us with little or no French. The subject is streamed into two sets from Year 7. Our more advanced students can prepare for the DELF examinations (Diplôme d’ Études en Langue Française), which, once they reach the B2 level, offers them the opportunity to study at most French universities should they wish to do so.

French and other modern foreign languages are popular at Hampton Court House. Our aim is to equip each pupil with the linguistic skills that many will need later in their professional lives. In addition, the French department organises trips to France and a French Drama Gala every year. Through the study of literature, French films and music, we are aiming to infuse our pupils with the love of learning a foreign language as well as developing their awareness and understanding of different cultures.

“The limits of my language means the limit of my world.” Wittgenstein

Caroline GéhinBA MA PGCE
  • Head of French


Related: Centre National d’Enseignement à Distance (CNED)

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Year 5 presentations and posters in French

Year 5 students have been learning about the DROM during their French lessons this week. The DROM are French departments and regions overseas like La Guadeloupe, La Martinique, St-Pierre-et- Miquelon, La Nouvelle Calédonie, La Polynésie française, Les îles Kerguelen, Adélie, Wallis-et-Futuna etc.... Each student was assigned one territory to research and then create a poster displaying their findings. The students have been presenting their research during the course of the week, all spoken in French of course!

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Year 1 complete French book project

The Y1 children have been working on a project about ‘how to make a book’ which began in January. They took part in a number of writing workshops, during which they invented and wrote their own story and illustrated it. This was a project that we ran with the help of some sixth-form students. During... the project we also welcomed the French illustrator Marianne Barcilon who delivered workshops to Y1, Y2 and Y3 in February, thanks to the support of the HCH Friends. The book is in French, but it is also translated in English for the whole school to read.

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Francophone Week 7th-10th May 2019

Staff and pupils are looking forward to ‘Francophone Week’ at Hampton Court House, celebrating the language and culture of the world’s many French-speaking countries.
Each classroom will have the flag of a country where French is (one of the) official languages, plus some economic and cultural... information of that country. There will be special lunchtime assemblies, workshops, French films and talks to encourage students to discover the Francophone culture beyond France.

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Francophone week

In the first week of May HCH hosted its first ‘Francophone Week’, celebrating the language and culture of the world’s many French-speaking countries.

Each classroom bore the flag of a country where French is (one of the) official languages, plus some economic and cultural information of that... country. Posters showing the distribution of French worldwide were also on display.

The week saw a succession of lunchtime assemblies run by teachers and their classes:

  • An introduction to the French-speaking world (Year 5)
  • A description and discussion of a Swiss animated film (Year 4)
  • A retelling of “Le petit Prince” by Saint Exupery (Years 8 & 9)
  • A special assembly presenting Francophone music with the year 4s that ended with some karaoke.

The Lower Years were also able to enjoy a number of workshops organised on two consecutive day in which they explored the cuisine of some Francophone countries, painted in the style of Magritte, wrote stories, and created posters for films that we might be showing soon at HCH.

The kitchen team also participated, kindly treating us to meals from Morocco, Belgium, French Guyana, and Canada.

The week gave all the children the opportunity to discover Francophone culture and see that it reaches well beyond France! We cannot wait until next year for more adventures!

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French Theatre at HCH

Yesterday, the children from Daycare to Year 3 enjoyed a beautiful play in French, ‘Le bel oiseau’. Petit Louis builds a wooden puppet but he wants it to be real and fly, so he is going to try and try again to make it work. A very poetic and magical story.

Visit of French Author to HCH

French author Eric Chevreau came to school last week and ran two different workshops with our students in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. This was part of the South Ken Kids Festival week.

Students looked at two of the author’s books:
– Years 3 and 4 learned about Mordicus, a mischievous apprentice sorcerer... who, in his latest adventure, travels through time.

– Years 5 and 6 discovered the series of books entitled Globe Report’air: 5 children from the 5 continents travel in a zeppelin having adventures around the globe.

The children enjoyed spending time with Eric and also had the opportunity to discover the process of getting a book published from the first idea to the printing of the book.

Eric candidly answered the children’s questions. It was a great opportunity for the children to have a French author as a guest speaker.

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