Humanities and Languages

Curriculum Intent, Implementation, Impact



The new French course will improve knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the French language, French cultural traditions and the wider French speaking world.

Through KS3 and KS4, students build vocabulary and develop confidence and flair and resilience, taking ownership of their new learning. Through first-rate and explicit teaching, including new grammatical concepts, structures, tenses and expressions, they progress to mastery of the language; able to exchange ideas and information in the target language with increasing fluency, improving pronunciation, intonation and complexity of ideas. Students are able to listen to and respond to increasingly complex written, literary and spoken texts as well as accurately producing written French to communicate their developed, linked and balanced ideas.

French at Pyrland School promotes five key competencies, essential to thriving in a connected 21st century global market:

  • Thinking skills
  • Understanding language symbols and texts
  • Managing self
  • Relating to others
  • The necessity to participate and contribute.


Students at Pyrland School aim for the accredited AQA qualification in French – 8658. The course is well-supported with a range of resources, including but not limited to Pearson Education’s new Active Teach software, using Dynamo 1, 2 and 3 at years 7-9 and Studio AQA Higher at in years 10 and 11.

At KS3, students gain up-to-date cultural content and an active approach to learning grammar to motivate and engage. Supported by Dynamo 1-3, students:

  • Build key language skills at KS3, providing a seamless transition to GCSE and ensuring pupils are ready for the demands of the new GCSE.
  • Gain a robust and pupil-friendly approach to the challenges of learning grammar, promoting active engagement and building on logical progression.
  • Receive a real taste of French culture, with up-to-date resources that bring language learning to life.
  • Experience a proven approach to differentiation, in both print and interactive digital resources, enabling pupils of all abilities to progress.

These new services are supported by time-proven language learning applications such as Linguascope, Memrise and should students wish, language software such as Duo-lingo.

Having completed Dynamo 1, 2 and 3 at KS 3, students choose their options. Those who choose to continue to GCSE arrive ready for the course highly motivated, keen and driven to succeed, supported by outstanding teaching and resourcing.

At KS4, students follow Pearson’s AQA Studio package, supported by video, sound and Active Learn digital media. The three themes studied during the course are:

  1. Identity and culture
  2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  3. Current and future study and employment

The course is assessed through listening, speaking, reading and writing, with each component worth 25 per cent of the total mark.

During their 50 minute listening and reading examinations students will have to understand both gist and key detail, being able to answer in both English and French to a wide range of questions based on the themes of study.

In their speaking, students ask and respond to a range of questions, including picture prompts, role-play situations and conversations focusing on a theme chosen by the candidate as well as a more general free-flowing conversation. Students speak for up to 12 minutes in French.

When writing, students not only show they can extend and develop their ideas on a range of issues and using increasingly complex structures and language, but also that they can master translation from a wide variety of sources both in English and in French and understand and evidence nuances of meaning.

The course can be followed at two levels; Foundation Tier, which accesses grades 1-5, and Higher Tier, which allows students to pass at grade 4, to the very highest awards at grade 7, 8 and 9. All students at TTA follow the course at Higher Tier although the final decision to enter at Foundation Tier may be made later in Year 11.

Homework is set regularly and at least weekly at KS4. Students are expected to prepare rigorously for assessments.


Students leave Pyrland School as confident, connected and life-long language learners. Some opt to continue and excel in their studies at A-Level or the International Baccalaureate. They develop higher order thinking skills, can understand and decode nuances in language and texts and are adept at managing themselves and their work. Modern language scholars understand the importance of participating and contributing to the world around them and are able to appreciate and to relate to others. They are better prepared for a globally connected 21st century world.

They leave us with excellent passes in French at GCSE and pass rates in Modern Languages are frequently some of the best in the school, with many students leaving with passes at a very high level. These hard-working young men and women are better equipped than mono-linguists in their future careers, have significantly broader cultural capital and employer appeal than their peers. They may go on to study languages at Richard Huish College, apply for scholarships at Taunton School or other institutions and some continue their language studies at university.

Owen Shrimpton, Head of Faculty – Humanities and Languages

I am pleased to have been appointed to the Head of Humanities and Languages Faculty at Pyrland School in September 2016. Joining the school full-time as Head of Languages in January 2015. I am delighted to see the increased confidence which our students have in speaking in French in their classes at all levels of the curriculum.

Prior to my appointment I taught a range of disciplines in several schools in New Zealand. Working variously as the Head of French, the Head of Outdoor Education and leading the International Department of a large all-boys school I have a wide experience of diverse learners and developed an eclectic range of specialisms. I have been privileged to lead students on educational trips and enrichment activities in places as far-flung as Tahiti, New Caledonia and the New Zealand Southern Alps.

Before starting my teaching career in the south-east of England I was a Kent Police Officer and prior to this journalist within a regional news firm. I lead the curriculum areas of History, Geography,  Religious Education and Languages and a team of 12 staff dedicated to help our students make excellent progress, enjoy their learning and develop into fine young men and women.



KS3 curriculum map

KS4 curriculum map

National curriculum and inclusivity document 


Contact the faculty team - Humanities and Languages

Mr O Shrimpton, Head of Faculty

Mr B Collinge, Deputy Head of Faculty

Mrs M Baker, Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages

Mr A Dean, Teacher of Humanities

Miss H Jeffries, Teacher of Geography

Mr I Rogers, Teacher of Geography

Mrs H Sainsbury, Teacher of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

Ms M Sylvian, Teacher of History

Mr D Yiend, Teacher of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics