Bonjour! Learning French at St Helen and St Katharine is a fun and rewarding experience, offering students numerous benefits for academic and future career prospects.

Indeed, it can open up a world of opportunities. With over 275 million speakers worldwide, French is an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO and the International Red Cross. As a GCSE and A level student, proficiency in French can lead to exciting possibilities such as studying abroad, working internationally and engaging with different cultures.

Learning French can boost your cognitive skills and academic performance. Research shows that learning a new language can improve brain function and boost memory, concentration and critical thinking skills. Studies have also shown that students who study French tend to perform better in standardised tests and that they are linguistically more equipped to absorb new languages in the future.

Activities in French classes are varied and our Language Learning Centre allows us to enhance students’ learning experience by offering interactive learning activities on a range of platforms – such as Sanako, Active Learn, Boost, Linguascope and more – as well as giving access to authentic resources, eg magazines, podcasts, news outlets and songs.

Lower School

Middle School

Sixth Form


9–7 at GCSE 2023


9–8 at GCSE 2023


A*–B at A level 2023

“I have most enjoyed the range of the topics that we cover throughout the course and how they are so interesting and relevant to our world today. I especially like learning about the problems in society and why they still occur to this day; like racism and discrimination. But I also like how they can link nicely to my other subjects of art and global perspectives.”
Bea, Upper Sixth

Academic enrichment

We always look for opportunities to add to the experience of our students and support their learning. For example, Year 9 have the opportunity to attend a play in French by the Onatti Theatre troupe; it is a great way of developing their listening skills and enthusing them about how much they understand already.

In the past, Year 11 and Sixth Form students have been invited to cinema evenings to discover more about French society and culture through the medium of film. Students have also attended webinars and a conference in London at the British Film Institute to look into French New Wave film directors.

In Year 10 and Year 11, students can sign up to our popular trip to Lyon. This trip is joint with Abingdon School and includes French lessons in the morning and cultural excursions in the afternoon. In the evening, students stay in groups of two to three in host families where they get to practise their French and discover what daily life is in a French home.

And, A level students can go on our Joint Art and French long weekend in Paris. We spend four days exploring Paris, its museums, galleries, sights and cafés. A great opportunity to use their French and find out more about their course topics in situ.



We run an MFL Club for Years 7 and 8 students who come at lunchtime for cultural sessions run by an MFL teacher and a group of Sixth Form students. Discussions have included French music, looking at French short stories and fairy tales, as well as making French food.

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