Modern Foreign Languages

“A different language is a different vision of life.”

Frederico Fellini

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

Frank Smith

Welcome to Modern Foreign Languages

Students at Outwood Academy Ripon can learn French, with extra-curricular opportunities available in German and Latin. As the academy becomes ever more over-subscribed, we hope to offer a further language in addition to French. We believe strongly in a knowledge-led approach and our teaching is constantly informed and refreshed through engagement with the latest research in MFL learning. As a department, we aim to equip students with an appreciation for different languages and cultures and to provide challenging and simulating activities to develop their skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation. Students grapple with grammar, deduct and infer from authentic texts and enjoy French songs and poetry. They communicate with each other in French through a range of collaborative activities, play language games and write compositions on topics based around their interests and contemporary issues affecting the world around them.


Miss Esther Bilby – Head of Languages
Miss Amy Robertson – Teacher of Languages
Miss Kathryn Hawkins – Director of Languages (1.5 days a week)

Year 7 and Year 8

All students learn French. Students have 2 hours a week and are given regular homework to consolidate their learning. Homework will usually involve learning vocabulary, quizzing or sometimes a more extended piece of written work.

The Scheme of Learning is designed by our specialist Languages Director Team, with contribution from Heads of Department across the Trust. Our team benefits from a wealth of experience in teaching French, including marking for the GCSE exam board and attendance at courses in the latest methodology. As a result, our Schemes of Work are bespoke, thorough and robust. Students are given the best possible opportunities to become GCSE-ready. In addition, our curriculum is created to be rich in knowledge, whilst also being fun and engaging for young people.

Assessment is in the form of regular Praising Stars tests and assessments, often based around age-appropriate versions of GCSE style exams. Students know which skills are valued in mark schemes and what they need to do to improve. Students in Y7 and Y8 are assessed in all skill areas across the course of each year, giving teachers a clear picture of their progress.

Year 9 – Year 11

Students can choose to continue with French as an option subject from Y9 onwards. Again, our Schemes of Work are carefully designed by a team of experts and enable students to cover all the necessary vocabulary and grammar to achieve success at GCSE in Y11. Working over 3 years gives our students ample opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to do well. At Outwood Academy Ripon, students are entered for the AQA GCSE French exam and are assessed in listening, speaking, reading and writing, with translation featuring in both the reading and writing papers. All skills carry equal weight (25%) and students can enter for either Foundation or Higher Tier. Assessment throughout Y9 – Y11 continues with regular Praising Stars assessments, which become more and more reflective of the GCSE exam as students progress. Students in Y11 will also take a mock exam and have the opportunity to sit a full GCSE speaking mock. The GCSE centres around engaging and interesting themes, varying from relationships, technology and festivals to social issues and holidays through to career choices and future ambitions.

Please contact Esther Bilby on if you would like further information about any aspect of our French courses.

Career Opportunities

Job opportunities for students with languages include specialist occupations, such as interpreting, translation and teaching, but also industry, business, marketing, finance, the civil service, the European Union agencies, law and the media. Languages graduates are on average 10-15% better paid than other arts graduates and have one of the lowest unemployment rates overall. With the UK as a whole now producing fewer and fewer linguists, students with a Modern Language are increasingly sought after. If you choose to take languages further, you will have the opportunity to spend a year abroad, giving you the opportunity to experience life in another country and to develop lots of the skills valued by employers.

Extra-curricular Opportunities

At OAR, we have taken students abroad to enable them to practise their language skills and get a flavour of French-speaking cultures. We also offer a German Club for our Y7 and Y8 students, a Latin Club for those enrolled on our Honours Programme and Y11 Intervention for GCSE Success. Y8 and Y9 students are given the opportunity to take part in the exciting Languages Challenge, a national competition run by SOAS University in London. Y7 students develop their vocabulary skills through a Trust-wide Spelling Bee, with finalists taken to Sheffield Hallam University for a Grand Finale and our most talented linguists in Y8 are invited to attend a Gifted and Talented Challenge Day, again at Sheffield Hallam University. We are in the process of establishing links for projects in French-speaking countries as well, so there is always lots going on in MFL!