Hodder Education Logo

Sign in for a more personalised experience

Unlock a more personalised experience to discover special offers, suggested products and more!

Sign in

What's new for the French Common Entrance exams?

There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the excitement of young language learners who have succeeded in making themselves understood in a foreign language, whether simply buying croissants in a boulangerie, ordering food and drink in a café or exchanging personal information with native speakers of that language.

Learning a language is so often associated with complicated grammar rules and never-ending lists of vocabulary, and yet there is so much more pleasure to be gained from being able to communicate with speakers of another language, whether at a simple or more advanced level.

Designed to be accessible to learners of all abilities, the new CE French course aims to encourage young language learners to be positive and enthusiastic about learning new language skills, curious about how languages work and undaunted by mistakes, which are such an important part of the learning process.

Based on the principle of ‘Do less, but do it well’, the grammar and vocabulary topics in the new CE French specification have been streamlined to enable young language learners to have a more meaningful learning experience, so that they become more confident in their knowledge, understanding and application of the core language skills. It also encourages the development of wider language skills, such as spotting language patterns and learning how to cope with unfamiliar language.

In terms of assessment of these language skills, there is little change of note in the way reading, writing and listening skills will be assessed in French from November 2022 onwards.

Changes to the Speaking component at both Levels 1 and 2 reflect a desire to give young language learners of all abilities a real sense of achievement when taking part in a role-play scenario that they may later experience ‘for real’ on a trip to France, when responding to questions based on information they have been given, rather than on what they have memorized, and when participating in a more open, spontaneous and natural conversation. However successful they are at speaking French at this stage of their language journey, the seeds have been planted for future growth.

There is no doubt that the foundations laid during the prep school/Key Stage 3 years lead to more confident linguists at GCSE level and beyond, and the suite of Hodder Education French resources has been written with this in mind. Offering accessibility as well as rigour, the teaching, revision and exam practice resources have been written by current and former teachers of French at this age group and reflect the changing focus of the new CE French course, as well as the changes to the way in which the language will be assessed.

Whether studying French for the CE course, or as part of a Key Stage 3 programme of study, the skills covered in these resources will stand young language learners in good stead for the years ahead.

Gill Cork is the chief setter for Common Entrance French for the Independent Schools Examination Board.

Hear from us

Curriculum changes. New materials. Price discounts and unmissable offers. We’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing with regular email updates, tailored by subject and age group.

Know it all