French is taught from the 6s onwards at Swanbourne House, with the early focus on introducing elements of the language in a fun and interactive way. Games, songs and websites such as Linguascope are all used alongside ‘La Jolie Ronde’, a workbook which allows pupils with prior knowledge of French to work at a faster pace. From the 9s onwards the syllabus loosely follows “Tricolore”, with plenty of bespoke material and realia used alongside the textbooks. Pupils working towards academic scholarships work at a much faster pace from the 11s onwards, with specific scholarship material introduced from the beginning of Top Year.
There are plenty of opportunities for extra-curricular French throughout pupils’ time at Swanbourne, with French language plays from specialist theatre companies in the 9s and the 10s and a week at the Château de la Baudonnière in the 11s. The Château provides an immersive experience, with a range of outward bound activities carried out entirely in French. As well as assault courses, archery, team-building and the like, there’s a day trip on which pupils have the opportunity to use their French skills in shops and markets. Mealtimes are all conducted in French and there’s an opportunity to dress up with a French theme.
French is the only modern foreign language on the core curriculum, but tutors provide individual and group sessions in other languages. We currently have pupils studying Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, some of them as early as the 6s. Requests for other languages are always welcomed. Ancient Greek is offered as an extra-curricular activity to the 10s and above. The clubs runs for one evening a week, is open to beginners, and aims to prepare pupils for Common Entrance at the end of the course in Top Year.