Senior School Classes


Languages are increasingly relevant to all of us: Britain’s membership of the EU has meant closer links between us and our European neighbours, whilst the ease with which one can travel to the most distant of places has brought the world and its languages to us.

S1 and S2 
As with the upper Senior school, in S1 and 2 we strive to give pupils a real flavour for languages including covering the four language skills of speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Pupils will cover the Modern Languages experiences and outcomes, developing their confidence, knowledge and skills. Pupils build up a strong vocabulary and a good grammatical base with which they can take forward into their National 4 or 5 courses in S3. They will achieve this through cross-curricular events, trips to French speaking schools/places and interactive classroom activities as well as working through textbooks.

For French, the S1 and 2 sets are split based on previous knowledge of the language and this continues through both years, with one set taking things at a steadier pace, covering more basic vocabulary but with the aim of being of a similar level when it comes to S3.

S3 and S4: National 5
To achieve Modern Languages National 5, learners must pass all of the Units and a course assessment. The Understanding Language Unit focuses on the receptive skills of reading and listening and will enable learners to develop their knowledge of more detailed language in the contexts of society, learning, employability and culture. The Using Language Unit focuses on the productive skills of talking and writing. The ability to apply grammatical knowledge is a skill which underpins both units. In terms of assessment there is a new emphasis on naturally occurring evidence that involves more than one of the four key skills. Staff can make use of a wider range of evidence including digital or spoken presentations, discussions, extended writing, notes, multi-modal texts or podcasts. An integrated approach to assessment (for example, an assessment combining listening and talking) will develop the learner’s skills in a realistic, communicative situation and will reduce the amount of assessment.

Assessment: The course assessment comprises:

  • Question paper 1: reading and writing;
  • Question paper 2: listening;
  • Performance: talking – Learners will deliver a presentation and engage in a conversation in the modern language.

S5 and S6: Higher
The course is divided into two units, one mandatory and one a choice of two to be studied for the duration of the academic year. Studying Higher French provides a worthwhile and enjoyable educational experience for candidates and provides pupils with an increasing bank of knowledge about foreign country or countries and its/their customs and ways of life.

Unit 1: Language: This unit aims to develop all language skills for use in a range of purposes. Contexts for this language work are defined in three broad themes – lifestyle, education and work and the wider world.
Unit 2: Either a) Extended reading/viewing or b) Language in work:
a)This unit aims to develop competence in the four skills of speaking, writing, reading and listening. Pupils will study something drawn from one of the following categories:
  • texts linked by subject matter, such as a magazine, newspaper or short story
  • texts linked by subject matter, developing in greater depth a topic studied
  • a book appropriate to the level of study and to the interests of the candidates written for speakers of French
  • film, video or TV viewing supported by written texts.
b)This unit aims to develop competence in the four skills of speaking, writing, reading and listening. The type of study undertaken is drawn fro a series of texts on a vocational or work related area of study selected from the vocational area of:
work experience
business studies
travel and tourism
information technology
Assessment: The course will be by means of a combination of internal assessment (externally verified) and external examination. The examination is 2hrs 40 min long with a 6-8 minute oral examination.

S6: Advanced Higher
Unit 1 Language: There are 3 broad themes that are subdivided into related topics and via which grammar is communicated and studied:

  • Personal, social and cultural issues – pattern of family life and media and the arts
  • Topical and cultural issues – European/global issues and issues relating to the country where the language is spoken
  • Environmental studies – pollution/conservation
Unit 2 EITHER Extended reading/viewing:
 Two areas of study are required: 1 written literary text with/without related video/film; any 1 of the following with/without related video/film, a second written text, a set of linked written text or a background topic.
OR Language in work: The study of texts, research and materials relating to the vocational areas of
  • travel and tourism
  • information technology
  • business studies
  • work experience
Assessment: Assessment is by a series of internal and external assessments that test the four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). A satisfactory performance in the internal assessments is required. The external writing test is both via a folio of work (15%) and a final exam (20%) and the external oral assessment (25%)will be conducted and marked by a visiting examiner. The listening and reading are worth 15% and 25%, respectively.