Modern Foreign Languages

Head of Department: Mr B Dubois

Department Introduction

The Modern Foreign Languages Department at HBHS is staffed by four specialist language teachers including one native speaker. Each member of the team has enjoyed a varied and wide-ranging experience of living, travelling, working, teaching and studying overseas across Europe and beyond.

Mr Dubois, head of department, is a native French speaker who also teaches Spanish. Mr Dubois is originally from Dunkerque but has lived in Kent for many years. He first came to the UK in 2005 to work as a language assistant at a school near Glasgow but has worked here at HBHS for fourteen years.

Miss Willetts is another very experienced member of the department and also an examiner for AQA GCSE French Speaking exams. Her language specialisms are French, German and Linguistics. Although fiercely proud of her Mancunian roots, she has lived and worked in many countries around the world including Bermuda, Togo (W Africa), Greece, France, Switzerland and the USA. This is her eleventh year at HBHS.

Mrs Newell is a French and Spanish specialist and has travelled extensively throughout South America. She has worked part-time in the department for nine years.

In September 2019, we welcomed Mr Jarvis, who recently moved from Mexico to Kent but is originally from Scotland. He is our newest member of the department and has been re-introducing Spanish for the past couple of years to give the students a broader experience of language learning.

Those students who choose to pursue GCSE French will enjoy a challenging but rewarding course, which starts in year 10. We follow the AQA GCSE French specification which culminates in year 11 in four separate examinations to test students’ capability in each of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

It is our aim as a department to encourage our students to think beyond the geographical boundaries of our country and to consider how travel to and interaction with overseas cultures can provide a wealth of opportunity and enrichment in life.


Key Stage Three: Years 7 – 9

All Year 7 and 8 students have two language lessons per week. One of French and one of Spanish. We follow the ALLEZ! Course for French and the Claro Course for Spanish both provided by OUP. All Year 9 students also have one lesson of French and one of Spanish each week. They also follow the Claro Course for Spanish and with increased content at GCSE we begin an introduction to some of the AQA GCSE content for French for Year 9 students.

We aim to offer a summer day-trip to northern France each year for Year 7- Lille, St Omer or Dunkerque linked with the History department to revisit the battle of Dunkirk. Year 8 students have an opportunity to visit the Christmas markets of either Lille or Arras in December. Year 9 students who are opting for French at GCSE will also get the opportunity to join the Year 10 residential trip to Paris.

Key Stage Four: Years 10 - 11

We continue working towards GCSE French in Year 10. Students who continue with their language studies into Year 11 work towards AQA GCSE French. The course is examined at the end of Year 11 in four separate examinations: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students of French have three timetabled lessons per week.

The highlight of the course is our residential and over-subscribed Year 10 trip to Paris in July, where students take in the sights and sounds of the best the French capital has to offer. 

Click here for more information about GCSE French

Key Stage Five: Years 12-13

Our post-16 linguists study towards the AQA A-level qualification, which allows students flexibility and the freedom to choose the content of some of their course. The course is demanding and requires a substantial commitment to independent study but students will enjoy examining both classic and contemporary French film and literature.

Click here for more information about A-level French



For our Year 7 students, every year we offer a day trip in summer to Lille, Boulogne, St Omer or Dunkerque. In early December each year, we take around 90 Year 8 students to Arras to visit the Christmas Markets. For our GCSE French students in Year 10 and Year 9 who are opting to study GCSE French, we offer a residential trip to Paris in July.

In addition to our overseas visits, we frequently take groups of students to the British Film Institute in London to enjoy foreign language film study days. We also enjoy close links to local universities and take part every year in the University of Kent World Languages Day and Key Stage 4 Study Days.

Web links for independent study. (Ask your teacher for login details)

Some of the best apps for language learning on your phone or tablet include:

Linguascope (free to download with your school login)