Modern Foreign Languages

Head of Department: Ms R Willetts

Department Introduction

The Modern Foreign Languages Department at HBHS is staffed by five specialist language teachers including two native speakers. 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.

Miss Willetts is head 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 ninth year at HBHS.

Support leader for the department is Mr Dubois, 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 eleven years.

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

Ms Pecqueux is a native speaker of French who proudly hails from Belgium. She is fluent in Russian and has spent time living and working in Belarus, Poland and Russia. This is her third year at HBHS.

In September 2019, we welcomed Mr Jarvis, who recently moved from Mexico to Kent but is originally from Scotland. He is our Schools Direct trainee for this academic year and has been tasked with re-introducing Spanish to the department.

Those students who choose to pursue GCSE French will enjoy a challenging but rewarding course, which starts in year 9. 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 tiny 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 – 8

All year 7 and 8 students have two lessons of French per week. We follow the ALLEZ! Course provided by OUP.

We aim to offer a summer day-trip to northern France each year for year seven- Lille or St Omer, and an opportunity in year 8 to visit the Christmas markets of either Lille or Arras.

Key Stage Four: Years 9 - 11

We begin working towards GCSE French in year 9. Students who continue with their language studies into year 10 and 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 or St. Omer. 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, 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 your personal login details) (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)