Subject Overview

Why Study A Modern Foreign Language?

A language is an extremely useful asset in the world today. If you visit another country and you travel beyond the places where the tourists gather, you quickly discover that the belief that everyone understands English is largely a myth. The reality is that only 6% of the world’s population speak English as a first language. 75% of the world’s population don’t speak any English at all!

French is an official language is 29 countries and spoken on every continent in the world. It is the official language of the UN, Médecins sans Frontières and the Red Cross.

Other reasons to learn a language include:
• Better understanding of different cultures and the English language
• Enhanced confidence
• Wider understanding of current affairs
• Making travelling easier and more enjoyable
• Increased employability/job options

Modern Languages Online Resources

In the MFL department of RHS we use a variety of ICT to enhance teaching and learning such as Promethean interactive boards, IPAD’s, Activote and designated ICT periods.

We also use a range of interactive websites including: (see teacher for username and password)

Finally, we have developed our own departmental website which provides all our pupils from S1-S6 with valuable resources to further their language learning and skills.

Curriculum Levels

All students in RHS from S1 to S3 have the opportunity to complete their Broad General Education in French for 3 periods per week.

The French courses which students follow are Métro and the lively, interactive course called Studio. These allow pupils to develop their skills in Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening. Film studies, cookery projects, French breakfasts, inter-class vocabulary competitions, Business brunches, blogs with partner school in Lyon and trips abroad inject their learning with fun, as well as making lessons a meaningful experience and broaden their knowledge of France and its many different customs and culture.

Both courses have built-in assessment and homework activities. Homework is an essential part of teaching and helps to establish a routine of high expectations and achievement. Pupils are expected to revise vocabulary on a daily basis.

Pupils in S3 have the opportunity to elect to study Spanish for 12 weeks. Pupils quickly learn the basics in the language and then go on to prepare for the SQA accredited award ‘Languages for Work’ at Level 4.
Pupils can progress with their language learning for four periods per week to study National 4 or National 5 French and cover topics such as Technology, Education and Health. The new course topics are relevant to young people and the authentic materials show the importance and relevance of learning at least one Modern Foreign Language in today’s society.

Further details of units and course content can be obtained from

What can a pupil do after S4?

If, at the end of S4, pupils wish to continue to study Modern Languages:

  • A pupil achieving National 4 may choose to progress to National 5.
  • A pupil achieving National 5 may choose to progress to Higher.

A pupil achieving Higher may choose to progress to Advanced Higher.

In S5 we can offer Higher French for 6 periods per week. The topics covered are developed further from those in S4, often tackling slightly more pertinent issues.  Whilst improving upon all four language skills, pupils are also considering many important global issues.  The real challenge is the final Talking performance which is dreaded by most yet carried out with an excellent level of proficiency.  Pupils work very hard to ensure their performance shows off how much they have progressed and achieved in their years of studying a foreign language.

Advanced Higher is also offered in French. This is a very demanding course and requires a great deal of focus and research by pupils in their own time. We are very pleased to note that all pupils show a great deal of commitment and work hard.  The level of language is complex and requires pupils to take full advantage of all resources available to them online and at home.  The topics are, again, all the more sophisticated and, at times, controversial.  The final folio also offers the pupils the opportunity to consider a piece of literature or film pertaining to social issues in French speaking countries.  The nerve-wracking final talking exam is a twenty minute conversation with a visiting examiner.

Pupils have the chance to visit an authentic French restaurant to sample delicacies such as frog’s legs and snails and can also attend the multilingual debate at Heriot Watt which offers an insight into the world of interpreting.