Why Choose French?

It is compulsory to study one modern European language in Belvedere College.  Students may choose from French, German or Spanish.  They also have the option of studying two languages if there are sufficient numbers.

Why choose French as a modern foreign language?

French is a language that opens up the world.  Did you know that more than 220 million people speak French in the world?  French along with English is the only language spoken on FIVE continents.  It is also the second most widely taught foreign language in the world after English.
Learning French will enhance your employment prospects, not just in France, which by the way, is the world’s fifth biggest economy, but also in Europe, Africa, Canada or South-East Asia.
Many multinationals use French as a working language and  it’s an official language of international organisations like the UN, the EU, the Red Cross, the International Olympic Committee and the International Courts to name but a few.

French is the world language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. Learning French opens up a whole new world of culture and civilisation for you.

Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world. Students with a good level of French are eligible for French government grants to enrol in postgraduate courses in France in the discipline of their choice and qualify for internationally recognised degrees.

And for those of you more interested in sport, French rugby is alive and kicking and some of our past pupils have even played with French teams!
On s’amuse bien en cours de français à Belvedere !  French is easy and fun to learn and students develop wonderful communication skills as a result.  French is spoken as much as possible in class and students develop the basic skills of language: listening, reading, speaking and writing. They study French culture, music, film and French cuisine, and all Belvedere students love the French breakfasts in class!
Many students have French pen pals. So for all these reasons, French is definitely a language worth learning.  Le français, j’adore !


Mission Statement

The French Department is committed to the academic, social and personal development of the students, but also to help the less able ones to reach their own potential, regardless of standard. In insisting on high standards, our intention is not merely ‘academic’ but is aimed at assisting the boys to develop their personality and abilities in a much broader sense-to think beyond the exams and enjoy learning.

A great deal of time is spent, outside of class time, in helping students individually. This is perhaps most evident in the preparation of Rhetoric students for the Leaving Certificate oral exam, where many teachers see the pupils on a one-to-one basis. This is not the only way, however, in which care is shown for each individual boy. Where necessary, teachers give extra time, after school hours, to students experiencing particular problems in French.

Culturally, we endeavour to develop the boys’ awareness of France and its distinctive culture and thereby, hopefully, help to make them more aware of the divergence of cultures beyond our own shores (and increasingly within Ireland itself). The Lyon exchange is a practical example of this aspect of our work.

Our policy in regard to how French is taught us essentially encapsulated above. We place great emphasis on academic standards, not for their own sake, but rather as a means of developing the person in a more general way. The individual student is given priority as a human being. It is our intention to help each boy to widen his horizons in an enjoyable, fulfilling way. In this way it fits in perfectly, we feel with the aims of Jesuit education.

French being a language which is spoken world-wide emphasises the wider world, albeit through an emphasis on one language. In the context of the European Union, it has a practical as well as a cultural significance-working and spending holidays in French-speaking countries etc.


French Department Team

Ms. Catherine Keogh (Head of Dept.)
Ms. Louise Curtin (Assistant Head of Dept.)
Mr. John Connell
Mr. Simon Murphy
Ms. Alice O’Donoghue
Ms. Louise O’Sullivan
Ms. Maria Fenton
Ms. Millie Barnes


Junior Certificate French

General communicative aims as per the Department of Education Syllabus:

(a) To enable pupils to cope with the normal classroom use of the target language;

(b) To equip pupils with a competence in the target language which would enable them to provide themselves with basic necessities, to avoid misdemeanours and/or serious embarrassment, and to engage in some degree of social interaction in a country/situation where only the target language was in use;

(c) To furnish pupils with linguistic skills which will make it possible for them to pursue at least some aspects of their general interests through the medium of the target language;

(d) Through (a), (b) and (c) and otherwise, to ensure that pupils’ competence in the target language is such as to be conducive to the fulfilment of the general educational aims specified above.

Breakdown of French Junior Cert Honours Paper (320 marks)

Aural 140 marks    43.75%
Comprehensions 100 marks    31.25%
Written  Expression 80 marks      25%

Breakdown of French Junior Cert Ordinary Paper (320 marks)

Aural 140 marks    43.75%
Comprehensions 120 marks    37.5%
Written  Expression 60 marks      18.75%


Leaving Certificate French

Link to French Department of Education syllabus – Click here

Breakdown of Leaving Cert French Honours Paper (400 marks)

Aural 80 marks     20%
Comprehensions 120 marks   30%
Written Expression 100 marks   25%
Oral 100 marks   25%

Breakdown of Leaving Cert French Ordinary Paper (400 marks)

Aural 100 marks    25%
Comprehensions 160 marks    40%
Written Expression 60 marks      15%
Oral 80 marks      20%

Senior Cycle French: click here to see the online curriculum


The French Exchange

French is a compulsory subject taken by all pupils to Leaving Certificate level. Strong emphasis is placed on communicative skills and classes are generally conducted through the medium of the target language. Teachers of French make great effort to hone all four language skills; speaking, listening, reading and writing in preparation for Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations.

Students are also encouraged spend time in France during their six years of study. Simon Murphy and Louise Curtin organise the Lyon Exchange for TY students and it is a great opportunity for students to practise their language skills and to gain first-hand experience of French life. Other activities include inter-school debates, excursions and competitions.

To read about the 2020 French Exchange, please click here.

From 2022 the French department is collaborating with other Modern Foreign Language
departments in the College and is running an M.F.L trip instead of the French exchange.


French Debating 2019-20

Félicitations to the équipe des débats français who won in the semi-final of the Alliance Française Joûtes Oratoires competition against St Andrew’s.



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