Every pupil learns French in Year 7 at Oxford High School and then can choose to continue through to GCSE in Year 11. The aim of the course is to stimulate lasting pupil curiosity in the language, by giving them every opportunity to communicate in the language, and to develop their linguistic and grammatical knowledge. At the same time, the course aims to develop cultural awareness of France and French-speaking countries, through reading, films, plays, trips, French Days, and French Clubs. For Year 7, and supported strongly by senior girls, there is the French Club, which meets once a week, to play French games and to develop French beyond the normal classroom atmosphere. Later on, there is the French Literature Club for Year 13 where poems and prose are discussed in a relaxed manner. In the Sixth Form, a large number of students continue with French, and here they have the opportunity to study literature, art or to watch and discuss French films as part of their A level. The added resource of French websites which the department subscribes to and interactive boards allow them to have instant access to a wider culture, as does having Le Monde and other French magazines in the Library.

The Department is headed by Madame Harskin. Madame Harskin came to Oxford High 14 years ago and previously taught in two private boys’ schools, King’s College School in Wimbledon and Latimer Upper School in Hammersmith. Madame Harskin was born in Bordeaux where she stayed on to graduate from the University of Bordeaux III.