Meet Ms Sophie Young, Head of French at Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School

Hello Ms Young, tell us about yourself

Bonjour! I hold a BA joint honours degree in French and German from the University of Newcastle and lived and worked in France for four years before moving to Brighton in 2005 to do my PGCE in secondary MFL at the University of Sussex. As part of my degree course I spent 9 months living in Grenoble, France, where I worked as an English language assistant, teaching English to children aged five to 18. This was a fantastic year and the time spent in the French schools is definitely is what encouraged me to consider teaching as a future career.

How long have you been teaching?

For over 10 years now. Following my PGCE, I got my first job at Heathfield Community College (teaching French up to A-level and German at KS3) where I stayed for five years. I then took up a position at Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill where I worked as second in charge of Modern Foreign Languages, teaching French, German and Spanish.

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What do you do outside of school?

I love exploring new places and have travelled widely throughout Europe, as well as in Asia, Australia and the USA. Things are a bit different now I have two young children but with my husband Simon and children, we head off to holiday in France when possible. I love France; the culture, the food, the varied geography of the country, (particularly the west of France and its beautiful coastline). Closer to home I enjoy spending time with my young family at the beach and at the park, going swimming and to the cinema, watching productions at Ropetackle Arts Centre and spending time with friends. I like keeping fit and enjoy Pilates and swim regularly.

Why is learning a foreign language important?

I really feel it’s such an important, enriching and valuable skill. Being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an incredible gift. For children in the world ahead, language fluency may well offer them a competitive edge and open up more career opportunities. It certainly did for me. I really enjoy seeing the children make progress and become increasingly independent in their language learning. I aim to bring the subject to life by using authentic materials such as videos, songs, poem and games to make learning more interactive and to include as much speaking as possible in lessons.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

I am a keen snowboarder. I love the mountains and have spent four wonderful winters living and working in the French Alps.

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What do you enjoy about teaching at Sompting Abbotts?

Having experienced teaching in the state sector, I appreciate the smaller class sizes and having the time and space needed to give children the attention they require in different ways, the beautiful setting and being part of a small team of friendly staff...