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French and English Language Courses

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The Roest family

(Annabel – A level at Downe House & Edward – IGCSE level at Radley)

We have been regulars at Vanessa Westacott’s “Papillon École de Langue” for the last three years and keep on coming back as her ability, teaching and fluency is ‘second to none’ and we fondly describe her now as our French language emergency provider! She has the great gift of bringing the French language alive and all her lessons are focused, fun and student-centred. Our two children have both followed their school syllabuses with her, which she is totally up-to-date on, in order to revise (written, spoken, reading and listening) for their IGCSE and A’ level exams and the improvement in their performance is hugely noticeable and long-lasting after each visit.
Vanessa has a fully equipped, modern classroom – with all the necessary material, and as she lives in France, she is fully up to speed with current affairs and topical issues, which are relevant for oral topics and general conversation – depending on your needs. Not only does she cater for students following a syllabus, but she also teaches mature students – who may just want to improve their conversational French or need to brush up their grammar for a trip or work. I have also enjoyed a number of lessons with Vanessa over the years and look forward to more in the future!
On a more personal note, Vanessa has a kind and patient manner and is both encouraging and motivating.
Our recommendation is tried and tested – Je vous encourage à essayer l'école vous-même !


UVI Pupil, Downe House

Feb 2018

Dear Mme Westacott,

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay with you and feel that the experience was hugely beneficial in preparation for my forthcoming French A Level exams. The varied programme from cinema outings to one-on-one résumé writing sessions gave me a greater sense of perspective for the language. Also, with your encouragement, I feel that I have gained more confidence when speaking in French. Upon my return to school after half term, my Language Teacher commented upon this, which was very pleasing to hear! With your tuition I feel that I made great progress in a short space of time and consequently would highly recommend your course.

Kind regards,


Mrs Emma McKendrick

Headmistress, Downe House School
21st April 2015

“Vanessa Westacott is an outstanding teacher of French whose enthusiasm for and knowledge of the French language are first class. Her record of success in teaching students and supporting them to achieve their maximum potential is enviable and in large part attributable to the positive relationships that she builds up, the well-structured and tailored planning that lies behind her teaching and of course the fun that her students have with her too. I would have no hesitation in recommending any student to learn under Vanessa's tutelage.”

Mrs Jane Basnett

Head of Modern Languages at Downe House School
23 April 2015

“I have been very lucky to work alongside Vanessa Westacott.  She is a passionate linguist and Francophile and she delights in sharing this passion with her colleagues and her pupils.  She is the consummate professional who works hard preparing resources that will enthuse and inspire.  She cares deeply about her pupils and focuses on their needs to ensure that they work to fulfil their potential and more.  Her love of speaking French and her ability to unpick grammatical issues for her pupils make her an excellent teacher and the person to go to for anyone who wishes to develop and perfect their French.”


Livia Russell

Lower VI Pupil, Downe House School 2014 – 15

“Madame Westacott has been my French teacher for four years and I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for me. She inspires confidence in all her students, is approachable, enthusiastic and has an incredible wealth of knowledge on all vocabulary and grammar. Most importantly her lessons have encouraged me to apply to read French at University.
I will really miss her lessons but wish her the best of luck starting this amazing venture.”

Emily Hill

Lower VI Pupil, Downe House School 2014 – 15

“Madame Westacott is a really good teacher and my French has definitely improved so much since she started teaching me. She always explains grammar really clearly and makes really useful notes for us. We speak a lot of French in class which has really built up my confidence and I am very grateful for all the help Madame Westacott has given me over the past year.”


Emma Peddie

LVI Pupil. June 2015

“Mme Westacott has been my best French teacher since I started learning the language. She is really encouraging and she has given me so much more confidence in every aspect of my French. I would especially recommend her for grammar and speaking, although she is amazing at teaching every part of the language.”


Emilia Hewlett

(Upper Sixth at Downe House 2014-2015. Gained a D2 in French at pre-U level)

Dear Mme Westacott,

Thank you so much for all that you have done for me these past two years. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning French with you and you have been an excellent teacher. Our lessons were both interesting and rewarding and you have been so helpful with everything. I wish you all the very best of luck with your new French school and life beyond Downe.


Alison Atkinson

Mother of two daughters who were both coached by Vanessa. Penny gained an A in French at A Level in summer 2014 and younger sister Kate gained an A at GCSE level in summer 2014)

Dear Vanessa,

I'm writing to thank you for being such a wonderful tutor to Penny and Kate over the past two years. It has been a huge comfort knowing that the girls couldn't have been in more caring and capable hands. You helped to build their confidence enormously by being so patient and supportive. Your enthusiasm has inspired them to embrace the language and all things French.  In fact, your enthusiasm has even rubbed off on me!

We especially appreciated all the occasions when you were 'on call' to give the girls encouragement and reassurance before the daunting exams.

The girls and I will really miss your weekly visits as you have become such a good friend to us. We wish you every happiness and success in your exciting new venture.

Love and best wishes,

Alison x


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