Studying French at A Level will develop students’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. They will gain confidence in communicating in the target language, and learn more about France and other French speaking countries.
Students have the opportunity to practise their language skills in the College’s well-resourced classrooms, enjoying access to the latest multimedia technology.
In addition, language students have timetabled lessons with a Foreign Language Assistant to help them become more fluent and confident in speaking the language.
All French students have the opportunity to take part in a study trip to France, where they will further improve their speaking skills and understanding of French culture.
Languages combine well with any subject. As well as offering pure language degrees, virtually all universities offer the chance to continue studying a language alongside another subject as part of a joint degree, or as a subsidiary.
In the workplace language skills are highly valued.
In Higher Education a single or joint honours degree in one or more languages, or in another subject plus a language, leads to greater employability – and the opportunity to perhaps work abroad.
The course covers a wide variety of current issues over the two years, as well as revising and extending some of the topics studied at GCSE.
In year one students study the family and relationships, cybersociety, volunteering, cultural heritage, francophone music and francophone cinema.
In year two we explore the positive aspects of a multicultural society as well as poverty, crime, young people and politics, demonstrations and strikes and politics and immigration.
In addition, students will study in depth both a film and a work of literature. Grammar and language skills are integrated into the topic areas.
Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences
French A Level students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In recent years, these have included:
- A trip to Montpellier where students stayed with host families, attended classes and took part in trips and visits
- The chance to visit universities for specific language events
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
The exam is taken in May/June of the second year and consists of three papers, all externally assessed:
A speaking examination lasting approximately 18 minutes; a listening, reading and writing paper (2 hours 30 minutes); and an essay paper (2 hours).
See FAQs for further details.
The exam board for this A Level is AQA.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:
- Grade 6 in French and Grade 4 in English Language
This course is of interest to students who:
- Enjoy communicating with others through speaking and writing
- Have an enquiring mind and an interest in the culture of the French speaking world
- Are thinking of travelling, taking a gap year or working abroad
Are the lessons taught in french?
Yes, as much as possible. At the very start of the course when students are making the transition from GCSE, half of the lessons tend to be in english. By the Upper Sixth they are almost entirely in french, except when explaining tricky grammar points or essay writing techniques.
Do you have a Foreign Language Assistant (FLA)?
Yes, the College has a French, a German and a Spanish Language Assistant. Each week students will have two double lessons timetabled with their main classroom teacher, as well as one hour with the relevant FLA in a small group, to practise their speaking skills. In these conversation classes, students will have the chance to practise exam speaking cards and go over their Individual Research Project. They will also play short games, listen to songs etc. to help them develop their confidence and fluency.
How are the courses assessed? Is there any coursework?
The Modern Language A Levels are assessed at the end of Year 2 by exam only; there is no coursework component. The exams are structured as follows:
Paper 1 – 50% – Listening, reading, writing and translation.
Paper 2 – 20% – Writing: Students are required to write one short essay on a film and one short essay on a book studied in class.
Paper 3 – 30% – Speaking: Students hold a discussion based on a given theme covered in the course. They must give a short presentation and then engage in discussion on their Independent Research Project.
Do the courses contain a literature element?
Yes, but this involves only one book which we study and discuss together in class. In the Upper Sixth, all students study a book, alongside the film studied in year one. For French it’s the autobiographical novel Un sac de billes by Joseph Joffo. Despite any initial reservations, students tend to enjoy the literature element and benefit from the extensive discussion and essay writing preparation that is covered during the course.
What is the Independent Research Project?
In the Upper Sixth, students undertake an Independent Research Project in preparation for the speaking exam. Students explore and research a topic of their choice related to France or French speaking countries. We encourage students to research their topic in the target language and to approach this task as an essay question with a structured argument, discussion and response. For example, Does Charles de Gaulle deserve to be considered a French hero?
Do you organise any trips or exchanges?
The department normally has annual overseas trips. French students visit Montpellier. They stay with local families, attend language lessons in the morning and have organised activities in the afternoon. The trip costs approximately £600.
Is there any extra subject support available?
We have Plus additional support classes for both Lower and Upper Sixth students, which are taught by the main subject teacher. In these lessons, we tend to focus on improving grammar and written accuracy.
What resources are available for students?
Students receive a textbook and in the Upper Sixth, the literature book for their course. There are many resources available online to students via our Moodle page; these include grammar activities and links to grammar websites, links to Quizlets to help with vocabulary, past papers and mark schemes, as well as films and TV series to watch in the various languages. The department uses Microsoft Teams, so the content will be available both at College and from home.