Who is this course for?
If you already know that you are good at languages, then learning French is a useful choice, as it is the official language of France, an official language of the European Union, and it is also spoken in parts of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada as well as many countries in Africa, such as Senegal and Ivory Coast.
Studying the language is not only about understanding the grammar and structure of the language, it is also about how people live and use the language on a day-to-day basis. You will develop your ability and confidence to use and understand the language and the culture.
Formal Entry Requirements
All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects (of which two must be B grades) including GCSE English Language. We will count Level 2 Btec Diplomas towards this total, but only merits and distinctions will be counted and each diploma will count as one GCSE. Additionally, you will need GCSE French at B or above.
What does the course involve?
We aim to build on what you have learnt for GCSE in order to give you the confidence to be able to use French in class and on visits to the country. It helps if you have an interest in grammar, as accurate use of the language is even more important at AS and A Level.
French can be studied in either your first or second year as an AS Level qualification or over two years as a full A Level.
A typical class includes a wide range of activities and starts with some general conversation in French. We then study some aspects of the structure of the language, and then look at some source material in French, using sound recordings or video extracts, written and spoken sources or the Internet. Most listening work is done individually, using sound files stored on the college computer system.
AS Level French will cover the following topics:
• Leisure and Lifestyles, including travel and tourism, sport, hobbies, entertainment, customs and traditions; healthy living - health and nutrition, diet and exercise; unhealthy living - drugs, AIDs, smoking, alcohol.
• The Individual and Society, including relationships and responsibilities, gender issues, youth culture (values, peer groups, fashions and trends) education, vocational training and future careers.
A2 Level French will cover the following topics:
• Environmental Issues, including technology pollution, global warming, transport, energy, nuclear energy, renewable energies, conservation, recycling, sustainability.
• Social and Political Issues, including the role of the media, racism, immigration, social exclusion and integration, terrorism, the world of work (employment, commerce, globalisation, etc).
• Two cultural topics from: the World of Cinema, the World of Literature, the Regions of France.
You will develop the ability to speak and write about these topics in French.
How will I be assessed?
Both AS and A Level French are assessed through pairs of examinations: one in Listening/Reading & Writing and one in Speaking. The examinations are a mixture of short answers, structured questions, essays and a speaking test. There is no course work involved in the subject. You take one exam for each of the units; so that’s two for the AS Level and a total of four for the full A Level. Any of the units can be retaken if you don’t do as well as you had hoped.
Where can I go next?
Apart from being beneficial at a personal level, your A Level in French can help with quite a few career paths. For those who want to specialise in language, there are teaching, translation or interpreting. There are also travel and tourism, journalism and the diplomatic service. You can combine a lot of subjects at university with French. Here are just a few examples: Art & French, Business & French, History & French, Law & French, Mathematics & French, etc... But even as an engineer or designer, being proficient in a language will give you broader career options.