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.
All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs at grade C or above (grade 5 or above) in academic subjects, including GCSE English Language, of which two must be B grades (grade 6). There is a minimum entry requirement of a Grade B in French at GCSE. If you have spent a significant amount of time in a French-speaking country, it may be possible to join the course, after discussion with your tutors.
At the end of your first year, you will need to achieve a D grade at AS Level in order to progress to study at A Level during the second year.
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 such as 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.
AS Level (Year 1)
Being a young person in French-speaking society:
▪ Families and citizenship
▪ Youth trends and personal identity
▪ Education and employment opportunities
Understanding the French-speaking culture:
▪ Entertainment, music and the arts
▪ Media and digital culture
▪ Youth sub-cultures, trends and personal identity
Studying a film.
A Level (Year 2)
Diversity and difference
▪ Migration and integration
▪ Cultural identity and marginalisation
▪ Cultural enrichment and celebrating difference
▪ Discrimination and diversity
France 1940-1950: The Occupation and post-war years
▪ From June 1940 – May 1945: occupation, liberation and end of World War II
▪ Life in Occupied France and the cultural dimension (théâtre, cinéma, littérature)
▪ 1945-1950: rebuilding and restructuring
▪ Repercussions for modern day France
Studying literature and film through the study of a book and a film.
A personal cultural research project.
Both AS and A Level French are assessed through three examinations: Speaking (30%), Listening, Reading and Translation (50%) and Critical and analytical response in writing (20%).
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 and French, Business and French, History and French, Law and French, Mathematics and French, etc. But even as an engineer or designer, being proficient in a language will give you broader career options.
Success Rates on courses for 16-18 year-olds nearly 7% better than national average*