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.
All students studying A Levels must have at least five GCSEs at grade A* – C (grade 9 – 5) in academic subjects, including English Language at grade C (grade 5). Two of these must be B grades (grade 6). Specifically for French, there is a minimum entry requirement of a grade B (grade 6) 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.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE INVOLVE?
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)
Theme A – Being a young person in French-speaking society:
Families and citizenship
Youth trends and personal identity
Education and employment opportunities
Theme B – Understanding the French-speaking culture:
Regional culture and heritage in France, French-speaking countries and communities
Media, art, film and music in the French-speaking world
Studying a film.
A Level (Year 2)
Theme A – Diversity and difference
- Migration and integration
- Cultural identity and marginalisation
- Cultural enrichment and celebrating difference
- Discrimination and diversity
Theme B – France 1940-1950:
- The Occupation and post-war years June 1940-May 1945
- The cultural dimension in occupied France 1945-1950
- Studying literature and film through the study of a book and a film
- A personal cultural research project to be presented and discussed during your speaking exam.
HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
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%).
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, for example: Art and French, Business and French, History and French, Law and French, Mathematics and French. But even as an engineer or designer, being proficient in a language will give you broader career options.