Curriculum Leader

Mr M Fitzsimons

Awarding Body

AQA Course Specification

Entry Requirements

L5 (or above) in GCSE French or GCSE grade B if taken before Y11. If you took French in Y9 and would like to take it at A level or if you are interested in taking a different language (eg Polish, Turkish, Chinese, Arabic etc) then please see notes in ‘Further course information section’.

Why choose French?

AXA, BNP Paribas, Danone, EDF, L’Oréal, Michelin, Orange, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Suez, Total… some of the world’s largest companies and leaders in their field have their headquarters in France, so it stands to reason that in the global economy French is an extremely important language. Furthermore, alongside English, French is the only language that is spoken on every continent as well as being both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture and a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.

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What will I learn in Year 12 French and how will it be assessed?

This is a ‘new specification’ subject. The school’s policy is that students enrolling onto new specification courses will not be entered for external AS examinations at the end of Year 12. Please visit the FAQs for more information on new specifications, their UCAS tariff points and the ‘decoupling’ of AS/A2 grades.

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What will I learn in Year 13 French and how will it be assessed?

This is a ‘new specification’ subject. The overall result for each student completing this course to full A Level standard will be based on the final Year 13 A Level examinations only. Please visit the FAQs for more information on new specifications, their UCAS tariff points and the ‘decoupling’ of AS/A2 grades.

There are three examinations in all: 

Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing
Weighting 50% of the total mark

Paper 2: Writing
Weighting 20% of the total mark

Paper 3: Speaking
Weighting 30% of the total mark

Topics covered during the course include the cyber-society, diversity in society, criminality, music, cinema and politics. Grammar is also a key element, as is the study of major texts and films.

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How will I learn?

You will learn through opportunities to:

  • read about a range of contemporary topics, both in the classroom and independently.
  • listen to authentic recordings based around contemporary topics.
  • regularly learn vocabulary through the online program Vocab Express.
  • develop the appropriate skills to be able to write essays in French.
  • gain in-depth grammatical knowledge.
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French can be studied as a single degree course or combined with virtually any other subject. A number of our former students have gone on to study languages at degree level, often at Russell Group universities and usually in conjunction with other languages, including Spanish, Russian and Italian. Anyone choosing to study French at degree level would normally be expected to spend up to a year living and working or studying in a French-speaking country.

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A knowledge of one or more foreign languages can be useful in a wide range of careers. For some jobs such as translating, interpreting, lecturing and teaching, language skills are essential. In other professions, including IT, law, finance, journalism and sales the ability to communicate in another language is a major advantage.

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Further Course Information

All students are provided with access to the Kerboodle online course and resources which include a range of listening and reading opportunities and assessment practice. Regular homework is a key part of the A level course while independent study is strongly encouraged so that students can remain up to date with current affairs and the culture of the French-speaking world.

Took GCSE French in Year 9?

If you took GCSE French when you were in Year 9 and are perhaps feeling a little unsure as to whether or not to pick it up again at A Level then fear not as help is at hand! We run catch-up French sessions every Wednesday lunchtime to re-visit key grammar points, get a taste of what the A Level is all about and explore some of the cultural topics that form part of the course, including films. Feel free to come along, it would be great to see you again. If you’d like any information please contact any member of the Languages team or email À bientôt !

Interested in taking another Language such as Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Turkish, Russian etc?

We have a long and very successful track record at McAuley of students achieving A Level qualifications in alternative languages such as Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Polish and Turkish. Although we are not always in a position to offer specific tuition, we can investigate the options available to anyone who has good writing and reading skills in a particular language. A wide range of A Level languages is available. Please speak to a member of the Modern Foreign Languages department or email if you would like to find out how to make the most of your language skills.

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