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French at The University of Birmingham School

Course description

The AQA A level French specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. It fosters a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity, which are valuable to the individual and society. The content is suitable for students who wish to progress to employment or further study, including a modern languages degree. 


Course content

The approach is a focus on how French-speaking society has been shaped, socially and culturally, and how it continues to change. In the first year, aspects of the social context are studied, together with aspects of the artistic life of French-speaking countries.
In the second year further aspects of the social background are covered, this time focusing on issues such as life for those on the margins of French-speaking society as well as looking at the positive influences that diversity brings. Students also study aspects of the political landscape in a French-speaking country, looking at immigration from the political perspective and at the way in which political power is expressed through action such as strikes and demonstrations. Teenagers and the extent to which they are politically engaged looks towards the future of political life in French-speaking society. 
Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of themes relating to the culture and society of countries where French is spoken, and their language skills. They will do this by using authentic spoken and written sources in French. The choice of works (literary texts and films) offers opportunities to link with the themes studied during the course. 
The key areas studied are:
• Social issues and trends
• Political and artistic culture 
• Grammar
• Works: Literary texts and films

Entry requirements

A minimum of five Grade Bs, or 6s, and a least a Grade C, or a 4, in both English Language and Mathematics at GCSE.

A minimum of a Grade B, or a 6, in French is required to study French at A level.


The qualification is linear, therefore examinations will be taken at the end of the course. 
Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing (Based on: Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends, Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues, Artistic culture in the French-speaking world, Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world)
Paper 2: Writing (Based on one text and one film or two texts from the list set in the specification)
Paper 3: Speaking (Based on an individual research project, one of four sub-themes i.e: Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends, Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues, Artistic culture in the French-speaking world, Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world)

Future opportunities

Languages open doors: In a globalised world, speaking more than one language is a key skill. Employers are looking for candidates who can communicate across borders. Careers requiring knowledge of languages are diverse and often include the potential for international travel.
As a linguist you develop skills and expertise that are highly transferrable. You learn to read varied texts, listen for key information, translate accurately and communicate convincingly to different audiences. You develop an understanding of other cultures, perspectives and political systems, as well as studying film and literature.
To study languages is to study a truly interdisciplinary subject, which enables you to develop academically, socially and as an individual.

Further information

At the University of Birmingham School, the French A level course is underpinned by our character values, which are at the heart of all language learning. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The University of Birmingham School directly.

Last updated date: 08 November 2017
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    • We are located on the University of Birmingham's Selly Oak campus, on the corner of Weoley Park Road and the Bristol Road, in front of the Orchard Learning and Resource Centre. There is some visitor parking on site at the front of the School during the day. All visitors should report to the main reception to be signed in.