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French at Gateshead College

Course description

Modern Languages suit those who are curious to discover new cultures and 'travel' in the broadest sense of the word, or those who see themselves as globe-trotting businessmen!

Success involves a highly disciplined attitude to memorising vocabulary on a daily basis, the ability to grasp grammatical concepts and to mimic strange sounds.

You need to have achieved grade A or better at the GCSE in the language you seek to take forward at AS Level

So what are the differences between GCSE and A Level?

  • The Level: there is a big gap between GCSE and AS/A level standards. To do well in these subjects, students need more grammar and a more extended vocabulary. Modern languages are demanding A Levels.
  • The subject matter. The GCSE course is based on students' daily lives. You were asked to write or talk about what you do at home, at school etc. At AS Level, we start taking a higher perspective. The course deals with issues in society, such as education, health, environment. This makes the AS course broader, and therefore more interesting than language GCSEs.
  • What you get out of it. With a GCSE, you might be able to survive in a restaurant or hotel. An A Level gives you the grounding to have real conversations with real people. Quite a few of our former students have gone on to use their language whilst working abroad.


Course content

Lessons are structured around the above skills and topics.

Typically, one lesson will use audio material as a starting point to studying vocabulary and grammar.

Another lesson will be based on written text.

Once a week, students are grouped in smaller sets (maximum of four students) to prepare and practise their oral topics.

There are also structured grammar sessions, in which we revise basic, GCSE level grammar before moving on to more advanced aspects.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of four GCSEs A* to C
  • An equivalent Level 2 qualification
  • Diploma Level 2


At AS Level, there is one language paper which combines listening, reading and writing tests. The second unit is the oral exam, which is examined by the students' teacher.

At A2 Level, the written paper includes translation, writing and civilisation. The other unit is another oral exam, again examined by our teachers.

Future opportunities

Modern languages are among the top A Levels in terms of university application, whether you are planning to apply for a language course or many other degrees.

If you are applying for a 'mainstream' language (French, Spanish, German, etc), a good A Level grade in the same language is usually required. Indeed, quite a few of our students move on to a language degree.

Interestingly, statistics provided by university language departments show that most students with a language degree do not go on to a career in which the language is the main focus (eg teaching, translating). Instead, many language graduates work in businesses, banking, etc. An A Level in a mainstream language can also lead to a degree in a less popular language that you have never studied before (eg with a French A Level, you can start a degree in Arabic never having studied it).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gateshead College directly.

Last updated date: 12 April 2016

Key information


  • More information
    • Gateshead College's Baltic Campus is located on the Gateshead quayside, just minutes from Newcastle City Centre and its attractions.

      The College is situated behind the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead.

      The College has its own car park, but at busy times alternative parking is available nearby.

      There is a charge for parking. Students can apply for a permit to allow free parking during study time.