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French A Level at Sandwell College

Course description

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.

Course content

We aim to build on what you have learnt for GCSE in order to give you the confidence to be able to use French in class and on visits to the country. It helps if you have an interest in grammar, as accurate use of the language is even more important at AS and A Level.

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 and starts with some 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. Most listening work is done individually, using sound files stored on the college computer system.

AS Level French will cover the following topics:

Travel and exploration
 Advantages of travelling, working and studying abroad
 Impact of travel on society (economic, social, physical and environmental)
 Local culture and festivals in France and French-speaking countries and communities
Contemporary youth culture
 Entertainment, music and the arts
 Media and digital culture
 Youth sub-cultures, trends and personal identity
Studying a film

A Level French will cover the following topics:

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

At A Level, the requirement to research an area of personal interest will enhance students' cultural appreciation and enable them to gain a greater awareness of intercultural differences.

Entry requirements

All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects (of which two must be B grades) including GCSE English Language. 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.


Both AS and A Level French are assessed through three examinations:
- Speaking (30%) - 15/23 minutes speaking exam
- Listening, Reading and Translation (50%) - 2 hour 30 minutes written exam
- Critical and analytical response in writing (20%) - 1 hour 15 minutes/2 hours written exam
The examinations are a mixture of short answers, structured questions, essays and a speaking test. There is no coursework involved in the subject.

Future opportunities

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.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 01 June 2016

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