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French A Level at St Olave's Grammar School

Course description

Studying a language in the Sixth Form requires a solid grounding in vocabulary, grammar and structure at GCSE level, as well as the motivation and determination to work hard and, above all, the curiosity to find out about culture!

We will be following the AQA German AS and A Level specifications using a variety of books and resources to spark our students’ interest, and we encourage them to borrow materials (novels, plays, DVDs) or use web-sites to facilitate their independent learning, which is so important.

Our Sixth-Form students work with our French assistants to develop their speaking skills in compulsory weekly sessions, both at AS and A-Level.  Our students also subscribe to the French magazine Chez Nous, which gives them an insight in the culture and customs of the French-speaking world, whilst enabling them to further practise the skills of reading and listening.

Course content

At least an A Grade in GCSE French is required by students wishing to study A-Level French. Work continues post-GCSE with the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing at a higher level.  Additionally, the ability to translate and summarise will form part of the exam, and the film La Haine will be studied. 

Work in terms of vocabulary, grammar and structure also continues in the following two broad topic areas:

  1. Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends
  2. Artistic culture in the French-speaking worldeaking (Stimulus card & chosen topic)

Students will confirm whether they will be sitting AS or continuing to A-Level in the first half of Year 12.


Language work continues at a higher level than that of AS French and focuses on the following topic areas:

  1. Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues
  2. Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world

In addition, students will take an in-depth look at L´étranger by Albert Camus and discuss a stimulus card, as well as a chosen individual research project, in the oral examination. 



Paper 1: Listening, Reading & Translation into English

  • 1hr 45
  • May

Paper 2: Translation into French & Essay on the literature/film

  • 1hr15
  • May

Paper 3: Speaking (Stimulus card & chosen topic)

  • 12-14mins
  • May



Paper 1: Listening, Reading, Translation into English & Translation into French

  • 2hrs 30
  • June

Paper 2: Two essays on the literature/film

  • 2hrs
  • June

Paper 3: Speaking (Stimulus card & chosen topic)

  • 16-18mins
  • May

Further information


Students have the opportunity to spend four days in Paris to discover the main cultural land-marks of the French capital city. Every year they can enjoy this holistic experience which takes them to a cinema to watch a French film in the target language and also a Parisian bistro to taste some typical dishes such as escargots or crème de marrons

We also run a French and German film club at lunchtime, aimed at Year 11-13 students, in which we show current French/German films in the target language, with English subtitles.

Some students choose to go on a work experience in a French city, which is organised through a specialist company.

When possible, we take our students to conferences in London to study specific topics in more depth or watch films/plays organised by the Institut Français.

At key times during the year we also gather to cook or bake some French (sweet) recipes.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Olave's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 24 March 2017
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