French A Level - Block C at Gravesend Grammar School
Studying French at A’ level is likely to give you the edge over a similar applicant without a linguistic background wishing to enter university or gain employment. It provides the opportunity to build on key transferable skills required by top universities and employers alike, enhancing your linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility and developing your capacity for critical and analytical thinking, and ability to research independently.
French, as with other modern and classical languages, is viewed as a facilitating subject by the Russell Group of universities; by choosing facilitating subjects at A’ level, you are keeping open a much wider range of options available to you at university. French is a major world language, being the mother tongue of 119 million people in 30 different countries and spoken by 264 million people worldwide. Together with English, it is the only other language spoken on every continent.
You will study grammar intensively during Term 1 of Year 12 to consolidate understanding and build confidence. You will then study key themes and sub-themes using a range of sources, including material from online media: ‘Social Issues and Trends’, ‘Political and Artistic Culture’’; these cover current issues and wide-ranging aspects of French-speaking society, such as: family, ‘cyber-society’, diversity, work, crime, marginalisation, cinema, music, political engagement and immigration. You will have a weekly small group session with a French Language Assistant to build confidence with your language skills, especially speaking.
A GCSE level 6 or above is recommended to pursue French A Level.
Paper 1: LISTENING, READING & WRITING
Assessment: Written exam (2 hours and 30 minutes) (50%) (100 marks)
This paper combines listening, reading and writing skills, focusing on topics based on authentic sources, from the two themes: ‘Social Issues and Trends’, and ‘Political and Artistic Culture’’. It also includes grammar and translation tasks, both into and out of French. Listening involves use of individual audio equipment with student control.
Paper 2: WRITING
Assessment: Written exam (2 hours) (20%) (80 marks)
This paper involves essay-writing and grammar skills in response to one of two questions per text or film. Students must choose to write on either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film, from the specification, which reflects the candidate’s personal interests. Ca. 300 words per essay.
Paper 3: SPEAKING
Assessment: Oral exam (21–23 minutes, including 5 minutes preparation time) (30%) (60 marks)
A discussion with the examiner on a sub-theme based on a stimulus card.
A presentation and discussion on an individual research project relating to a literary text, film, or an area of interest related to France or a French-speaking country. Detailed instructions will be provided.
Taking French at A’ level provides you with more options, further to leaving Gravesend Grammar School. Many degree-level courses can be combined with French, often allowing for a year to be spent abroad gaining valuable work-experience to set yourself apart from others when competing to enter the work force; taking French does not limit you to taking a purely French degree, though many are available.
A language degree is attractive to many employers beyond the traditional avenues of language teaching, translating and interpreting. Employment opportunities could become more accessible, both in the UK and further afield, for example, in the fields of Business and Finance, or International Law or Management, Engineering, and field of Science and Research.
Students are encouraged to work with the lower years in Language Clinics and to promote languages within the school and currently benefit from French clinics and small conversational classes with a French assistant to develop fluency and confidence. We have developed opportunities for cultural links with schools in Montélimar and the Loire, and educational visits to France are organised by the department to enhance language learning and cultural knowledge and understanding.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gravesend Grammar School directly.