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FRENCH at Boston Spa Academy

Course description

By choosing to study French, students embrace variety and adventure. Whilst refining students’ skills in spoken and written French, the course also samples from a vast array of other disciplines, including sociology, literature, film studies, linguistics, history, music, philosophy and politics. Students will also undertake a research project, over which they have complete freedom of choice. French A Level is not just about “holiday French” (though it’s great for that too); it is about exploring all the many facets of the French-speaking world, from France to North Africa and beyond. A glorious blend of academic and practical skills, French A Level is for the curious, the ambitious and the open-minded.

Course content

The following 12 topics (categorised into 4 broader areas) will be studied as we work on the development of speaking, listening, reading, writing and translation skills.

Social issues:

• The changing nature of the family

• The ‘cyber-society’

• The place of voluntary work Social trends:

• Positive features of a diverse society

• Life for the marginalised

• How criminals are treated Artistic culture in the French-speaking world:

• A culture proud of its heritage

• Contemporary francophone music

• Cinema: the ‘7th art form’ Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world:

• Teenagers, the right to vote and political commitment

• Demonstrations, strikes – who holds the power? • Politics and immigration

Literature and Film

The main written element of the French A Level is an essay paper in which students are assessed on their critical responses to a film and a novel which they have studied in depth. We will be studying:

Film: La Haine (1995)

Matthieu Kassowitz’s La Haine is an intense, violent drama, following three young men in a Parisian ghetto the day after chaotic riots break out. It is a film about friends living in a broken society which tackles issues of racism, revenge and police brutality head on.

Novel: Sac de Billes by Joseph Joffo

Sac de Billes is engaging autobiographical novel by Joseph Joffo. It is set in occupied France during the Second World War and narrates the story of two young Jewish brothers who are sent by their parents to the “free zone”. We learn of their extraordinary courage, intelligence and ingenuity as they aim to escape their occupiers and be reunited with their family. A truly inspiring novel which we can all take something from.

Individual research project

With support and guidance from their teacher, students select and research a topic of their choice, which can be anything relating to France or a French-speaking country. They are then assessed on their project as part of their speaking examination. This is a real opportunity for students to become experts in a topic that excites them and gets them thinking

Entry requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

Achieving a grade 6 at GCSE French is desirable.


Paper 1 – Listening reading and writing Exam: 2 hours and 30 minutes

100 marks 50% of A Level

Paper 2 – Writing Written exam: 2 hours 80 marks

20% of A Level

Paper 3 – Speaking

Speaking exam: 21-23 minutes in length, based on the research project and a discussion of one of the social, political and cultural topics 60 marks 30% of A Level

Future opportunities

French has the advantage of being both a practical employment skill and a subject which is perceived to be highly academic, meaning that it is much sought-after by both universities and employers. Former languages students choose to deploy their languages skills in a range of rewarding professional contexts, including journalism, law, business, politics and diplomacy. Meanwhile, many other careers are also available specifically for languages graduates, including language teaching (within the UK and abroad), linguistic and cultural research, and translation/interpretation

Further information

Contact Boston Spa Sixth Form on 01937 846612.


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 09 November 2018
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