Spanish A Level at Gravesend Grammar School
With 329 million native speakers, Spanish is a truly global language. It is spoken not only in Spain and Latin America, but a knowledge of Spanish is becoming increasingly important in the USA. The British Council’s 2013 report entitled ‘Languages of the Future’ identified Spanish as the UK’s number one language to learn. This is based on a combination of the UK government’s trade, diplomacy, and international relations priorities. Languages are viewed not only as facilitating but also challenging subjects. Therefore, studying a language at ‘A’ Level will help your application stand out in an increasingly competitive jobs market. A Level Spanish allows you to develop key transferable skills, for example, enhancing your linguistic, cultural and cognitive knowledge and your capacity to research independently. Having Spanish at A Level also gives you a practical skill that you can offer to an employer, particularly if you decide to work for an international company. This course is ideal if you have a genuine interest in Spanish and Latin American culture and history. There are a wide range of opportunities to study film, literature and history on this course. You could be studying a Colombian film on the contemporary issue of drug-trafficking, or a Spanish play on General Franco’s brutal and repressive regime during the 20th Century. The AQA syllabus has a particular focus on the development of Hispanic communities over time, and how events of the past have shaped contemporary Spanish and Latin-American society.
You will study key themes and sub-themes using a range of resources, including material from online media. These include current issues relating to Spanish-speaking society, such as ‘cyber-society’, work, crime, cinema, music, politics and nationalism, the role of the monarchy in contemporary society, immigration, racism and integration.
A GCSE Level 6 or above is recommended to study Spanish A Level
Paper 1: LISTENING, READING & WRITING
Assessment: Written exam (2 hours and 30 minutes) (40%)
This paper combines listening, reading and writing skills, focusing on topics based on authentic sources, from the two themes: ‘Social Issues and Trends’, ‘Political and Artistic Culture’’. It also includes grammar and translation tasks, both into and out of Spanish. Listening involves use of individual audio equipment with student control.
Paper 2: WRITING
Assessment: Written exam (2 hours) (30%)
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. These could include films such as María llena eres de Gracia or El Laberinto del Fauno, and literary texts such as La Casa de Bernarda Alba and La Sombra del Viento.
Paper 3: SPEAKING
Assessment: Oral exam (21–23 minutes, including 5 minutes preparation time) (30%)
A discussion with the examiner 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 Spain or a Spanish-speaking country.
Spanish at A Level provides you with a range of options after leaving School. Many degree-level courses can be combined with Spanish, often including a year to be spent abroad, gaining valuable work-experience. Many Medical Schools also offer students the opportunity to spend part of their course working abroad, having Spanish A Level could allow students to work in a Spanish-speaking country. Recent alumni from GGS went on to study Law and Spanish and Spanish and Portuguese at University. Current Year 13 students are planning to study a range of subjects, including Medicine, Economics and Maths. A Spanish degree is attractive to many employers. Employment opportunities are available both in the UK and abroad in Business, Marketing and Finance, or International Law or Management, Engineering, as well as teaching, translation and interpreting jobs.
Students are encouraged to work with the lower years in Language Clinics and to promote languages within the school and currently benefit from Spanish clinics and small conversational classes with a Spanish assistant to develop fluency and confidence. The Spanish department ran a cultural visit to Andalucía in 2014 as well as trips to Barcelona in 2015 and in 2018 for Year 9. We plan to organise a trip for the next A Level cohort.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gravesend Grammar School directly.