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French at Old Swinford Hospital

Course description

There are three languages at A’Level to choose from at Old Swinford – French, German and Spanish.

The courses are suitable for those who enjoy language learning, want to use a language for further study (e.g. at university), want to work abroad, want to work for companies with international links or wish to explore other cultures and ideas.

There are many benefits of learning languages at this level, for example you will improve your essay writing technique and your debating skills at the same time you will develop opinions about current issues such as climate change, immigration, etc. The study of foreign vocabulary and grammar will enrich your own vocabulary in English and strengthen your understanding of English grammar. You will also be able to transfer skills and knowledge from many other A level subjects into your language learning and vice versa.

The Course…

At AS there are four topic areas:

·         Youth culture and concerns: music and fashion, technology (e.g. MP3, blogs, mobile phones, internet, games), relationships (family, friendships and peer pressure), drink, drugs, sex.

·         Lifestyle: health and fitness: sport and exercise, food and diet, health issues (e.g. smoking, skin cancer, health services).

·         The world around us: travel, tourism, environmental issues and the foreign language speaking world:  tourist information, travel and transport, weather (e.g. natural disasters, climate change), pollution and recycling.

·         Education and employment: education (schooling and higher education), education policy and student issue, the world of work (e.g. the changing work scene, job opportunities and unemployment).

A2 covers the additional topics:

·         Customs, traditions, beliefs and religions,

·         National and international events: past, present and future,

·         Literature and the arts.


The final examinations test you in the four skills of speaking, listening, writing and reading. They are taken in the summer. There is no coursework.     

There are two units at the end of year 12 that can be taken on their own or used with the A2 units as part of the full A level.

Unit 1: speaking exam lasting between 8 and 10 minutes.

Unit 2: listening, reading and writing exam. It takes 2 hours 30 minutes in total.

A2 has two additional units:

Unit 3:  speaking exam lasting between 11 and 13 minutes.

Unit 4: writing exam comprising a translation (English into the target language), a discursive essay and a research based essay.

Teaching Methods…

·         Teaching of the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking will be along the same lines as at GCSE but in greater depth and in smaller groups.

·         There is also a greater emphasis on accuracy and the quality of your knowledge and understanding of grammar.

·         The teaching is shared in between two specialist teachers who regularly meet to plan and assess the needs of the students in the groups.

·          Use will be made of a variety of authentic materials obtained from newspapers, the radio, television and the internet, although there is also a reference book as well as an additional grammar book and a vocabulary book for the three languages.

Basic requirements for taking the course…

·         A good grade in GCSE, ideally with grade B or above.

·         A good memory and a logical mind.

·         Be hardworking, well-organised and thorough.

·         A genuine interest in languages as well as a genuine commitment in terms of time and effort outside the classroom and normal working hours.


·         After school support sessions to work on grammar and writing skills.

·         Speaking sessions with Foreign Languages Assistants (French and Argentinian)

·         Lectures related to the syllabus in collaboration with Aston and Birmingham universities and Routes into Languages.

·         Revision courses prior to public examinations.

·         Opportunities to see dramatic productions at local theatres.

·         Trips during Adventure Week.

·         Opportunities to talk to previous students who are at university.

What next...

Recent students have:

·         taken a work experience post in France/Germany/Spain and South America.

·         done a gap year in our Argentinian partner school.

·         gone on to study French/ German/Spanish with business, another language, mathematics, politics at universities such as Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Leeds, Manchester and UCL.

·         had the opportunity to study in French/German/Spanish speaking countries through the university sponsored Erasmus scheme.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Old Swinford Hospital directly.

Last updated date: 01 October 2014
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Key information


  • More information
    • Sixth Form courses at Old Swinford Hospital are delivered at our site located off Heath Lane in Old Swinford. The campus is located only a 5 minutes walk away from Stourbridge Junction train station and about 5-10 minutes walk from the centre of Stourbridge town.