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French A Level at Plymouth High School for Girls

Course description

The syllabus allows you to develop the practical skills of GCSE to a high level of competence and to understand the grammatical structures, pronunciation and intonation of French.

Learning about another society and culture is interesting in itself. To do so through studying what it says about itself in its media, music, Úlms and literature and through direct contact with its people adds a new dimension to learning.

Course content

The French language is the Úrst area of study, so that you develop your vocabulary and your knowledge of the rules that underlie French grammar. The skills and understanding you develop will also help in learning any other language now or later.

In the Úrst year of study, you will study one theme from Social Issues and Trends, for example, the changing nature of family, the “cyber society” and the place of voluntary work. You will also study one theme from Political and Artistic Culture, for example, demonstrations and strikes, immigration, contemporary francophone music and the cinema. In addition to these two themes, you will study a French book or Úlm.

In the second year of study, you will study a further theme from Social Issues and Trends, a further theme from Political and Artistic Culture as well as a second French book or Úlm. In addition to this, you will carry out an individual research project for the speaking assessment only.

As you can see, you will study francophone culture and learn principally about France, but also about other countries where French is spoken. The syllabus covers a wide range of topics, relating to contemporary society and its problems, to art, music and literature. You will learn about these topics by reading articles or poems; or by listening to radio interviews or songs and by watching and listening to French news programmes.

Entry requirements

Our expectations are that students applying to study this course for 2 years will have achieved a good GCSE grade. A grade B or above in this subject is required but all students will be considered on individual merit. In some cases entry onto the course may be on a trial basis and will be dependent on performance. We welcome applications from enthusiastic students with a commitment to study.


- Throughout the course you will be assessed by your teachers on your oral and written skills in preparation for the end of year two exams.

- Paper 1 is a mixed skill exam combining listening, reading and writing skills.

- Paper 2 is a written exam which will assess the book and Úlm (or two books) that you have studied.

- Paper 3 is an oral exam during which you will discuss a sub theme on a stimulus card. You will then give a two minute presentation on your individual research project followed by a discussion with the teacher examiner.

Future opportunities

Whether you continue into higher education or not, your language skills will be an asset in your leisure and working life. French combines well with other subjects. Universities and employers value the discipline, learning skills and ability to communicate, necessarily developed by a good linguist. There is a very wide range of university courses combining language with everything from engineering to music. Most include one year spent in work placements or universities overseas.

Language skills are increasingly in demand by employers, as is the ability to empathise with other cultures, which is encouraged by the advanced study of languages.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Plymouth High School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 03 March 2017

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