French aims to develop students’ cultural knowledge and ability to communicate with confidence on a wide variety of topics. Students can begin to study French in Year 8 and French is available as an option subject at both GCSE and A-Level.
Years 8 and 9
Students follow a fast-track one-year course devised to introduce them to studying a second language, to see links between languages and build on their strategies previously learned in Year 7 and Year 8 Spanish. Initially students learn the basics and then move quickly on to developing their grammatical knowledge and learning about the culture of France and French speaking countries. Listening, reading, writing, translation and speaking are all assessed throughout the year. The aim of the year is to give able linguists the opportunity to enhance their cultural knowledge and develop their confidence to communicate in another language.
Years 10 and 11
Students follow the AQA GCSE French specification (8658), full details are available here. The aim of the course is to enable students to develop their French language skills to their full potential, equipping them with the knowledge to communicate in a variety of contexts with confidence. The course covers three themes: identity and culture, local, national, international and global areas of interest, current and future study and employment. Throughout the course listening, reading, writing and speaking skills are developed.
Years 12 and 13
Students follow the AQA A Level French specification (7652), full details are available here. The AQA A-level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. It fosters a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity, which are valuable to the individual and society. The approach is a focus on how French-speaking society has been shaped, socially and culturally, and how it continues to change.
In the first year, aspects of the social context are studied, together with aspects of the artistic life of French-speaking countries. During this year students watch a film and learn how to anyalse and evaluate the characters and themes.
In the second year further aspects of the social background are covered, this time focusing on issues such as life for those on the margins of French-speaking society as well as looking at the positive influences that diversity brings. Students also study aspects of the political landscape in a French-speaking country, looking at immigration from the political perspective and at the way in which political power is expressed through action such as strikes and demonstrations. Teenagers and the extent to which they are politically engaged looks towards the future of political life in French-speaking society. The literary text studied in the second year offers opportunities to link with the cultural themes and students develop further their ability to analyse and evaluate.