Globalisation of world markets, the expansion of the European Community and increasing opportunities for travel are creating an environment in which language skills can open more and more doors. However, languages really come into their own when set alongside expertise in another field. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that French will nowadays combine with any other A Level subjects.
Summary of course content
Changes in French society
• The family structure
• The world of work
The political and artistic culture in French-speaking countries
• Festivals and traditions
Immigration and the multicultural French society
• Integration and multiculturalism
• The rise of the Front National
Occupation and resistance
• Occupation in World War II
• The Résistance
Students will also study two French works: a book (Un sac de billes) and a film (Intouchables).
Three examination papers:
• Listening, reading and translation
• Written response to works (book and film) and translation
How the course differs from GCSE
In terms of content, the emphasis shifts from students’ needs as visitors to a French-speaking country to a look at contemporary issues from a French perspective. As regards the actual examination, there are two important differences: there is no controlled assessment or coursework, and the culture of France is integral to the course.
Building on the language acquired at GCSE, students learn to express themselves with increasing accuracy and sophistication, both orally and in writing, on a wide range of issues of contemporary interest. At the same time, they learn to tackle authentic written and spoken texts of an increasingly complex nature. In doing so, they gain an insight into the culture and values of another society.
Where the course leads
Specialist language occupations include interpreting, translating and teaching. However, in an increasingly international environment, practically any job (whether based in the UK or abroad) can involve the use of languages. For those who go on to higher education, it is possible to study French alongside a wide range of other subjects.
Special entry requirements
• Students should have an interest in the issues of the day and in the culture of Francophone countries, along with an enthusiasm for discussing these in French.
• If possible, students should spend at least one reasonable period in France during the course.
• Students will need at least a grade 6 in GCSE French.