What is this course about?
Learning a second language not only has cognitive and academic benefits, it is also supports a greater sense of openness to - and appreciation for - other cultures. French is an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations. More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents and the ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market.
Studying French will allow you to have a greater appreciation of French cultural contributions; it will enable you to have a better understanding of your native vocabulary and will certainly broaden your travel experiences. As the working world rapidly progresses and becomes more globalised, knowing a language is a necessity, it will make you more employable. You will develop the ability to comprehend French in a range of contexts and to communicate readily in the target language for a variety of purposes. You will acquire a useful knowledge of and insights into French- speaking cultures, contemporary and historic as well as valuable skills for foreign travel, further education and employment. To help you learn, you will have the opportunity to practise your spoken French individually every week with our French assistant.
The purpose of studying French at advanced level is to develop your skills beyond GCSE so that you can use and understand a much wider range of language. At GCSE you learn the language you need to talk about yourself and to cope with a visit to France or a French speaking country. At advanced level you will expand this range of language so that you can talk about things that are happening in the world and learn more about life in the countries where the language is spoken.
Throughout the course of the two years pupils will study four themes, following the Edexcel course:
Themes and sub-themes
Papers 1 and 3 will be based on content from the following four themes. The four themes address a range of social issues and trends, as well as aspects of the political and artistic culture of France and French-speaking countries.
Themes 1, 3, and 4 focus on aspects of society or history of France only. Theme 2 requires students to broaden their knowledge across any French-speaking country/countries and/or community/communities. Each theme is broken into three sub-themes.
Theme 1: Les changements dans la société française
Theme 1 is set in the context of France only. This theme covers social issues and trends.
- Les changements dans les structures familiales
- Le monde du travail
Theme 2: La culture politique et artistique dans les pays francophones
Theme 2 is set in the context of francophone countries and communities. This theme covers artistic culture (through music and festivals and traditions) and political and artistic culture (through media).
- La musique
- Les médias
- Les festivals et les traditions
Theme 3: L’immigration et la société multiculturelle française
Theme 3 is set in the context of France only. This theme covers social issues and trends.
- L’impact positif de l’immigration sur la société française
- Répondre aux défis de l’immigration et l’intégration en France
- L’extrême droite
Theme 4: L’Occupation et la Résistance
Theme 4 is set in the context of France only. This theme covers political culture.
- La France occupée
- Le régime de Vichy
- La Résistance
Pupils will sit the following papers at the end of year 13:
Paper 1: Listening, reading and translation
Written examination: 2 hours, 40% of the qualification, 80 marks
This paper draws on vocabulary and structures across all four themes. Themes are based on the society and culture of the language being studied.
Students are not permitted access to a dictionary during the examination.
The examination is made up of:
Section A: Listening (30 marks)
A listening assessment based on a recording, featuring male and female French speakers. Students will respond to comprehension questions based on a variety of contexts and sources.
Section B: Reading (30 marks)
A reading assessment based on a variety of text types and genres where students will have to respond to comprehension questions.
Section C: Translation into English (20 marks)
An unseen passage to be translated from French to English.
Paper 2: Written response to works and translation
Written examination: 2 hours and 40 minutes, 30% of the qualification, 120 marks
This paper draws on the study of two discrete French works: either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film. The works must be taken from the list provided by the exam board. The literary texts listed include a range of novels, novellas, short stories and plays. All of the films are feature length.
This paper includes a translation exercise and two essays on either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film (students must not answer questions on two films).
Students are not permitted access to a dictionary or any documentation relating to the works during the examination.
Section A: Translation (20 marks)
Students translate an unseen passage from English into French.
Section B: Written response to works (literary texts) (50 marks)
Students must write an extended response on either one or two of the literary texts.
Students select one question from a choice of two for each of their chosen literary text(s). If a student answers questions on two literary texts then they do not complete Section C.
Section C: Written response to works (films) (50 marks)
Students who answer only one question from a literary text in Section B must now write an extended response on one of the films. Students select one question from a choice of two for their chosen film.
Paper 3: Speaking
Internally conducted and externally assessed
Total assessment time: between 21 and 23 minutes, which includes a single period of 5 minutes’ formal preparation time, 30% of the qualification, 72 marks
Task 1 draws on vocabulary and structures across all four themes (listed on pages 8–9).
Task 2 is based on independent research selected and carried out by the student. The research may be based on one of the themes or on the student’s own subject of interest related to the society and culture of the language studied. Students will be assessed on their ability to use a range of language accurately, communicate and interact effectively, summarise and analyse findings from written sources relating to their research subject, and show knowledge and understanding about the culture and society where the language is spoken.
Students complete two tasks. Task 1 is worth 30 marks and Task 2 is worth 42 marks.
Task 1 (discussion on a Theme)
Students discuss one Theme from the specification based on a stimulus containing two different statements.
Task 2, Part 1 (independent research presentation)
Students present a summary of at least two of the written sources they have used for their research and give a personal response to what they have read.
Task 2, Part 2 (discussion on independent research)
Students answer questions on their presentation and then have a wider discussion on their research.
What might this course lead on to?
Linguists are the second most employable graduate category after medics. Studying a foreign language at university can lead to work in international business, law, management, marketing, publishing, journalism and living and working abroad.
This course is particularly suitable for students who have studied GCSE French or Spanish to at least a grade 5 standard and who wish to study a modern foreign language at a higher level.