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La Retraithe Sixth Form


Studying French at the La Retraite 6

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Criteria: GCSE French Level 7

Why study this course?

A Level French 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 content is suitable for students who wish to progress to employment or further study, including a modern languages degree.

What will I learn?

Students will study technological and social change, looking at diversity and the benefits it brings. Students will study highlights of French-speaking artistic culture, including francophone music and cinema, and learn about political engagement and who wields political power in the French-speaking world.

Students will also explore the influence of the past on present-day French-speaking communities. Throughout their studies, students will learn the language in the context of French-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study texts and film and have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice.

How will I be taught?

Students are taught 6 hours a week in small groups.

How many hours a week of private study are recommended?

Students should study 3-6 hours a week on their own completing revision, homework and their independent research study.

You’ll enjoy this course if…

You would like to study French, Translating and Interpreting, Linguistics, Joint honours with Law and International Relations or have a career in translating, teaching, international development and journalism.

Course description

A level French has been designed to be studied over two years. Students will discover 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. 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.

Students will develop your knowledge and understanding of themes relating to the culture and society of countries where French is spoken, and your language skills. Participants will also study a literary text (L’étranger)and a film (La Haine).

In addition, students will identify a subject or a key question which they are interested in and which relates to a country or countries where French is spoken. The aim of the research project is to develop research skills. Students will demonstrate their ability to initiate and conduct individual research by analysing and summarising findings, in order to present and discuss them in the speaking assessment.


Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

You will listen to spoken passages and read from a range of contexts and sources, covering different registers and types. The content of the passages will be based on the themes and sub-themes in this specification.

Paper 2: Writing

Duration: 2 hours

You will answer an essay question in French for each of the two works they have studied. You will have a choice of question on each book/film. All questions will be in French and will require a critical and analytical response.

Paper 3: Speaking

Duration: 21–23 minutes (including 5 minutes supervised preparation time)

The test will be in two parts. Part 1 will be the discussion of one sub-theme from those in this specification, lasting 5–6 minutes, and Part 2 will be the presentation and discussion of the student’s individual research project.