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La Retraithe Sixth Form


Studying Spanish at the La Retraite 6

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Criteria: GCSE Spanish Level 7

Why study this course?

Spanish A Level builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained during GCSE. It is a well-rounded course of study with the focus on language, culture, and society. For the student, it fosters transferable skills, including communication, critical thinking, research, and creativity, which are invaluable to the individual and society. The content is suitable for students who wish to progress to either employment or further study, particularly a modern languages degree.

The course offers a complete social and political education, taking contemporary issues in the Spanish-speaking world into account. Reflecting largely on the developments that modern-day Spain has undergone during the post-dictatorship period, the course draws comparisons with similar issues and developments in the Spanish-speaking countries of modern-day Latin America.

What will I learn?

The course seeks to engage young people with current social and political issues in Spanish-speaking countries. These will include the changing role of women, religion, marriage and divorce, gender and racial equality, racism, immigration, integration, technology, and political regimes (both Democratic and Dictatorial).

How will I be taught?

Students will be 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 Spanish, translating and interpreting, or linguistics. It is great preparation for a Joint Honours Degree, in either Law or International Relations.  Alternatively, it is beneficial if you are planning a career in translating, teaching, International Development, or journalism.

Course description

This A level Spanish course has been designed to be studied over two years. Students will discover how Spanish-speaking societies have been shaped, socially and culturally, and how they continue to change. In the first year, aspects of social context are studied, together with aspects of the socio-historical life of Spanish-speaking countries. In the second year, there will be further exploration of the social, historical, and political background, which will focus on important issues. These will include life on the margins of Spanish-speaking societies, looking at the positive influences that diversity brings, how socio-political power is expressed through action, such as strikes and demonstrations, the extent to which young people are politically engaged, looking at the future of politics in Spanish-speaking societies.

Students will develop linguistic skills; as well as knowledge and understanding of themes relating to the culture and society of countries where Spanish is spoken. Students will also study a literary text (La Casa de Bernarda Alba) and a film (El Laberinto del Fauno).

In addition, students will identify a subject, or a key question of interest, to examine in depth, which relates to a country, or countries, where Spanish is spoken. One of the primary aims of the research project is to develop investigative skills. Additionally, students will demonstrate their ability to initiate and conduct lines of enquiry, then to analyse and summarise findings, to present and discuss everything 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 Spanish for each of the two works you have studied. You will have a choice of questions for each book/film. All questions will be in Spanish 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 (IRP).