French is a really diverse course with something for everyone. I’ve enjoyed the cinema topic the most!
By choosing to study French, students embrace variety and adventure. Whilst refining students’ skills in spoken and written French, the course also samples from a vast array of other disciplines, including sociology, literature, film studies, linguistics, history, music, philosophy and politics. Students will also undertake a research project, over which they have complete freedom of choice. French A Level is not just about “holiday French” (though it’s great for that too); it is about exploring all the many facets of the French-speaking world, from France to North Africa and beyond. A glorious blend of academic and practical skills, French A Level is for the curious, the ambitious and the open-minded.
Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).
If a student is applying for a course in a subject that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that a student would have achieved at least a standard pass (grade 4) in this subject.
- The changing nature of the family
- The ‘cyber-society’
- The place of voluntary work
- Positive features of a diverse society
- Life for the marginalised
- How criminals are treated
Artistic culture in the French-speaking world:
- A culture proud of its heritage
- Contemporary francophone music
- Cinema: the ‘7th art form’
Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world:
- Teenagers, the right to vote and political commitment
- Demonstrations, strikes – who holds the power?
- Politics and immigration
Literature and Film
The main written element of the French A Level is an essay paper in which students are assessed on their critical responses to a film and a novel which they have studied in depth. We will be studying:
Film: La Haine (1995)
Matthieu Kassowitz’s La Haine is an intense, violent drama, following three young men in a Parisian ghetto the day after chaotic riots break out. It is a film about friends living in a broken society which tackles issues of racism, revenge and police brutality head on.
Novel: Albert Camus, L’Étranger
Who gets to say what “normal” is? Who decides what is right or wrong? Albert Camus’ masterpiece L’Étranger (The Outsider) will get you scratching your head over these questions – and many more – as you read about a murder that takes place one sunny day in Algeria.
Individual research project
With support and guidance from their teacher, students select and research a topic of their choice, which can be anything relating to France or a French-speaking country. They are then assessed on their project as part of their speaking examination. This is a real opportunity for students to become experts in a topic that excites them and gets them thinking.
Paper 1 – Listening reading and writing
Exam: 2 hours and 30 minutes
50% of A Level
Paper 2 – Writing
Written exam: 2 hours
20% of A Level
Paper 3 – Speaking
Speaking exam: 21-23 minutes in length, based on the research project and a discussion of one of the social, political and cultural topics
30% of A Level
French has the advantage of being both a practical employment skill and a subject which is perceived to be highly academic, meaning that it is much sought after by both universities and employers.
Former languages students choose to deploy their languages skills in a range of rewarding professional contexts, including journalism, law, business, politics
and diplomacy. Meanwhile, many other careers are also available specifically for languages graduates, including language teaching (within the UK and abroad), linguistic and cultural research, and translation/interpretation.