Why Choose French?
French is spoken by 74 million people across the world, notably in France and former French territories. Being able to speak French can provide you with travel and work opportunities. According to the British Council’s 2013 report ‘Languages for the Future’, 49% of UK businesses were looking for employees who could speak French. This report was updated in 2017 following the Brexit vote, and the demand for French can be seen to have increased throughout the document. This means studying the language will be a huge asset to your career. With a projected 750 million speakers by 2050, being able to speak the French language is a powerful skill to have.
What will you learn?
A Level French has a rewarding, coherent course of study that concentrates on developing oral fluency and conversation skills in AS speaking tests, while providing a range of stimulating and absorbing study topics with contemporary, literary and cultural content.
The main themes for Year 12 are:
- The changing nature of family
- The place of voluntary work
- A culture proud of its heritage
- Contemporary French music
- French cinema
The main themes for Year 13 are:
- Positive features of a diverse society
- Life for the marginalised
- How criminals are treated
- The right to vote
- Strikes and demonstrations
- Politics & immigration
You will also complete an in-depth study of a film (La Haine) in Year 12 and a book (Un Sac de Billes) in Year 13, as well as completing – for the speaking test - an Individual Research Topic about a subject or a key question, which is of interest to them and which relates to a country or countries where French is spoken.
The usual range of Listening and Reading skills are assessed, as well as translation tasks to test grammatical knowledge and provide a useful tool for further study.
Why study French at Ashmole Sixth Form?
It is hoped that students will develop a lasting appreciation of language and learning, with an ability to comprehend French in a range of contexts and an ability to communicate readily in French for a variety of purposes. The course provides a useful knowledge of and insights into French-speaking cultures, both contemporary and historic, and of course valuable skills for foreign travel, further education and employment.
The Individual Research Topic enables students to develop a variety of transferrable skills ready for university and employment, which include:
- presentational and communication skills
- an ability to work to a deadline
- an ability to use initiative and work independently
- a good understanding and application of French language and grammar
We recommend students independently visit L’Institut Français in Kensington (www.institutfrancais.org.uk), specifically the Ciné Lumière, which showcases French films at a discounted rate for under 25s. There is also a work experience that we recommend, which is organised by Halsbury Travel, and has a range of options for different budgets. (https://www.workexperienceabroad.co.uk/)
Which subjects go well with French?
As a Modern Foreign Language, French pairs well with virtually any other European language, such as German or Spanish. If it is your intention to pursue languages as a career, it would be wise to consider studying French with other languages at A Level.
Given its cultural history, French also goes well with subjects such as Philosophy, Music and Theatre, and most arts-based study areas. Psychology and History are also subjects you could consider pairing with French.
Where will it lead you?
Your knowledge of French will give you the opportunity to take a gap year in various French-speaking countries across the world. Your language skills will also provide you with opportunities to work abroad in summer camps, where you can truly put your language skills to good use.
Studying French at A Level not only improves your language skills, but it provides you with insights into France’s history and culture. If you do plan on travelling after school, this knowledge will truly support you, as French is a useful primary or secondary language in European and non-European countries.
For more information on subject content structure please click here for the Sixth Form Information Booklet.
For admissions criteria for each subject please click here for the Sixth Form Prospectus
"I am a year 12 student studying French. I chose this subject because I have always enjoyed studying languages and want to go on to study French and Spanish at a Russell Group University. As a subject ambassador, I help with events such as Secondary Transfer and Sixth Form Information Evening, showing younger students work produced in the department and explaining the course.
Choosing to study French at A level is a great choice, as linguists are becoming a rare and valued commodity in the UK. This means you will have an advantage in the job market. Studying a language helps you to develop communication, analytical and independent research skills, which are highly regarded in the workplace. Yet what is the best part of studying a language is you can live, work or study abroad, opening up so many more opportunities and experiences for you in the future.
The AQA A Level French course has a focus on developing students’ knowledge and understanding of the French and Francophone culture, which I find fascinating, as well as developing your key reading, writing, translation, listening and speaking skills. The department has a specialist speaking teaching assistant who each student meets with once a week to develop their spoken French, so if you choose to study French you will receive a lot of support. The classes are also often smaller than in other subjects, meaning you get more one-on-one help, and are more likely to achieve your target grade.
The new 9-1 French GCSE is more similar to the current A Level, meaning you will have an easier transition to A Level, and be better prepared. Therefore, if you enjoy the challenge the new GCSE brings, you will enjoy studying French at A Level. French can go alongside any subject, as the skills you will learn are transferable to many jobs, therefore it is an ideal subject to pick if you are unsure what career path you want to take. What’s more, it’s a really fun and interesting subject, as you get to learn about a wide variety of topics, from Francophone music to immigration, and study a French film and book."
To hear from our former students click here