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French GCSE

Head of Department: Mrs R Cox 

What is GCSE French?

Knowledge of French is not just another GCSE grade – it is a concrete and demonstrable life skill, like being able to drive a car or touch-type, and it is a skill highly-valued by employers. French is spoken on five continents, in over 40 countries, including two G8 countries, it’s one of the six official languages of the UN, and it’s one of the most common languages found on the Internet. Studying French will not only develop your language skills, it will improve your social skills, expand your cultural knowledge, and allow you to experience a sense of achievement.

What skills will I develop?

GCSE French teaches you communication skills, adaptability and cultural awareness. Learning how to interact with speakers of another language means you are less likely to be stuck in one mode of thinking.  It can help you see things from a range of perspectives, develop your problem-solving skills, and make you more adaptable, resourceful and creative. Learning French, you will develop language-learning skills both for immediate use and to prepare you for further language study and use in school, higher education or employment.

What syllabus will I follow?

You will follow the AQA GCSE French syllabus (8668). AQA’s objective is to enable pupils of all abilities to develop their confidence in a variety of contexts with confidence.

What will the course look like?

Topics covered during the two-year course are divided into three themes and each theme covers four topics.

Theme 1: Identity and culture

  • Me, my family and friends
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Free-time activities
  • Customs and festivals in French-speaking countries

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

  • Home, town, neighbourhood and region
  • Social issues
  • Global issues
  • Travel and tourism

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

  • My studies
  • Life at school/college
  • Education post-16
  • Jobs, career choices and ambitions

Pupils taking GCSE French are strongly advised in year 10 to take part in the French interaction day in June and the school exchange to France. This is an excellent way to improve language skills, develop cultural understanding and make international friends.

What homework will I get?

You will be expected to complete homework on a weekly basis. This will include learning vocabulary (using Quizlet) and verb formations, practice in the use of grammatical structures, reading exercises, speaking presentations, extended pieces of writing and online learning.

How will I be assessed?

The course is 100% final exam and each skill area (listening, speaking, reading and writing) will be worth 25%. Skills are assessed at Foundation (grades 1-5) or Higher Tier (grades 4-9). The use of dictionaries is not permitted in any exam.

What jobs or further courses of study might this lead to?

There are many opportunities to travel or work with organisations abroad where some knowledge of French is a clear advantage: interpreter, teacher, translator, journalist, sales executive, marketing executive, tour manager, editor to name but a few!

The range of combined degrees and further education courses involving French is limitless – from accountancy to theatre studies with French. Many universities even offer funding for students to continue or extend their French knowledge by travelling or working abroad during the long vacations

Are there any entry requirements for this course?

Yes, you must have studied French in year 9 to follow this course.

If I need additional support, what can I access?

It is extremely important for pupils to have access to a bilingual dictionary and/or reference material on the internet to assist them with language homework. Revision guides are also available and class teachers will inform you about support sessions.

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