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Languages

Studying a language gives you the chance to explore a diverse range of topics. From the musical styles to the finest foods; from the geographical features to the political structure; from the influence of social media to immigration-related unrest. In this subject your mind will be stretched – not just linguistically but in terms of the way you perceive another culture, identity and heritage. Many of our post-16 language students go on to spend time in the country whose language they are learning, not just to develop language skills but to experience the vibrancy of the country and live a different experience to their own at home through the medium of a different language.

Some students take part in organised work experience placements, others visit the country as tourists and some enjoy its culture and language through the virtual world. In studying a literary work and a film, students’ analytical skills are further developed, whether this is debating key themes in a novel or analysing a director’s camera angles in a film. For those studying Media or English Literature post-16 you will find there is a lot of overlapping content in these sections and skills beneficial to both courses.

Qualification

A level French or Spanish

Awarding body AQA

Entry requirements

GCSE at Grade 5 or above in both Maths and English. A grade 6 or above in French or Spanish at GCSE.

Year 12

French and Spanish A level is split into several topics. Grammar, vocabulary and the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking run through all the themes.

Aspects of French/Spanish speaking society – traditional and modern values, the family model, attitudes to marriage and divorce, the influence of religion

Cyberspace – the influence of the internet, mobile phones in society, social media

Equality – women and the world of work, the rights of gay and transgender people

Artistic culture – music, television, cinema, fashion

Heritage – understanding the civilisations which contributed to the current heritage of France/Spain; art and architecture

Year 13

Diversity in society – multiculturalism; diversity, tolerance and respect; people who are marginalised in society and how they can be supported;

Criminality – attitudes to criminality; prison – does it work?

Aspects of political life – the right to vote, engaging young people in politics

Workers’ rights – the role of unions, immigration and the world of work

Assessment

There are three examinations at the end of year 13

  1. Paper 1. The written paper covering listening, reading and translation
  2. Paper 2. Writing about one literary work and one film studied in French/Spanish
  3. Paper 3. Speaking exam. A discussion task (based on an A Level topic from year 12 or year 13) and a presentation and discussion of a research project undertaken by the student.
Studying a language to A level has given me not only the ability to speak the language but the confidence to use it. I’ve developed really useful memory and communication skills and it’s a brilliant way to learn about the culture.
Emma Gray, Year 13 student

Why study languages?

The ability to excel in a different language is of particular interest to those wanting to work in translation, travel, teaching, broadcasting, journalism or any career in which the quality of communication is extremely important. The overlap in terms of course content with other A Level subjects is striking – the content links well to English Language, English Literature, History, Government & Politics, Law, Art, Music, Sociology and Media. Studying a language post-16 evidences your academic skills and commitment, your ability to acquire and develop a skill through regular practice and your fascination with different languages and cultures. An A Level language is an asset to an application for any degree level course.