GCSE French

More than 200 million people speak French on the five continents. The Francophonie, the international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 68 states and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for more than 750,000 learners

What will I learn?

The course is AQA GCSE French Specification code 8658. The course we follow in French will help you to communicate in the language, as well as helping you to understand French in speech and writing. You will benefit when you come into contact with French speaking people both at home and abroad. You will learn about the culture of countries where French is spoken and will be able to communicate with young people in these countries.

Key features of this course are:

  • A meaningful and enjoyable educational experience for all candidates.
  • Known and achievable but challenging goals for candidates of all abilities.
  • A useful level of linguistic competence that all candidates can achieve.
  • A suitable stage in a culture of lifelong language learning.
  • Useful experience of language acquisition.
  • Reference to other cultures, enabling personal awareness to develop.

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based:

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture.
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest.
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.

What are the entry requirements?

An interest in French and the culture of France and French-speaking countries, communicating with others and a desire to break down language barriers is very important. You are expected to have achieved at least level 5 in Key Stage 3 in order to access GCSE French. We try to accommodate anyone with a genuine interest and strong work ethic. If you want to study for a GCSE in a Modern Language ab initio, then please come to talk to us in the Department first.

How will I be assessed?

GCSE French has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series.

There are 4 areas of assessment:

    • Paper 1 Listening exam (25% of GCSE). Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language.
    • Paper 2 Speaking Non-exam assessment (25% of GCSE). Communicating and interacting effectively in speech for a variety of purposes.
    • Paper 3 Reading exam (25% of GCSE). Understanding and responding to different types of written language.
    • Paper 4 Writing exam (25% of GCSE). Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes.

What are the costs?

You will be expected to have your own bilingual dictionary at home and use your Chromebook to access different online dictionaries and useful websites for learning French. You are also advised to buy a revision guide to support your studies. There are good revision guides that can be purchased in high-street bookshops (e.g. Waterstones or WHSmith) at a reasonable price. Exchange programmes and trips to the target-language country also take place, where numbers permit. Costs are likely to be in the region of £300 (to include all expenses: travel to and from school, accommodation, food, language activities and excursions – 6 nights/7 days).

Is there anything else I need to know?

Please come to see us in the Department, or contact us by telephone or email if you would like to know more.

Future opportunities?

It is worth considering the study of a foreign language at GCSE level as some universities now insist that applicants have a modern foreign language qualification, (even if not immediately relevant to the course of study being applied for).

Statistics show that students of foreign languages have access to a greater number of career possibilities and develop a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures. Some evidence also suggests that children who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems. The benefits to society are many: individuals fluent in other languages enhance our economic competitiveness abroad, improve global communication, and, some would add, maintain our political and security interests.

Exam board information: AQA

Who should I contact for extra information?

maria.tavera@biddenham.beds.sch.uk