French
A Level

Awarding Body: EdExcel

Course Description

French and English are the only languages spoken on all five continents. French is a major language of international communication – proficiency is essential for anyone considering a career in any global organisation like the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, The Olympic Committee and the International Red Cross.

Grade 5 or above in GCSE English Language and Grade 6 or above in GCSE French required.

As an international student you must:

  • Demonstrate a suitable level of academic English, normally at CEFR level B1. For Tier Visa applications Portsmouth College recommends a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 overall (with no component lower than 5) to best succeed in your studies.
  • Demonstrate that you are competent to study at Level 3 in your chosen subjects during your application, including certificates of your qualifications and subject specific requirements such as evidence of an art portfolio for entry on to one of our Art courses.
  • Successfully complete a Skype interview with the College to discuss and assess your choices.

You will be evaluated on a listening assessment of a recording featuring French speakers and a reading assessment with comprehension questions based on a variety of text types and genres. You will also learn how to translate a passage from French to English and from English into French. You will study literary texts like La Place (1983), Les Mains Sales (1948), or films like Au Revoir les Enfants (1987) or Chocolat (1988). Spoken assessment will be on a previously studied theme such as Modern French Society or the French Resistance and also on an independent study of your choice.

The communication skills of listening and responding in French, and reading and writing in French will all be practised, developed and tested during the course. Due to the nature of language learning, you must be prepared to put in a significant amount of private study to consolidate and practise these skills. This would ideally double the amount of time spent in class and includes practice work in grammar and learning a wide vocabulary.

There are three papers at the end of the course:

  • Paper 1 is listening and reading, responding in French and a translation into English task.
  • Paper 2 is writing – this is made up of two essays about the film and book we study, plus a translation into French.
  • Paper 3 is speaking – this is made up of questions and a discussion around aspects of French society, and an individual study project and discussion of your findings.

Make the most of your developing academic skills by participating in the E6 Programme which will prepare you for life after College. You will be able to join in an Enterprise project, undertake an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) or discover the world and how you can contribute in it by volunteering through the National Citizenship Service. These are excellent additions to your CV or university application.

Universities value language skills highly but there is no universal entry requirement that students must have studied a modern foreign language at GCSE or equivalent. However, there are, of course, specific requirements for studies at degree level which include languages, so we strongly encourage students to check universities’ websites for details of these.

There is a wide variety of job roles in which a language is considered useful, beneficial or essential; for example, a broadcast journalist, a customs and excise employment worker, a diplomatic service officer, an English as a foreign language teacher, an international aid/development worker, or a logistics and distribution manager.

Speaking exams, which are recorded and externally marked, take place in May, and the listening, reading and writing components take place as part of the A level exams cycle in June.