Aims of the course

  • To provide learners with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the language and culture of the French-speaking world through authentic texts, and cinema and literary works in French.
  • To develop high level skills in comprehension of both spoken and written French.
  • To develop fluency in oral communication regarding a wide range of topics relevant to French-speaking culture and society.
  • To develop transferable skills such as communication, creativity, research skills, critical-thinking, adaptability, problem-solving, and open-mindedness.
  • To prepare students for employment or further study, including a Modern Languages degree.

Course content

Students study the following sub-themes relevant to current French society and culture:

  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends

The changing nature of family (La famille en voie de changement)

The ‘cyber-society’ (La « cyber-société »)

The place of voluntary work (Le rôle du bénévolat)

  • Artistic culture in the French-speaking world

A culture proud of its heritage (Une culture fière de son patrimoine)

Contemporary francophone music (La musique francophone contemporaine)

Cinema: the 7th art form (Cinéma : le septième art)

  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues

Positive features of a diverse society (Les aspects positifs d’une société diverse)

Life for the marginalised (Quelle vie pour les marginalisés ? )

How criminals are treated (Comment on traite les criminels)

  • Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world

Teenagers, the right to vote and political commitment (Les ados, le droit de vote et l’engagement politique)

Demonstrations, strikes – who holds the power? (manifestations, grèves – à qui le pouvoir?)

Politics and immigration (La politique et l’immigration)

  • An independent research topic for the speaking exam
  • One book plus a film or a second book from a set list.


Examination Weighing Length of time Assessment
Paper 1 40% 1 hour 45 mins Listening, Reading, Translation into English
Paper 2 30% 1 hour 15 mins Translation into French, Essay on set film/book
Paper 3 30% 12-14 mins (plus 15 mins for preparation) Speaking

A-level is a two year linear course. All exams take place at the end of year 2.

Examination Weighting Length of time Assessment
Paper 1 40% 2 hours 30 mins Listening, Reading, Translation
Paper 2 30% 2 hours Essays on set film/book(s)
Paper 3 30% 21-23 mins (incl. 5 mins for preparation) Speaking

  1. Discussion of a sub-theme
  2. Discussion of Individual Research Project

Grades are awarded from A*-E

Career Opportunities

French is one of the most widely spoken languages globally – by more than 200 million people on four different continents. Studying French will enhance employment prospects in a wide range of sectors, giving you the ‘international edge’, as well as helping you improve your communication and critical thinking skills, thus having a positive impact on your other studies.

Jobs directly related to French include:

  • Interpreter
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Translator

Jobs where a language would be useful include:

  • Broadcast journalist
  • Detective
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • International aid/development worker
  • Logistics and distribution manager
  • Marketing executive
  • Sales executive
  • Tour manager

Students follow a coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course which will provide them with the necessary foundation either to continue with the study of French as a main subject or as a useful adjunct to some other subject at university.