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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: AQA

Why Study French?


Around the world, there is a total of 7,102 known languages. French is the 2nd most widely learned foreign language after English, with 75.9 million native speakers spread across 51 countries. An ability to communicate in French and English puts you in the lead on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking countries. French is the language of culture (literature, fashion, architecture, visual arts and France is the world’s number-one tourist destination with 70 million+ visitors a year & it is just across the Channel. Learning French can help tremendously with your career prospects, your college education and experiences, travel, and personal enjoyment of the arts and culture. Come and join us! Bienvenus!

What can it lead to?

The benefits of being multilingual in an international career are obvious: Hiring trends are changing and multilingual professionals are preferred. Institutions like the United Nations require English language fluency plus proficiency in at least one additional language. Linguists have a competitive edge for positions in Travel & Tourism, business, finance, accountancy, journalism, marketing, international trade, law, and education as well as fields including the diplomatic service and the security service.

If you choose to study French at university, your studies will usually involve some time abroad.  The first year focuses on building language skills.  The 2nd gives you a range of options to focus on aspects of the francophone world (literature -embracing medieval and modern), film and visual culture, history, politics, business and science, to name a few.  The 3rd year can be spent abroad in a French-speaking country, at university, working as a teaching assistant in a school or on work placement (See Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport - between three and twelve months)

How is the course organised?

Awarding body: AQA    Linear  2 year A-level course

  1. Social issues & Trends
  2. Aspects of French –speaking society: current issues
  3. Political/Intellectual/Artistic areas of interest

1 book (No et moi- Delphine de Vigan)

1 film (La Haine-Mathieu Kassovitz)

  1. Grammar

No entries for exams in year 1 at St Charles

Year 2 exams

Paper 1 (Listening, reading & translation-2:30 hours)

100 marks, 50% of A-level

Paper 2 Written (2 essays-300 words each)

80 marks, 20% of A-level

Paper 3 Speaking (21-23 mins, incl. 5 mins prep time & Independent Research Project)

60 marks, 30% of A-level

How is the course assessed?

  • At both levels, learners are assessed regularly using past question papers with a range of exercises. 
  • Progress is recorded in the college markbook system and is accessible by all students, on the portal (minimum of 6 assessments per term).
  • Mock exams take place regularly. 
  • Home work is provided every day and AQA standardisation is used for marking. There is no coursework for French.
  • We work using authentic material, extracts from magazines, reports and books. Essay questions are based on the book & the film (2 essays of min.300 words).  All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts & issues covered in the work as well as the technique of presentation (e.g. the effect of narrative voice in the book or camera work in the film)

What do I need to qualify for this course?

The General entry requirements for A Level courses are six GCSEs grades 9-4, including a Grade 4 and above in English Language and a Grade 6 in this subject. 

AQA board assumes that students have acquired the knowledge, understanding and skills for GCSE at Higher Tier.

Knowledge of other languages welcome

Success requires:

Regular Attendance (5 hours of tuition per week), Punctuality, 5 hours of private study per week, an interest in current affairs, good organisation & self-discipline

Students, whose mother tongue is not French, are strongly advised to spend time in France and to listen to French programmes as often as possible (

Who are the teachers?

Ms Gabriela-Loredana Tepes ( has a bachelor’s degree in Philology with a major in French language and literature. She completed her first master's degree in French Cultural Studies and her second one in French contemporary literature at UQAM (Montreal, Canada).

A levels are taught in French except when not appropriate. Students have regular use of the language laboratory.  Students also make extensive use of the Internet thanks to our developed IT equipment and are able to watch French films, French documentaries and French news on the electronic whiteboard. Students are encouraged to develop research skills involving the library, the Internet, Moodle (“French Flag”) and the facilities of the French Institute. A trip to France is regularly organised.

What do students say about the course?

"Studying French has given me an opportunity to communicate with other French speakers and improve my language techniques. My teacher has been of great support at helping me identify my weaknesses and work on them, as well improve my manipulation of the language in both speaking and writing. Also, thanks to the interesting topics in the syllabus, I am able to broaden my knowledge on artistic cultures and social/political issues in French speaking countries."

"I enjoy learning French so I can communicate with my family and use it for future jobs in French speaking countries. My teacher is very helpful because she is always there for me if I don’t understand something and pushes me to do my best and achieve my highest potential. This subject has helped me improve my communication skills so I can help my friends if they need help in French and to have a mini conversation with my cousins." 

"I found the French course interesting and I would recommend it to people who aspire to improve their French skills. However, I would say it is not as easy as some would claim. Mostly, I enjoyed the heated French debates that were constantly going on in our lessons. This course is helping me in my application to study Law with French at university."

"I think that the French course is beneficial if you are willing to seek self-improvement.  With the right mentality & an open mind, it encourages learners to become focused and driven individuals.  I would not say that it was always enjoyable as I was struggling at the beginning.  However, with support from my teacher, I managed to get good grades.  I think the heated debates were the highlights in my second year because people got so emotional!  The French course has taught me to persevere and persist through difficult circumstances. It helped me realise, especially as I am not fluent, that you have to do more than expected to get results you will be proud of."


Extra Curricular

A school trip to France or European French-speaking countries covering all areas of the National Curriculum (French art, history, technology, science and geography) usually takes place before the end of the year. Visits to the French Institute’s library and workshops, as well as art galleries that display pieces of work from the French heritage are organised throughout the year.

We participate in the placements of students in the 4 days Languages & Law summer school run by the Capital L – (Routes into Languages consortium)

A few schemes of voluntary work abroad for 10-12 weeks are offered.  These are opportunities which give young people the chance to work with local volunteers, to make an impact, practising the language(s) they study at college.

Website & magazines with news & social issues in French aimed at teenagers: