Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE French and English language, and grade 5 in mathematics

Course Content

Why French?
Studying French will enable you to communicate with French speakers around the world, boost your academic skills, increase your options for undergraduate studies, and enrich your appreciation of influential cultural contributions of the French-speaking world. You’ll develop transferable skills and enhance your language learning strategies.
Many of our students have chosen to study French or a wide range of subjects combined with French at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, or indeed abroad. Students go on to have successful careers in fields such as banking, accountancy, law and teaching.
The department is equipped with a modern language laboratory; we also have a native language assistant who conducts speaking practice. Students will have many opportunities to engage with the language, including a study trip to Montpellier, work experience through Halsbury Travel, and theatre and cinema trips in London.
Course content
In year one, aspects of the social context are studied, including the changing nature of the family, ‘cyber-society’, and the place of voluntary work, together with highlights of French-speaking artistic culture, including francophone music and cinema. In year two, topics include life for the marginalised, positive features of a diverse society, and the treatment of criminals, as well as aspects of political life in the French-speaking world. You’ll discuss issues such as the political commitment of teenagers, the purpose of strikes and demonstrations, and the politics of immigration. You’ll also study in depth a literary text and a film. Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake an individual research project and explore a key question of personal interest.
Mark scheme
Exam - 2 hours 30 mins - 50%
Listening, reading and writing - 100 marks
  • Listening and reading tasks
  • 2 translations, one into English, and one into French
Exam - 2 hours - 20%
Writing - 80 marks
  • 2 essays, one on the set literary text, and one on the set film
Oral Exam - 21 - 23 mins - 30%
Speaking - 60 marks
A discussion based on a stimulus card, and a presentation and discussion of the individual research project

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

Do you offer languages at GCSE?

No. But we have a languages club which you can attend, where there is an opportunity to learn about different languages.

Are the teachers native-speakers?

Yes, we have a native speaker for each language

Do you organise trips and/or exchanges?

We organise regular trips to courses, conferences, plays or films in London.
We also can recommend work experience programmes. We have trips to Paris, Lille or Montpellier, which are education trips, some of which include language lessons.

What kind of things do you do in class?

Lessons include a variety of activities, for example listening to material in the laboratory, watching T.V., preparing presentations, setting up e-mail links with schools abroad, reading foreign language newspapers.

Do you do any literature?

We study a little bit of literature in year 1 (short extracts).
In the second year we study a text: ‘No et Moi’ by Delphine de Vigan in French.

How big are the classes?

Average size is about 20

Do you have an assistant?

Yes, we have an assistant for each language. All students see the assistant once a week for 30 minutes in small groups.

Is A level difficult?

It is more difficult than GCSE, because there is more vocabulary, topic specific content, and a greater emphasis on accuracy. But everyone will find the transition challenging and we will help you to settle into the course as quickly as possible.

Do you have a language laboratory?

Yes, we have a dedicated language laboratory which can accommodate 24 students. We use it particularly for speaking and listening practice.

How much homework do you set?

We set homework in most lessons. The tasks vary but can include reading comprehension exercises, film/literature essays, learning vocabulary and grammar. This work may take about 2 hours each week.
We also expect you to do further independent work in order to make more rapid progress.

How often do you have assessments?

You will be given a timetable of assessment for the year. We have assessment every half term, involving different skills.
You will also be given weekly vocabulary tests.

How do you support/stretch students in languages?

Your language teacher will get to know your level well as the course progresses.
We offer weekly subject tutorials to provide any help that is required.We recommend resources that can be used for reinforcement and revision, and as part of the weekly independent work.
We are available on Teams to answer any questions.
We also offer Oxbridge support at the end of year 12 and the start of year 13.
We have a mentoring system whereby year 13 students are paired with Year 12 students, and these pairs meet on a weekly basis.
We are always happy to see students on a one to one basis.
Friern Barnet School
“I really like that in class we just speak French all of the time, it really helps your confidence.
We often have debates about French topics and there’s a lot of talking and listening activities.
Our lessons are very engaging and quite thorough when we are doing grammar. It’s a different workload to GCSE but it’s definitely manageable. The teachers are really lovely and they ease you in gently.”

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