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The Marlborough Science Academy


French Key Stage 4

Students who choose to study French at Key Stage 4 will follow the AQA GCSE French course.

During the course students cover the following three broad themes at either Foundation or Higher level depending on their ability. These are:

  1. Identity and Culture
  2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  3. Current and future study and employment

The GCSE language course aims to develop understanding and communication in the foreign language across all four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Students develop and use their knowledge and understanding of grammar.

A Key Stage 4 French Language immersion trip to Normandy is offered as an important element of the programme.

The course is assessed through:

  • Examination

Students are entered for final examinations in either the Foundation (F) or Higher (H) Tier:

  • Listening - a 35 minute (F) or 45 minute (H) examination 
  • Speaking - 30 minutes per candidate (F and H) - 15 minutes preparation and 15 minutes for the examination
  • Reading - a 45 minute (F) or 1 hour (H) examination
  • Writing - a 1 hour (F) or 1 hour 15 minute (H) examination

Each of the 4 skills is worth 25% of the final grade.

The Foundation Tier covers grades 5 to 1. The Higher Tier is for grades 9 to 5. 

Students who study French can go on to gain employment in areas such as travel companies, airlines, banking and accountancy, publishing, manufacturing, marketing, teaching and the diplomatic service which can require knowledge of languages.

The ability to speak languages is useful in all kinds of professions and jobs. Many companies are multinational and employees who speak other languages will always have an advantage over others.

A modern foreign language forms part of the English Baccalaureate and many universities consider language qualifications as part of their selection criteria.


French Key Stage 5 

Students who choose to study French at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA French A level course.

Students who choose French at A level will be taught by fully qualified and experienced teaching staff. Opportunities to attend study trips abroad and student conferences in London are also available.

Course Content:

During the first year of the course students will have the opportunity to extend their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing through the study of materials related to contemporary France and Francophone countries. The course covers current trends in society and artistic culture.

Students will also study a set literary text or a film in depth, allowing them to deepen and broaden their competence in the language and explore further social, cultural and political issues. In addition students are required to study a second literary text or film and must complete an individual research project.


The course is assessed by two written examinations and a non-examined individual research project.

  • Paper 1 – Listening, Reading and Writing:

A 2 hour 30 minute exam worth 50% of the final grade. In the first section of the paper students will listen and respond to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources covering different registers and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. Studio recordings will be used and students will have individual control of the recording. In the seond section of the paper students will read and respond to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail.

Section 3 and 4 of the paper are translations, one into English and one into French.

  • Paper 2 - Writing

A 2 hour exam worth 20% of the final grade, in which students will answer either one question in French on a set text from a choice of two questions and one question in French on a set film from a choice of two questions or two questions in French on set texts from a choice of two questions on each text. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation, as appropriate to the work studied (eg the effect of narrative voice in a prose text or camera work in a film).

  • Individual Research Project

Students will take part in a discussion of a theme based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes), following 5 minutes at the start of the test during which they can study the card and prepare.This will be followed by a presentation (2 minutes) and discussion (9–10 minutes) of their selected individual research project which can be based on one of four themes; aspects of French-speaking society: current trends, aspects of French-speaking society: current issues, artistic culture in the French-speaking world or aspects of political life in the French-speaking world. The presentation is worth 30% of the final grade and can be taken only once during the course.

Knowledge of a foreign language can be the passport to many careers. The ability to understand and use French is also a desirable skill in such areas of work as economics and business, marketing, public relations, engineering, tourism, law, education and many more. Most university courses offer languages as a subsidiary subject.

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