Our Lady's Abingdon - OLA 6th Modern Foreign Languages: French & Spanish

OLA 6th Modern Foreign Languages: French & Spanish

Languages are important at a national and international level. Industry and commerce have need of employees with high-level language skills due to our greater involvement with the EU and other global organisations. We aim to produce students who will be able to develop and use their language skills confidently in an increasingly competitive world. There is greater social and professional mobility within Europe and beyond. Having an A Level in one or two modern languages will open a wider range of career opportunities. There are many degrees at university which combine a language or languages with another subject. Even for those wishing to pursue scientific disciplines, a language can be beneficial. A good knowledge of a foreign language and of the culture and institutions of other countries will benefit the student in his or her leisure time and will enhance all future travel opportunities. Great personal satisfaction, excitement and reward can result from being able to communicate fluently in a foreign language.

Awarding body: Pearson/Edexcel

Specifications: French 9FR0; Spanish 9SP0

Skill level needed to study languages at A Level

A good level of competence in all four language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) is essential in order to embark successfully on a language course at Sixth Form level. High achievement at GCSE enables students to manage successfully the transition to more in depth studies at A Level. Language study in the Sixth Form builds on GCSE study skills. Greater emphasis is gradually placed on independent research and study, using up-to-date course books and a variety of resources, including the Internet. This independence allows students to develop organisational skills and a sense of responsibility that will stand them in good stead in future studies and in their working lives.

Features of the Edexcel A Level specification from 2016

• The foreign language is the main language used in teaching the course

• The reading, listening, writing and speaking materials used at A Level build on and extend the topic work at GCSE Level

• The course comprises 2 components in each year of the Sixth Form and a brief outline of the topics is given in the table that follows.

French Topic Areas

1. Changes in French society:
• The family / marriage
• Education
• The world of work

2. Political and artistic culture in the French speaking world:
• Music
• Media
• Festivals and traditions

3. Immigration and multicultural society:
• Positive impact of immigration
• Integration
• The rise of the far right

4. Occupation of France during the 2nd World War and resistance.
• Occupied France
• The Vichy state
• Resistance

Students are required to study one literary text and one film over the course of the 2 years
• Book: “Un sac de billes” by Joseph Joffo
• Film: “Les 400 Coups” by Francois Truffaud

Spanish Topic Areas

1. Changes in Spanish society:
• The family / marriage
• The world of work
• The impact of tourism

2. Political and artistic culture in the Spanish speaking world:
• Music
• Media
• Festivals and traditions

3. Immigration and multicultural society:
• Positive impact of immigration
• Integration
• Public and social reaction to immigration.

4. Franco’s dictatorship and the transition towards democracy:
• The civil war and rise of Franco
• Franco’s dictatorship
• The transition between dictatorship and democracy

Students are required to study one literary text and one film over the course of the 2 years
• Book: “La casa de Bernarda Alba” by Federico Garcia Lorca
• Film : « Volver » – Pedro Almodovar


Paper 1
Listening, Reading and translation
Weighting 40% A Level

Paper 2
Written response to works and translation
Weighting 30% A Level

Paper 3
Speaking + Independent Research Project
Weighting 30% A Level

Visits abroad

Students studying languages in the Sixth Form are encouraged to spend as much time as they can in the foreign country. This is the best way to enhance speaking skills, build up confidence and gain first-hand knowledge of the culture. Staff can advise on possible visits, including work placements. A trip to the BFI is offered to lower 6th students as part of their Film Studies.

Use of resources

Students are required to read newspapers, magazines and books in the foreign language as part of their independent study and in preparation for their Independent Research Project. There are many useful websites, including those which offer video and audio clips.

There are many opportunities to watch foreign films on TV or at the cinema.

The department has a good range of library resources, including a number of foreign film DVDs.

Students are advised to buy a good bilingual and monolingual dictionary. There is sometimes the possibility of attending a language study day which is usually held in London.

If you are enthusiastic about languages, well-motivated and are expecting a good level of achievement in your GCSE, we feel confident that you will find the course stimulating and challenging.


Preparatory work for studying Languages in the Sixth Form:

Spend some time in France / Spain if possible this summer and speak as much of the language as possible.

● Watch French / Spanish films (with subtitles if required).
● Try to watch the news, or listen to the radio for a short while on a regular basis.
● Ensure you know all your tenses by heart, including the irregular verbs (present, near future, simple future, perfect, imperfect, conditional and reflexive verbs). Use the languagesonline website to help with this.
● Try to read 1-2 books in the target language. You can get ones which have the English translations on 1 side and the target language on the other side. The specifications provide a list of set texts which are adapted to this level and which would be a good starting point. If you feel ambitious, aim for a short classic. Ask your teacher for recommendation.