Studying a Modern Language at GCSE is a life-long skill for education, employment or even travel purposes. Universities and employers alike look favourably upon candidates who have obtained a GCSE in a modern foreign language as they appreciate the skills and capabilities that have been gained. The study of a language develops your ability to communicate with others and to share ideas. It also improves your cultural knowledge and understanding of the world around you.
Students starting this course should have studied French during Key Stage 3 and have an appropriate level of ability. Grammatical structures and vocabulary topics taught lower down the school are, however, revised, so students joining us at this stage should not feel disadvantaged, providing they have had previous experience of learning French.
We follow the WJEC syllabus. There are three main topic areas:
a) Identity and Culture – including Youth Culture, Lifestyle and Customs and Traditions
b) Wales and the World – including Home and Locality, The Wider World and Global Sustainability
c) Current and Future Study and Employment – including Current Study, World of Work and Jobs and Future Plans
These are taught using the four skills of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Teaching approaches include listening to pre-recorded material, studying short authentic texts with comprehension activities and role-play and discussion with a partner or in a group. A wide range of interactive activities is employed alongside writing tasks, translation practice and grammar exercises so that students can develop their confidence. The target language is spoken as much as possible to encourage comprehension and oral/aural skills. Online resources are also used and students are encouraged to use a number of websites to practise vocabulary and grammar structures.
Assessment is by examination in each of the four skills towards the end of Year 11. There are four units, which each cover all of the topic areas. Each unit is worth 25%:
Speaking – assessed by an oral examination conducted by the teacher which is recorded and sent off to be marked. Role play, photo card discussion and conversation.
Listening – The listening paper consists of a number of recorded items with a variety of comprehension questions, some in French, some in English.
Reading – The reading paper comprises a number of texts of varying lengths with a number of questions including multiple choice, single word answers and longer phrases. There is also a short translation into English. Some of the questions will be in French, some in English.
Writing – Either two or three writing tasks (depending on level sat) and a short translation into French.
All papers are sat at either Foundation or Higher Level; exceptionally some candidates may mix and match. The higher grades are only available to students who sit the Higher Level papers. Some students may be better suited to the Foundation papers in which the highest grade available is a C grade.
Where does it lead?
Studying French at GCSE can lead to continuing to enhance your linguistic and communication skills at A-level. A Modern Language is useful in the world of business, leisure, tourism and education.