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Charles Darwin School


French at GCSE and A Level

Students find the courses interesting and engaging and enjoy how much they can communicate in the foreign language. 

Key stages 

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

GCSE Topic Areas

Identity and Culture

Myself, family, free time, health, relationships and choices

Local, national and international issues

Home, local area, environment and holidays

Current and future study and employment

School, college, future plans, current and future jobs

Key Stage 5

Studying a language at A Level is challenging yet very exciting.  The level of language that students develop in the Sixth Form is very high.  Students find the course interesting and engaging and enjoy how much they can communicate in the foreign language. 

AQA AS FRENCH (new specification)

Students will develop their understanding of themes relating to the society and culture of the countries where French is spoken, and their language skills; they will do this by using authentic spoken and written sources in French.

The AQA AS French specification is divided into two main subject areas, called themes. Each theme is divided into three sub-themes, making a total of six sub-themes to study during the course. The themes and sub-themes are as follows:

Theme 1: Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends

The changing nature of family (La famille en voie de changement)

  • Grands-parents, parents et enfants – soucis et problèmes
  • Monoparentalité, homoparentalité, familles recomposées
  • La vie de couple – nouvelles tendances

The 'cyber-society' (La « cyber-société »)

  • Qui sont les cybernautes ?
  • Comment la technologie facilite la vie quotidienne
  • Quels dangers la « cyber-société » pose-t-elle ?

The place of voluntary work (Le rôle du bénévolat)

  • Qui sont et que font les bénévoles ?
  • Le bénévolat – quelle valeur pour ceux qui sont aidés ?
  • Le bénévolat – quelle valeur pour ceux qui aident ?

Theme 2:  Artistic culture in the French-speaking world

A culture proud of its heritage (Une culture fière de son patrimoine)

  • Le patrimoine sur le plan national, régional et local
  • Comment le patrimoine reflète la culture
  • Le patrimoine et le tourisme

Contemporary francophone music (La musique francophone contemporaine)

  • La diversité de la musique francophone contemporaine
  • Qui écoute et apprécie cette musique ?
  • Comment sauvegarder cette musique ?
  • Cinema: the 7th art form (Cinéma : le septième art)

Pourquoi le septième art ?

  • Le cinéma – une passion nationale ?
  • Evolution du cinéma – les grandes lignes

You will also be required to study a film or literary text from a prescribed list.


The exam is divided into three papers


What's assessed

Length of Exam

Marks /

% of AS

1: Listening, reading and writing

Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends

Artistic culture in the Hispanic world


1 hour 45 minutes

90 marks /



2: Writing

One text or one film from the list in the spcification


1 hour 30 minutes


50 marks /



3: Speaking

One sub-theme from Aspects of Hispanic society: current trends

One sub-theme from

Artistic culture in the Hispanic world

12 - 14 minutes plus 15 minutes preparation time

60 marks /


A2  Topic Areas for French (old specification)

Our Environment

Pollution, Energy, Environmental Projects

Foreign Citizens

Immigration, Integration, Racism

Current Affairs

Wealth versus Poverty, Law and Order, Science and Technology 


In year 13, students choose two of the following coursework topic areas to research.  They must make sure the research relates to a country where the foreign language is spoken.  Students are tested on their knowledge and personal opinions in the essay part of the written exam and in the spoken exam. 

  • A region 
  • A period of history
  • A piece of work by an author
  • A piece of work by a dramatist
  • The work of an artist (film director, architect, musician or painter)