In Sixth Form girls can study French, German and Spanish
What do I need to know before taking one of these courses?
You will need to feel confident at GCSE level in the language skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. You need a grade A or A* at GCSE to cope comfortably with the AS course. You must also have some knowledge and understanding of the culture and way of life of the target-language country.
You need to be interested in developing this understanding and exploring in much more depth some of the topic areas that you will have covered at GCSE.
What will I learn?
The course will help you to develop your general study skills, but most of all you will learn to communicate at a higher level in the language that you have chosen. You will also learn much more about a wide range of aspects of the society or societies in which the language is spoken.
You will be able to read, understand and extract information from written passages in the target language that are taken from authentic sources, such as magazines and newspapers, reports or books.
You will be able to listen to, and understand, contemporary spoken language and answer questions on what you have heard. The passages will be taken from a range of sources such as news reports on the radio or TV, weather forecasts, announcements, interviews and discussions.
Speaking and Writing
You will learn how to write essays or longer pieces and to hold conversations and discussions in the target language. You will learn appropriate grammar, vocabulary and phrases to enable you to present information in the target language, provide opinions, organise your arguments and analyse your ideas.
Oral fluency is further promoted by discussion in small groups with oral staff, and the use of language laboratories. Some general knowledge is acquired of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken and, more specifically, a number of literary or documentary texts are studied: essays on the latter are written in the foreign language. In addition, satellite television brings foreign culture into the classroom. We hope that you will also read books which are not on the syllabus, as well as newspapers and magazines in French, Spanish or German which are to be found in the school library. This is particularly important if you intend to read a language at university or are thinking of applying to Oxbridge.
The benefit that can be gained from a stay in the foreign country is enormous. We organise exchanges and study trips; we also recommend courses held at universities abroad, which prove useful both from a linguistic and a cultural point of view.
Are languages suitable for me?
If you are interested in languages and communication, and you enjoy learning about other cultures and ways of life, then the Modern Foreign Languages course could be suitable for you. Similarly, if you are interested in the business world, in travel or tourism, in literature or in journalism and the media, then you are also likely to find the course appropriate. There are a number of options in the course where you can choose a topic or question to suit your interests. Whether you want to use language for work, for further study, training, or for leisure, this course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge. Ultimately, a language degree is one of the most sought after qualifications in this country according to a survey of employers.
What could I go on to do at the end of my course?
There will be a range of opportunities open to you, where you can continue to use and further develop your language skills and knowledge of contemporary society. Some students choose to do degree courses in languages; others choose to pursue a Higher Education course in another subject, taking a language option alongside it. Having a language at A level will certainly improve your employability, in particular with companies which have international branches. Whether you are interested in continuing your studies or working at home or abroad, a language course at A Level is an excellent step towards achieving your goals.