Subject: French
Syllabus Number: AQA French (8658)
Teacher who leads the subject: Mrs K Christie

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French Film Image

Why study French?

Around 75% of the world's population doesn’t speak a word of English. Learning a language at GCSE will help you to develop your language learning skills, even though you might not know which language you will need in the future.

According to research carried out by the BBC, on average, people who use languages in their jobs earn around 8% more per year.

French is the most sought-after language for graduates, with 54 per cent of employers saying that the language is useful to their business. Most of the job vacancies with a language requirement request a French speaker, according to the British Council’s 2017 Languages for the Future Report.

Learning French at GCSE will help you to:

  • develop your confidence
  • improve your communication skills
  • have an awareness and understanding of other cultures and communities where French is spoken.
  • demonstrate that you have learnt important skills
  • develop transferable language learning skills
  • be able to communicate effectively and present yourself in front of others
  • stand out from the crowd (particularly for university or job applications)
  • improve your understanding of your first language

You will be able to use the skills you have learnt in a variety of future careers.
You never know where learning a language might take you; currently with over 6000 different languages in the world and more than 300 spoken in the UK, there has never been a more important time to learn a foreign language.

To quote Nelson Mandela, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

Outline of syllabus content

Topics covered are within three themes, as follows:
Theme 1: Identity and culture.
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest.
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.


Students are assessed on four skills at the end of Year 11 which carry equal weighting; listening, reading, speaking and writing. French has a Foundation Tier and a Higher Tier but students must take all four question papers at the same tier.

  • Listening paper: 25% of the final grade.
  • Reading paper: 25% of the final grade.
  • Writing paper plus translation: 25% of the final grade.
  • Speaking assessment (recorded in the school and marked by AQA examiners): 25% of the final grade.

Additional information is available on the Curriculum Overview section of the website - click here