As and A2 French Introduction

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AS and A2 French
We prepare our students for the new AQA syllabus, which is a combination of all the best features of existing syllabi and which incorporates the option of modular or linear assessment. In line with school policy we shall put our students in for AS at the end of Year 12 for exam experience even though their best results are likely to come from the A2 end – of – course exams.
The course is timetabled on 5 lessons a week. We would encourage students to spend one of their free periods reading each week as well.

Advice to students

In order to increase their chances of success, we encourage all our students to do the following:

  • Buy a good monolingual and bilingual dictionary (Collins- Robert)

  • Make a regular use of our Resource room (F9: access to French TV, French magazines and newspapers, possibility to practise listening skills)

  • Have their own good quality walkman/MP3/IPOD player for listening practice. We will provide some IPODS on a regular basis for relevant podcasts

  • Download relevant podcasts from itunes or other useful sites

  • Practise their grammar skills on a regular basis (Workbook, Elan software, list of websites)

  • Do extra listening practice, Grammar software, Self Study guide software. Some of these will be available from the shared area or to upload to your IPOD

  • Read as much extra material as possible (at least one article from the news every day)


Homework is set regularly and can take various forms:

  • learning vocab and grammar

  • preparing articles or texts in advance

  • doing text manipulation exercises

  • writing essays

  • giving feedback on French news items

  • participating in the forum on Moodle

Students should do 5-6 extra hours a week at home.

User friendly summary of the syllabus

Students may use a bi or monolingual dictionary for their class or home work but in no other part of the examination. Dictionaries are not allowed in the written papers. Most students prefer to use a bilingual dictionary during the course.

In this syllabus the skills of reading, writing and listening are no longer examined separately but are tested at the same time in the written papers.

Unit ref.




AS %

A2 %

Unit 1


Listening, Reading and Writing

2 hours



Unit 2



35 mins

(20 mins prep)



A2 6651

Unit 3


Listening, Reading and Writing

2hr 30 mins



Unit 4



35 mins

(20 mins prep)




Candidates for the AS level are not expected to reach the same standard as A2 students and the tasks and levels set are adjusted accordingly. The course is thus based on progress expected to date and the exams are set on specified topics. The units that are covered for AS are Units 1 and 2.

The whole AS exam is based on study of the following topic areas.
AS topics

Family and Relationships

Extended family

Generation gap -conflict

Role of grandparents

Family structure/broken homes


Working parents

Harmony/conflict at home

Friendship & Love






Healthy Living

Diet and healthy eating




Work /life balance




Technology today


UNIT 1 (Listening, Reading &Writing)

Section A of this unit has several short listening items. Most responses in this part are non- verbal though there will be some answers in the TL and exercises on transfer of meaning into English (possibly summary. This is followed by some short reading passages with a variety of verbal & non verbal exercises e.g. true/false/match up/locating errors/TL answers) and a cloze test to assess grammar. Section B has a choice of essay titles from 3 of the main topics areas from which one must be chosen.

UNIT 2 (Speaking)

The first part of this is a discussion of a TL stimulus which lasts 5 minutes. The candidates have 20 minutes to choose one of two cards and then study a sheet of information/visuals in French, which has 5 bullet point questions to promote an extended discussion. They are allowed to make notes to refer to. They will be required to do the following:

  • Provide opinions

  • Supply information

  • Develop ideas

  • Respond to the examiner

The second section is the general conversation (10 mins) based on 3 topics from the above topic list from Candidates are assessed on fluency , interaction, pronunciation, accuracy and range of structure as well as on their ability to give opinions. One of the teachers will conduct the oral exam in April or May and send it off for marking.
A2 Level
A2 Topics

Pollution, Conservation &

Types of pollution & causes


Environmental issues eg flood, fires

Nuclear energy

Alternative energy

Pressure groups

Measures to help the environment

Transport issues

Immigration & Multiculturalism

Pros & cons of multiculturalism

Attitude towards immigrants

Problems in general

Problems for women/2nd generation

Illegal immigrants/political asylum

National front

Recent immigration laws


Contemporary Social Issues


(Wealth & Poverty)



Wealth/health link

Third World countries

(Law and Order)

Crime & reasons for it

Measures to reduce


(Science and Technology)

At home and at work

Space & satellite

Medical research

Ethical issues

Cultural topics

Albert Camus – L’Etranger

France sous l’occupation

This builds on knowledge and grammar learnt in Year 12 and the two units mirror both in style and approach the units for AS but are obviously more demanding. It is worth noting that the top range of marks for AS is equivalent to the middle range level required for A2. The exams could be based on any of the above topics Note: The board stresses that this is not prescriptive. Topic related vocab will not be over specific and teachers should choose the aspects that appeal to them too!

UNIT 3 ( Reading, Listening and Writing )

Section A consists of a few listening items with a variety of exercises both verbal and non verbal in French and English.

This is followed by a few reading extracts with exercises in French to demonstrate comprehension eg answer in TL, summary in French following bullet points, gapfiller which requires grammatical adaptation.

including translation into English and a retranslation exercise.\Section B requires an essay based on one of the cultural topics (a choice of two is given on each)
UNIT 4 (Speaking )

The oral is 1 their 5% of the final total for A2 so much emphasis is placed on it. The first part is a discussion of a stimulus (5 minutes) which the candidates can choose out of two cards and have 20 minutes to prepare their stance one way or the other which they must then argue. Candidates can make notes as before. The second part is based on general conversation of the two cultural topics studied ( 10 minutes). It is important to relate the conversation to France and to give & defend opinions. They are assessed on all the usual things but not actually on background knowledge in the general conversation.

Teaching a topic

We have built up extensive resources, using magazine or newspaper articles, interactive activities, relevant softwares, vocabulary lists and recapitulation sheets. These will be filed under topic on Moodle. They are constantly being added to and updated. We shall also use various textbooks (Elan and Nelson Thornes as well as a variety of other resources. We also use CDs as and when appropriate rather than exclusively though our SOW is based on the AQA approved AQA French and Elan (new edition). The material varies in difficulty in order to differentiate not only between Year 12 and Year 13 but also to cater for the needs of both Grade A and Grade E candidates. Students should expect the lessons to be conducted in French and to participate in French themselves.

The length of time spent on any one topic will vary according to the nature of the topic and the interest and knowledge of each particular group. Stimulus and background knowledge are provided through articles, Cds, videos, newspapers such as Les Clés de l’Actualité. An assistant can prove an invaluable source of up-to-date information, not forgetting the reference books in the library and F9 or the Internet which will play an increasingly important part in research. It is essential that all topics are taught with reference to France or Francophonie as much as possible so that candidate's knowledge is rooted in the target country. Reference should always be made to people, places, events, dates, traditions and laws.
As topics are regarded as springboards for language acquisition it is no longer necessary to teach topics in such depth as before. Rather it is important to cover breadth of aspect, to cultivate the acquisition of exam. techniques, to develop language skills and to develop general vocabulary. Hence each topic should be taught via all the skills incorporating the exercises that are required by each unit. These might be as follows:

  • answering questions in English

  • translating short sections of text into English

  • writing a short summary in English

  • noting the main points in English or French

  • finding synonyms or antonyms (words and phrases)

  • true/ false/cannot tell

  • matching summaries to paragraphs

  • putting phrases in the right order

  • gapfilling with supplied words or your own words

  • defining words/phrases in your own words

  • completing unfinished sentences to show comprehension

  • rewriting phrases to include a particular word

  • answering questions in French

  • Listening

  • answering questions in English/French

  • writing short summary in English/French

  • noting main points in English or French

  • true/ false/impossible to tell

  • gap filling with supplied/your own words

  • putting phrases in the correct order

  • completing sentences to show understanding

  • definitions

  • finding synonyms and antonyms


  • answering questions in French

  • produce extended writing (150 words or 250 words) to practise essays on all topics (150 words at the start of Year 12, rising to 700 when practising for coursework). This sounds daunting but in practice is usually not a problem.

Essay titles might include

i) discursive essays

  • advantages and disadvantages

  • for and against

  • quotation for discussion

  • a point of view/question for discussion

ii) non discursive essays

  • newspaper or magazine article

  • diary extract

  • letter exchange

  • problem page

  • reported interview or conversation


  • General conversation

  • Reading articles aloud to improve pronunciation

  • Reading essays

  • Summarising both French and English articles

  • Discussion of a particular idea, event, article or text

  • Short presentations

  • Balloon debates, games etc.

  • Giving and defending opinions

All of this may seem complicated and daunting but is all based on the simple premise that candidates should be able to say or understand the same thing in different ways, a natural extension of GCSE.

Lessons are conducted as much as possible in French unless the exercise specifically requires translation into English.


One lesson a week is devoted to the formal teaching of grammar in both years. The first term’s work is designed to bridge the gap between GCSE and A level. All the grammar taught for GCSE is completely revised with special emphasis on verbs and tenses before introducing new concepts such as the subjunctive and the passive, past historic for recognition. Students are given grammar to learn for homework and are set regular tests. Useful books are:

  • Elan 1 Grammar Work book and software

  • 501 French Verbs

  • Nelson Thornes Kerboodle interactive software

  • Mille et un points (Nelson)

Year 12 grammar outline

  • Present regular and irregular

  • Imperatives

  • Perfect

  • Imperfect

  • Future

  • Conditional and si clauses

  • Pluperfect and reported speech

  • Future perfect

  • Conditional perfect

  • Infinitives with a/de/en

  • Particular tense as it arises e.g. venir de, depuis

  • Subjunctive (several weeks)

  • Adjectives and adverbs

  • Demonstrative pronouns

  • Relative pronouns

  • Possessive pronouns

  • Qui, que dont

  • Pronouns direct and indirect (including PDOs)

  • Passive (Present actively, the other tenses for recognition)

  • Prepositions

  • Essay vocab (verb alternatives, linking phrases)

  • Finer points of grammar

  • Negatives

Year 13 grammar outline

  • Ongoing revision of the above

  • More extensive passives

  • Recognition of the past historic

  • Essay vocabulary

  • Use of French exercises

  • Exam technique

Suggested plan of work

The attached overview gives an outline of the proposed timetable of events.

There is a detailed plan for each topic with cross referencing of resources and grammar/vocabulary.

Resources available

  • Elan 2 Grammar Work book and software

  • 501 French Verbs

  • Nelson Thornes Kerboodle interactive software

  • Elan 1&2

  • Tout Droit

  • Droit au But

  • Au point

  • Tremplin

  • Francoscopie (in library)

  • Practice in French Grammar

  • Mille et un points

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