Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 12 French

Guidance for parents

What will students be learning in French this year?

For A level French we will be following the new AQA syllabus. In year 12 there are 2 broad topic areas: Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends and Artistic culture in the French-speaking world. In addition the students will be revising grammar and studying a French film in detail, currently “La Haine” by Mathieu Kassovitz.

As the new A level courses are no longer modular, most students will continue to study French in year 13 and take all their examinations at the end of the course. However, those students who have opted for a one year course take the AS exam at the end of Y12. It consists of two written papers and one oral examination. Paper one comprises listening and reading comprehension, including a translation into English and some writing in French. Paper two consists of a translation into French and an essay on the film studied in year 12 (La Haine by Kassovitz). In the oral examination the students discuss two subthemes, one taken from each of the two broad topic areas mentioned above.

Expectations of students in French

There will be four one hour lessons a week and regular homework. During Y12 students will be learning to manage their time: it is important that they do not expect to be able to complete all their homework in study periods, leaving the evenings and weekends free!  In addition to homework set by the teacher, they should be regularly reviewing their lessons, consolidating vocabulary and grammar and reading and listening to French materials on the topics covered.

Research plays an important role, as the students are required to have specific cultural knowledge on France and/or other French-speaking countries as well as the required linguistic competence. The most important resources are available on Kerboodle which the school subscribes to and the students should make extensive use of. They will also need to take an active part in lessons, especially speaking French as much as possible. All students will have one individual session a week with the French Language assistant, Vanessa Simpson and they must attend this session as it is invaluable support for the oral exam and an integral part of the French AS and A level courses. In order to improve their oral confidence, the students will be set homework to prepare for these conversation classes and it is essential that they make notes and improve/correct their work following the advice given by our experienced native speaker. She will conduct oral assessments regularly and give the students detailed feedback on their progress.

What are the major assessments this year?

Students will be set regular learning, grammar practice, written and reading comprehension tasks throughout the year.  There will be a mock exam in March which consists of extracts from AS papers. If students are in danger of not meeting the required standards, they will be given an individualised Action Plan and have review sessions with teachers.

Whilst the AS students take their public exam in the summer the A level students do an internal examination on all the topics studied which will help us to determine their predicted grades.


What will the current performance grade be based on and what does it mean?

A target minimum grade will be calculated at the start of the year. This is based on average GCSE performance. Students will be assessed against these grades each term and will have the opportunity to review their achievements and their areas for development in a learning conversation with their teacher.

What should my son/daughter do if they feel they're struggling in the subject?

First of all, they should not panic. It is natural to encounter difficulties sometimes, especially when adjusting to the different way and level of learning in the sixth form. It is important to let the teacher know if they are having problems, so that appropriate support can be given. Both subject teachers and the language assistant are always happy to advise and support students both inside and outside of lessons.

How can I support my son/daughter in Y 12?

The main way parents can help at this stage is by encouraging their son/ daughter to talk about what they are doing and making sure they have the right environment for studying at home. It is not necessary to buy extra materials, as there are so many materials available in the textbook and on line. If in doubt direct them towards the above mentioned Kerboodle resources or websites such as or

What kind of independent work should my son/daughter be completing?

As indicated above, it is important that work is not confined to the bare minimum of homework tasks, students who do well tend to be those who have undertaken independent learning: whether it be extra practice targeted at specific vocabulary, grammar and exam topics, or more widely learning more about the language and culture through films, music, news and factual material. As mentioned above we have a wide range of resources in the school library and can recommend websites.

Whom can I contact for further advice and I formation?

Please feel free to contact the head of French, Mrs Casey at