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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 13 French

Guidance for parents

What will students be studying in French this year?

Building on the linguistic knowledge acquired at AS level, the A2 course will allow A2 students to further develop their proficiency in all four skill areas in French as well as increasing their cultural understanding. At this level they will need to use their language skills to present viewpoints, develop arguments, analyse and evaluate both in speech and in writing. The oral exam is 40% of the final A2 grade and Listening, Reading and Writing make up the remaining 60%. We follow the WJEC A2 specification

Film studies and the analysis of at least one literary text, currently “L’étranger” by Albert Camus, also form an integral part of the course. French essays at this level could be about characters, relationships and topics featured in the films and/or literary text. Compared to the essays at AS level they require much more in depth analysis and background reading. Students will also develop their ability to translate from English to French and will tackle short translations on a regular basis.

Expectations of students in French

Year 13 students should by now have developed the ability to manage their time effectively. They need to make sure that they not only keep up with homework set by their class teachers and the language assistant but they should also find enough time to keep up to date with the news in France and the French speaking world and to consolidate and develop their vocabulary and cultural knowledge further. The oral exam is divided into two parts: a topic-related discussion and a presentation on a film, book or other topic chosen by the student. Independent research, analysis and organisational skills are key to success here.

What are the major assessments this year?

Students will be set written pieces to complete most weeks, translation passages and regular grammar and vocabulary tests as well as speaking assignments throughout the year. The mock exam will take place in November and, after that, there will be other opportunities to work through past papers and undertake a full mock oral exam shortly before the real oral exam which normally takes place in April and is conducted by an external examiner. Students will start to research their film/book from November onwards. Please note that the external examiners choose the date for the oral exam and can come from March onwards.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

In the first instance, she should speak to her subject teacher(s). Once we have ascertained why she is struggling and in which areas, we will be able to put together a personalised and manageable support package which may include extra sessions with the language assistant and/or revision sessions with a subject tutor.

How can I support my daughter in Year 13?

As most parents do not have specialist subject knowledge in MFL, it is not always easy for parents to provide targeted support. It is not really necessary for parents to buy materials as nearly everything your daughter will need is available on the Internet or on the school’s computers. We recommend that you engage in conversation with your daughter and ask her regularly how she is getting on. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us.

What kind of independent work should my daughter be doing?

There are a whole host of things your daughter can do to develop her language skills: read French newspapers online, listen to songs and video clips, watch DVDs from our extensive film library, use vocabulary building websites to consolidate and learn vocabulary. Independent learning is the key to doing well in this subject and all the evidence confirms that students who are effective independent learners achieve the grades they are aspiring to.

Who can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact the French department: either Mrs Casey at or Mrs Ballaster at