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GCSE French

Studying a modern language at GCSE is a life-long skill for education, employment or even travel purposes.

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Exam Board: AQA


GCSE French places the emphasis on communication through both written and oral exchanges.

The course develops the four skill areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing using a wide variety of materials and teaching techniques to interest the students. Language classes are small which is advantageous as each student has the opportunity to communicate in the target language with both the teacher and fellow classmates.

Looking beyond GCSE study, some UK universities ask for a modern foreign language at GCSE or above as part of their entrance requirements, even if the student is not planning to study a language. They feel that proof of studying a language shows great aptitude and flexibility. Also many employers look favourably upon a candidate offering a foreign language, particularly in the light of globalisation.

Entry Requirements

French will help students to develop their linguistic skills as well as their cultural knowledge of the world around them. A successful linguist must have an interest in learning a modern language and enjoy communicating with others and sharing ideas. Some prior language knowledge is essential so ideally the student should have at least 3 years prior learning.

Course Content

The specification we follow is the AQA Syllabus. All four skill areas (reading/writing/listening/speaking) are examined. This is a linear two-year GCSE course, although some students joining the one-year GCSE cohort may complete it in one year if they already have a good level of the language being studied.

All examinations will take place at the end of the 2 years’ of study and there is no coursework element. The oral examination is conducted by the class teacher. There is a tiering system and students will either be entered for the Foundation or Higher tier in all 4 skill areas. It is not possible to mix the tiers.

The themes covered include:

  • Identity and culture – family and friends, new technology, free time activities, customs and festivals
  • Local, national, international and global areas of interest – home, town neighbourhood and region, charity and voluntary work, environment, poverty and homelessness, holidays and travel
  • Current and future study and employment – school life, work, university
  • There is also an element of translating from French into English and vice versa

Where does it lead?

Studying French at GCSE can lead to continuing to enhance your linguistic and communication skills at A-level. A modern language is useful in the world of business, leisure, tourism and education.


Four components

All papers are taken at the end of the 2 year course.

  • Writing: Higher (1 hour 15 minutes) or Foundation (1 hour) : 25% of final GCSE mark
  • Speaking: Higher (10-12 minutes assessment time) or Foundation (7-9 minutes assessment time) : 25% of final GCSE mark
  • Reading: Higher (1 hour) or Foundation (45 minutes) : 25% of final GCSE mark
  • Listening: Higher (45 minutes) or Foundation (35 minutes) : 25% of final GCSE mark