What does the course involve?

At A level we build on the basic skills acquired at GCSE to use language in more complex situations whether it is enjoying a film, buying or selling something or winning an argument.

Variety of topics studied: the modules of work cover a wide range of subjects. The course will include topics ranging from contemporary music to the political system of the country where the language is spoken. In each language students will also study a film in the first year and read a book or play in the second year of the course.

There are four units:

AS        Unit 1 Listening, reading and translation into English – 40% of AS

             Unit 2 Translation into target language and writing – 30% of AS

            Unit 3 Speaking test -30% of AS

A level Unit 1 Listening, reading, translation into English and into target language – 40% of A level

Unit 2 Written paper – 30% of A level
Unit 3 Speaking test – 30% of A level

Please note that although students will sit the AS exams at the end of one year, the exams at the end of the second year supersede any grades achieved at AS.

What qualifications do I need?

This course is suitable for students who have achieved GCSE in the relevant language at grade ‘4’ or above.


A course book and access to online materials is provided. Students will be asked to buy a dictionary, grammar workbook, reference book for vocabulary and essay phrases, and a verb wheel. Students will be advised which resources they can buy at the start of the course.


The course will be assessed through end of course examinations as outlined above.

General Comments

See the world: travel abroad is far more interesting when you can speak the language of the country you are visiting. In French and German lessons you will learn more about the countries where the language is spoken. There will be opportunities to visit France and Austria during your studies on an exchange.

Languages mix well: languages go really well with a wide range of subjects. You can combine languages with virtually anything.

Future Prospects

Languages can help you get a job: “the need for people with language skills in UK businesses has never been higher”/ “one in five UK companies is losing business because it lacks language or cultural skills” – Independent October 2003

Unemployment rates are low among those who study a language at university

Average unemployment rate amongst graduates at the end of their graduation year is 7% - for French graduates the figure drops to 4% - Bangor University 2003

You’ll learn more than just a language: when you learn a language you develop skills which are transferable to lots of different situations, both at work and in your relationships with other people: arguing and explaining your opinions, convincing people that your ideas are worth hearing, understanding someone else’s point of view.

Videos from the Department


Meet Frau Mark who describes what's involved with the German course at Lady Lumley's.


Madame Wilson discusses the Y12 and Y13 French course

The French course is discussed with a student from Y12 and a student from Y13 and why they enjoy the subject