It is important to understand that knowledge of a foreign language is more than another GCSE grade. The learning of a language, or indeed languages is a key that will open doors; broadening horizons and offering insight into different cultures. We live in a global market, offering another language or languages, is a skill highly valued by employers. There are many opportunities to travel or work with organisations abroad where some knowledge of a foreign language is a clear advantage and you do not have to be fluent!
Here at Park View we recognise the importance of being resourceful, independent and creative learners. Interacting with speakers of other languages develops the ability to see things from different viewpoints and perspectives. Learners develop their resilience, their confidence and their problem solving skills.
Pupils will build the foundations of language learning (acquiring key vocabulary, verbs, grammar and linguistic concepts) to enable them to understand and communicate in the target language. Pupils need to learn vocabulary on a regular basis and understand verb conjugation and tenses in order to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions on a range of themes and topics. Exposure to the foreign language either through reading magazine, watching films, talking with relatives or visits to the target language country are highly recommended. In addition, through the study of grammar your child will learn how a language works, in order to develop his/her own independent use of a foreign language. Through the use of ICT, videos, magazines, music and games we hope to provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation!
GCSE languages are amongst the most sought after qualifications by employers as well as further and higher education institutions. In addition, a GCSE language is a key component of the English Baccalaureate.
Spanish / French GCSE (AQA)
During the two-year GCSE course, students study 3 main themes and its sub-topics:
Theme 1: Identity and culture
Topic 1: Me, my family and friends
- Relationships with family and friends
Topic 2: Technology in everyday life
- Social media
- Mobile technology
Topic 3: Free-time activities
- Cinema and TV
- Food and eating out
- Sport Topic
Topic 4: Customs and festivals in Spanish/French-speaking countries/communities
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region
Topic 2: Social issues
- Charity/voluntary work
- Healthy/unhealthy living
Topic 3: Global issues
- The environment
Topic 4: Travel and tourism
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
Topic 1: My studies
Topic 2: Life at school/college
Topic 3: Education post-16
Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambitions
There is no coursework or controlled assessment in this course.
The GCSE consists of four externally examined papers based on the following skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Students take their exams in year 11 and each exam accounts for 25% of their final GCSE grade.
Students must complete their speaking assessment in April/May and all other assessments in May/June in any single year.
Each paper is available at Foundation tier or Higher tier. Students must be entered for a single tier across all papers.
Paper 1: Listening and understanding
Foundation tier: 35 minutes including 5 minutes reading time
Higher tier: 45 minutes including 5 minutes reading time
Students are assessed on their understanding of standard spoken Spanish/French by one or more speakers in a range of public and social settings.
Paper 2: Speaking
Internally conducted and externally assessed
Foundation tier: 7–9 minutes plus 12 minutes’ preparation time
Higher tier: 10–12 minutes plus 12 minutes’ preparation time
There are three tasks which must be conducted in the following order:
Task 1 – a role play based on one topic that is allocated by Pearson.
Task 2 – questions based on a picture stimulus based on one topic that is allocated by Pearson.
Task 3 – conversation based on two themes. The first theme is based on the topic chosen by the student in advance of the assessment. The second theme is allocated by the exam board AQA.
Paper 3: Reading and understanding
Foundation tier: 45 minutes
Higher tier: 1 hour
Students are assessed on their understanding of written Spanish/French across a range of different types of texts, including advertisements, emails, letters, articles and literary texts.
Paper 4: Writing
Foundation tier: 1 hour
Higher tier: 1 hour 15 minutes
Students are assessed on their ability to communicate effectively through writing in Spanish/French for different purposes and audiences.
Students are required to produce extended responses of varying lengths and types to express ideas and opinions in Spanish/French.
Foundation tier – three open response questions and one translation into Spanish/French.
Higher tier – two open response questions and one translation into Spanish/French.
Students who have been successful at GCSE level can easily progress to AS Level at college. 74% of employers want people with language skills and 36% recruit people specifically with language skills. Careers in languages include working in media, journalism, fashion, ICT and travel and tourism.