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A Level Languages (French, German, Spanish)

The Languages Department at St Edmund’s College offers a choice of A Level French, German or Spanish.

There’s never been a better time to study languages. In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to speak more than one language is a true asset. Each A Level course will enable you to become fluent in your target language, whilst providing a fascinating cultural window into other parts of the world.

Studying a language in Sixth Form demonstrates a well-rounded education to universities and future employers and is an ideal balance for arts, humanities and STEM subjects.

Enrichment opportunities at St Ed’s include:

  • Work experience or home-stay/cultural trips in the target language country
  • DELF/DALF (international qualification in French) examination
  • Individual lessons with language assistants in your target language
  • Opportunities to participate in language-based activities in Period 7


Languages team
Head of Languages Mrs E Gambino BA (Hons (Manchester), PGCE (Middlesex)
Head of French Mrs F Harvey-Keenan BA (Hons) (Durham) PGCE (Nottingham) Eduqas A Level French
Head of German Mrs J Gardner (Bradford) PGCE (Herts) Eduqas A Level German
Head of Spanish Mrs E Gambino BA (Hons (Manchester), PGCE (Middlesex) Eduqas A Level Spanish

Course structure


A Level course themes
Being a young person in French/German/Spanish speaking society

  • Families and citizenship
  • Trends and personal identity
  • Education and employment

Understanding the French/German/Spanish speaking world

  • Regional culture and heritage
  • Media, art, film and music

Diversity and difference

  • France 1940-1950: The occupation and post-war years
  • The making of modern Germany: 1989 onwards
  • The two Spains: 1936 onwards


Assessment (French, German and Spanish)

Assessment for all three units is completed at the end of Rhetoric II (Year 13).

This means students will not complete AS Level, however students will sit an internal assessment at the end of Rhetoric I.


Unit 1 – 21-23 minutes – Speaking examination (30% of final mark)

  • Task 1
    • Presentation of the independent research project (2 minutes). Students deliver an uninterrupted presentation of a project they have researched independently.
    • Discussion on the independent research project (9-10 minutes). Students discuss the content of their research project.
  • Task 2
    • Theme based discussion – 5 minutes preparation followed by 5-6 minutes discussion based on a stimulus card comprising an image, a short text and a point for consideration.

Unit 2 – 2.5 hours written examination (50% of final mark)

Stimulus material will be in French/German/Spanish, based on the four themes under the areas of interest:

Social issues and trends and political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture.

  • Section A: Listening
  • Section B: Reading
  • Section C: Translation of unseen passages from French/German/Spanish into English and from English into French/German/Spanish

Unit 3 – 2 hours written (20% of final mark)

Critical and analytical response in writing.

  • Students write an essay of approximately 300 words on each of the two works they have studied.
  • One essay will be based on a film and the second on a literary work. Both are chosen from the prescribed list.
  • Students will have a choice of two questions for each literary work and film.
Department aims

As the British Council has said, it is hard to know which language is likely to be of most use. The important thing is to increase the number of people who feel able to travel, explore, navigate and engage at some level with people in other languages.

Learning a language is a vital life skill, particularly in a post-Brexit world,  where young people must engage with people of different nationalities and cultures.

Through the study of social, intellectual, historical and political themes, students will be able to develop their linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding of the countries/communities where the languages are spoken.

Aims and objectives

  1. To break down cultural stereotypes to foster a spirit of international relations.
  2. To develop critical autonomy through the exploration of wider political, social and cultural contexts, and the discussion of issues and debates relevant to all countries.
  3. To develop an understanding of the social, political, and technical systems of a country, as well as the innumerable aspects of daily life that are important to that nation’s identity and culture.
  4. To promote academic essay writing skills and techniques that allow students to write critical and reflective essays in a balanced and structured way.
  5. To enhance students’ appreciation of the attention to detail required to construct a coherent and accurate answer, whether it be a spoken piece, an essay, or the transfer of meaning through translation.
  6. To develop students’ ability to undertake thorough independent research into a variety of issues and current affairs, across a range of different sources.
  7. To develop control of the language system to convey meaning using spoken and written skills with a view to becoming confident, accurate and independent users of the language.
  8. To promote engagement with current affairs and contemporary social/cultural trends through the discussion of topical or historical issues in the language studied.
  9. To equip students with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to Further Study or employment.
  10. To prepare students for the demands of Higher Education by promoting engagement with academic scholarship and independent approaches to learning.


If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Nelson Mandela
Key skills developed
Fluent and competent use of target language Deep cultural understanding of target language country and its social issues.
Independent study skills Communication skills through target language presentations, including ICT use.



Learning a language is a vital life skill, particularly in a post-Brexit world,  where young people must engage with people of different nationalities and cultures.

Future pathways

Studying languages opens up a whole world of future study and career possibilities. Linguists are vital in global businesses, and as communicators across borders who can promote collaboration and peace.

Future career paths range from journalism, diplomacy, politics and business, to international law, the military, banking, PR, economics, tourism and translation.

Language students also experience the enrichment of feeling connected with other people and cultures across the world, which is incredibly rewarding.