If you have any further enquiries, please email Mrs Gwenola Stone, Head of French, at

Why study French?

There are many reasons! If you go into business when you finish your education, and you also have a working knowledge of a foreign language, your opportunities within that business are dramatically increased. Given that we have several billion pounds worth of trade every year with our closest neighbour in Europe, a knowledge of French is really an invaluable asset.

We also need to acquire a better understanding of the French people and their culture, which will enrich our own. We have so much shared history and so many aspects of our lives today are bound up with France and the European Union that mutual understanding is more and more important.

French is still the second world language after English and is used as a lingua franca in many areas where English is not spoken, particularly in the diplomatic service.

What does the study of French involve?

The four areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing are the basis of French study.

Speaking skills are practised in class and you may have the opportunity to visit France. You will also have a timetabled session with our French Language Assistant, a native French speaker.

Writing skills are learned through a careful study of the structure of the language and listening skills are developed by authentic French voices.

Why at Salesian College?

The most important aspect of studying French at Salesian College is the small number in the groups, which allows for much more 1:1 tuition. This helps a great deal in speaking and writing skills particularly. Secondly, we achieve high results year on year, and you have the opportunity to accomplish your real potential, as did one student who achieved a place to read French and Spanish at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. Finally, our students enjoy their learning!

Skills required

You will have achieved at least a 6 at GCSE, although most students studying French at A Level will have secured grades 7-9. This is desirable to ensure success. You must enjoy the challenge of communicating in a foreign language.

What does the course involve?

Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing
What is assessed:

  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends
  • Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues
  • Artistic culture in the French-speaking world
  • Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world
  • Grammar

Paper 2: Written response to works and translation
What is assessed:

  • One text or one film from the lists in the specification
  • Grammar/translation from English into French

Paper 3: Speaking
What is assessed:

  • Individual research project
  • One of four themes i.e. Aspects of French speaking society: current trends, Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues, Artistic culture in the French-speaking world, Aspects of political life in the French speaking world.

What the French Department offers in teaching and resources

The A Level specification is taught by very experienced teachers: two of them are native French speakers and all have a great deal of experience and success at teaching A Level. Speaking skills are practised in class and during the conversational classes with the French Assistant. You may also have the opportunity to visit or be offered work experience in France.

What is expected from French students?

A willingness to learn and practise and a desire to achieve the highest grades. Where other subjects are concerned, French fits in with almost anything, whether science or arts based.

What can an A Level in French lead to?

The number of careers in which French is useful and desirable is too great to list. Suffice it to say that business of all kinds welcomes French speakers, as well as banking, tourism, international relations, politics, journalism and specially the Diplomatic Service. If you intend to study Law, a knowledge of French will open up the whole realm of European Law.

For further information and details, please speak to Mme Stone.