In today’s international world, foreign language skills are in demand and highly regarded by employers, universities and all leading institutions. A foreign language qualification not only recognizes your expertise in a particular language but also says a lot about you as a person. Foreign language students acquire many skills which are very relevant in the world of work and higher education. These skills include:
-Effective communication skills
-The ability to appreciate and adapt to cultural diversity
-The ability to think creatively and then express ideas clearly
The above skills are developed through the study of a foreign language and can be applied to the study of any new foreign language at a later stage.
All pupils start studying French as the first foreign language in Year 7. Pupils then start German in Year 8, in order to give them a real taste of learning two foreign languages before making their GCSE choices.
At GCSE level we expect each pupil to take at least one foreign language, and we encourage the pursuit of two foreign languages for those pupils who really want to excel as young linguists. Pupils are able to choose one or both foreign languages as an AS or A2 option in the Sixth Form.
In the new (teaching from September 2016) AQA specifications for French (8655) and German (8668), students develop their language skills within a variety of topic areas known as the ‘GCSE themes’. These themes cover a wide range of topics relevant to today’s young people providing them with a worthwhile course of study, which guarantees a suitable basis for further study and practical use of modern languages beyond GCSE.
The Year 10 and Year 11 French and German courses focus on developing Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing skills within the GCSE themes of ‘Identity and Culture’, ‘Local, national, international and global areas of interest’ and ‘Current and future study and employment’.
Assessment takes place at the end of Year 11 in all 4 skills areas: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. There is no Controlled Assessment/Coursework element to this new specification.
Listening, Reading and Writing skills are assessed at the end of Year 11 as formal examinations during the June GCSE session. Speaking is assessed by a Speaking Test conducted by the teacher. The test includes a brief role-play, a discussion based on a picture prompt and a general conversation based on the GCSE themes. The Speaking Test is recorded and then forwarded to the examination board to be assessed.
To help with the students’ linguistic development, there are established links with Gymnasium Brede, in Brakel, Germany and Collège Monod in Compiègne, France. Pupils will also have access to Foreign Language Assistants when available. GCSE linguists at Thetford Grammar School also receive access to GCSE online support materials which accompany the GCSE French and German course materials.
The GCSE French and German courses at Thetford Grammar School provide an ideal qualification for further study at A Level and as well as equipping students with highly sought after communication and intercultural skills when moving into the world of work and commerce..
Students are prepared for the new AQA A level in French and German.
AS and A-Level Year 1
Students consider issues which affect the lives of French and German-speaking countries and also study either a film or literary text in the target language (i.e. French and /or German).
Social Issues and Trends in French and German-speaking communities;
Artistic Culture in the French and German-speaking world.
A Level Year 2
Students continue to study issues relevant to the cultural background and heritage of countries where the language is spoken. Students also study a text and/or film (depending on whether a film or text was studied in the Year 12 course).
A further theme from Social Issues and Trends in French and German-speaking communities;
Aspects of Political Life in the French and German speaking world.
For AS/ A Level Year 1 and A Level Year 2 there are combined listening, reading and writing exams and separate orals. The writing papers also include translation skills activities.
Minimum entry requirements
Candidates should have at least a Grade B at GCSE and a desire to travel.