Languages GCSE

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Examination Board AQA
Subject Leader Mrs Lemee
Exam board link French TBC
Exam board link Spanish TBC

Course Content:

Through learning a language we gain a better understanding of how people in another country live, their customs and attitudes and how they do things. The more we understand and respect people in other countries, the greater the hope for world peace.

With the turbulent political and economic events of the recent months, studying languages is even more important than before. In the knowledge society of the 21st century, language competence and intercultural/global understanding are not optional extras; they are an essential part of being a citizen, shaping the way we think and giving the potential to communicate with the other half of the world.

Studying a language also helps to develop our general mental ability – it demands we listen carefully, to think exactly and to examine things in detail.


  • To develop the ability to understand and use a language effectively for purposes of practical communication
  • To develop the ability to use and understand a language both imaginatively and creatively
  • To develop an understanding of grammar
  • To encourage positive attitudes to language learning and speakers of other languages and a sympathetic approach to other cultures and civilisations
  • To offer insights into the culture and civilisation of other countries
  • To promote learning skills of a more general application such as analysis, memorising and drawing of inferences
  • To form a sound base of the transferable skills, language and attitude required for further study, work and leisure
  • To provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation

How is the course structured?

GCSE French and Spanish is changing with first teaching in September 2023 and first examination in June 2025.

Due to new specifications for June 2024, we are still in discussions about which examining board we will use : AQA or EDEXCEL. However all boards follow a similar structure or themes and grammar Students will have already met some of these areas in Key Stage 3. They will now be extended and developed to increase the range of expression and understanding in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in the target language. Students will study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based:

Theme 1: People and lifestyle
Theme 2: Popular culture
Theme 3: Communication and the world around us

The major changes to the MFL GCSEs are the use of English for all instructions and the addition of tasks on dictation and reading aloud. Comprehension texts can contain only 2% of words from outside the vocabulary lists, and those items from outside the word lists must be glossed.

How is the course assessed?
Candidates will still be tested in the four main skills;
listening, speaking, reading and writing. This will not change.

Paper 1: Listening – Examination 25%:
Foundation (35 mins) Higher (45mins)
Paper 2: Speaking – Examination 25%
Foundation (7-9 mins) Higher (10-12 mins)
Paper 3: Reading – Examination 25%
Foundation(45 mins) Higher (1 hour)
Paper 4 : Writing – Examination 25%
Foundation (1 hour) Higher (1 hour 15 mins)

The four skills are tested at the end of Year 11 by examination. All papers are available at either foundation or higher tier. Candidates will not be able to mix tiers on different papers.

Foundation tier exams (possible grades 1-5) or Higher tier exams (possible grades 4-9).