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GCSE French

Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA (GCSE revised from 2017)

The GCSE course in French is a 2 year course with the emphasis on communication and comprehension.

It covers the 4 language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Candidates can be entered for examinations at either foundation or higher level (for reading, writing and listening) to maximise achievement.

The course includes topics such as culture and customs; personal details and family; local area; social and global issues; school and career; free time, social media and entertainment; travel and tourism; and local and national identity.

GCSE pupils in the past have visited Invest NI and the Queen’s Film Theatre.  This will be available if the opportunity arises.  They also have time set aside with the French Assistant, who works with small groups or individuals, to give them extra support in their GCSE French studies.

For more information, see the specification.


Unit 1 SpeakingExamination (7-12 mins). General conversation and 2 role plays conducted with teacher.25%
Unit 2 WritingExamination (1h / 1h15). Response includes listing, short phrases, answering questions in French and English, translation from English to French and one structured and extended writing task.25%
Unit 3 ListeningExamination (35 / 45mins). Response includes selection, gap-fill and answering questions in French and English.25%
Unit 4 ReadingExamination (50mins/1h). Response includes selection, gap-fill, answering questions in French and English and translation from French to English.25%

The nine grades available are A*, A, B, C*, C, D, E, F and G.

If candidates fail to attain a grade G or above, their result is reported as unclassified (U).

Progression Pathways

A good GCSE may lead to AS/A2 Level of study of French, giving access to Degree Courses in Interpreting and Translating, International Business Studies or joint courses such as Law with French, Media Studies with French or Accountancy with French.

Career Opportunities

A GCSE in French would be a key asset for employment in any number of areas such as Tourism, Advertising, Journalism and Customer Services. Careers also exist in the following spheres:  Interpreter, TranslatorLanguage Teacher, Linguistics, Media, the Leisure Industry, International Organisations, Business and Administration.

Job prospects are excellent.  There are currently around 800 global firms with bases in Belfast, employing 7500 people.  At present there is a shortage of supply to meet the demand as Northern Ireland currently lacks linguistics and this has been reiterated by the Head of Modern Languages in the University of Ulster.

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