Being able to converse in a foreign language is a valuable asset; it opens up international study and work opportunities, signals a well-educated person and enhances travel. Studying a language also fosters a range of transferable skills such as communication skills, critical thinking, resourcefulness and creativity, as well as linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility.

Course content

Higher and Foundation tiers are available: the information below refers to the Higher Tier. Throughout the GCSE course, pupils have a weekly lesson with the French Language Assistant to develop their speaking skills.

Theme 1: Identity and culture

  • Me, my family and friends
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Free-time activities
  • French customs and festivals

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

  • Home, town, neighbourhood and region
  • Social issues
  • Global issues
  • Travel and tourism

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

  • My studies
  • Life at school/college
  • Education post-16
  • Career choices and ambitions


Listening – Paper 1 – 25% of the GCSE
45 minutes. Questions to be asked and answered in English, French or non-verbally. 20% of the marks will be for questions set in the target language.

Speaking – Paper 2 – 25% of the GCSE
10-12 minutes plus preparation time, three clear parts:

  • role play (2 minutes)
  • photo card stimulus (3 minutes)
  • conversation about the topics studied (5-7 minutes)

Reading – Paper 3 – 25% of the GCSE
1 hour. Questions for the reading comprehension to be asked and answered in English, French or non-verbally.
Translation from French into English (35 words Foundation/ 50 words Higher)

Writing – Paper 4 – 25% of the GCSE
1 hour 15 minutes.
Higher Tier:
short writing task. There is a choice of two questions
long writing task. There is a choice of two questions
translation from English into French


Pupils have the opportunity to:

  • watch French films
  • take part in the school’s Modern Languages Poetry Competition and other GDST competitions
  • watch a French play performed at school

Next steps

French GCSE is essential preparation for study at A Level and beyond. At A Level, a language fits well with any combination of subjects, and at university there are many opportunities for combined courses with a focus on business, as well as more traditional literature and language courses. There are also many options for studying new languages. Languages open the door to a wide range of careers and are highly prized by employers.

Get in touch

Contact us