You may have visited, or you may want to visit, Italy on holiday and being able to speak the language will make your visit so much more enjoyable! It is the lure of the beautiful country that makes so many people want to learn it. GCSE Italian helps pupils develop their Italian language skills in a variety of contexts and build a broad understanding of the culture of countries and communities where Italian is spoken. It encourages enjoyment of language learning and the recognition that language skills enable pupils to take their place in a multilingual global society.

Course content

GCSE Italian is a linear course with assessment at the end of year 11. Pupils study a range of topics across 3 themes, which should develop their understanding of Italian culture and language.

Theme 1: Identity and Culture

  • Me, my family and friends
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Free-time activities
  • Italian 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, Italian 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. The exam is made up of 3 sections:

  • 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, Italian or non-verbally.
Translation from Italian into English (50 words)

Writing – Paper 4 – 25% of the GCSE
1 hour 15 minutes.
Higher Tier:

  • short and long writing task
  • translation from English into Italian


We look for opportunities to take pupils to exhibitions, plays and films to broaden their knowledge of Italian culture. Competitions and debates with other schools make languages come to life to an even greater extent. Pupils are offered the opportunity to visit Italy and attend language courses.

Next steps

Learning Italian is a skill for life, moreover the GCSE Italian course is a well-rounded education that prepares you for Italian A Level. In addition, your language GCSE could open up many opportunities at a personal and professional level.

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