A language A-level opens many doors. You will develop transferable skills needed for university and the workplace, such as finding and analysing information, doing independent research on a chosen topic, summarising findings, presenting and discussing content, defending points of view, working co-operatively, writing effectively and accurately, and communicating effectively. You will also learn strategies for learning language that can be applied to other areas. You will have the opportunity to gain the confidence in speaking and writing effectively on a variety of topical issues, understand and use Spanish grammar accurately, develop reading and listening abilities and practising translation. You will also have the opportunity to analyse in depth both a literary work and a film and write analytical-critical essays on them. This will expand your enjoyment of literature and cinema both in Spanish language and beyond and prepare you further for university.
Studying the topic areas listed below will give you a valuable understanding of life and culture today in Hispanic countries.
Aspects of Hispanic society:
- Modern and traditional values
- Equal rights
Multiculturalism in Hispanic society
Artistic culture in the Hispanic world:
- Modern day idols
- Spanish regional identity
- Cultural heritage
Aspects of political life in the Hispanic world:
- Today’s youth, tomorrow’s citizens
- Monarchies, republics and dictatorships
- Popular movements
Text – La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca
Film – Volver, directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Individual Research Project - on a topic of your choice related to any Spanish speaking country. This involves:
- Collecting information from both written and audio / video sources in Spanish.
- Preparing a 2 minute presentation and 8 minute discussion.
The course includes a variety of activities and assignments aimed at developing useful specific and transferable skills that will not only prepare students for the A-level exam but also for university and the world of work. These include understanding spoken and written Spanish, communicating effectively both orally and in writing on the topics covered, conducting independent research in Spanish, collecting and summarising information, doing oral presentations, taking part in discussions, translating from Spanish into English and from English into Spanish and writing analytical-critical essays. Regular grammar and vocabulary work, alongside helpful study and learning strategies, will underpin these skills. There will also be plenty of test practice geared to train students for the final examination. The students are expected to read aloud on the topics from texts in Spanish 20 minutes daily in order to gain fluency, grammar, vocabulary, idiomatic expression and content knowledge. Weekly investigation tasks are aimed at expanding topic knowledge, develop research and summary skills and are evaluated through oral presentations.
Final assessment for the qualification takes place towards the end of the second year thorugh a three part exam structured as follows:
Paper 1 Listening, Reading and Writing (50%)
Paper 2 –Writing (20% - 80 marks in total)
Paper 3 –Speaking (30% - 60 marks in total)
Course work, unit tests and mocks
During the two years of study, there will be diagnostic and formative assessment aimed at helping students understand where they are in terms of their progress and what and how they need to improve. This will involve End of Unit tests, a Mock Exam at the end of Year 1 based on units 1-6 and a Mock in Year 2 based on all the units covered throughout the course. Although not part of the final grade for their qualification, assessment is an essential tool for tracking their progress and give focus to their learning, and the base for regular assessment and evaluation for the Current Predicted Grades and the UCAS applications, as well as any references that may be needed.
There is the possibility of organised cultural trips to Spain.
We also encourage you to arrange a work experience week through Halsbury Travel.
Students will be advised to have a copy of the text book - AQA A LEVEL SPANISH by Hodder Education, 2016.
A copy of Spanish A-level Oxford University Press 2016 is a definite advantage as students are expected to do considerable reading from Spanish text and they also need extra materials to practise translation.
They will also need a copy of the play La casa de Bernarda Alba. Through the academic year they will have to purchase a few low-cost booklets from reprographics, including a course handbook, grammar workbooks, one on the film and one on the play.
Students need to have a set of earphones to use in the classroom.
Any cultural trips will involve an additional cost.
GCSE Grade 6 in Spanish
Classroom textbooks and online resources will be provided. You are strongly advised to have your own copy of the textbook. A revision and grammar workbook will also be useful.
All enrolled students will have access to the Moodle bank of materials and the Dynamic Learning e-platform provided by Hodder Education for audio, video and study resources.
You may wish to purchase your own DVD of the chosen film and you will need to buy a copy of the play in the second year. There are study guides on the film and play available to borrow from the library or you may choose to have your own.
The library offers a range of books and DVDs that students can take out on loan, and there will be a list of resources in the yearly handbook.
There will be a number of booklets available from reprographics for a small charge throughout the course.
What job prospects are available for language graduates?
"With the globalisation of industry and commerce, graduates with a good command of modern languages are sought after for numerous roles in a variety of organisations and sectors," says Margaret Holbrough, careers adviser at Graduate Prospects. The Guardian
Here are some jobs where an A-level in Spanish can help
“Having Spanish as well added another string to my bow and it made me stand out from other applicants. I think it showed that I wasn't just a numbers person, but that I also had strong communication skills.” Oliver Stevenson, future leaders development programme, Barclays
“I think a language degree gave me a brilliant grounding for working in radio – doing lots of literature analysis, you learn about narrative, structure and keeping an audience engaged. Also my language skills play a similar role in my social media job; communicating with people, being precise and using language effectively.” Victoria Ferran, Social media coordinator.
“There's a bit of a misconception – you don't need maths or finance degrees to join this scheme. Barclays are after bright, entrepreneurial graduates. We have people with English, social sciences backgrounds, and I'm from languages of course. It's a two-year scheme with an intake of 100 people and you rotate across different departments. The salary is £36,000 a year. Recently I used my languages on a project to develop a closer working relationship with our colleagues in France and Spain.” Jacob Gilbert Jacob Gilbert, finance graduate, Royal Bank of Scotland.
“I had no idea what I was going to do after uni, teaching wasn't for me nor was translation, but languages really helped me when applying for jobs. I think my degree shows multiple skills and that you can juggle many things. It keeps your options open.” Victoria Ferran
Quotes from The Guardian