What Will I Study?
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 well. You will also learn strategies for learning language that can be applied to other areas. You will have the oportunity to gain the confidence in speaking and writing effectively on a variety of topical issues, understand and use Spanish grammaraccurately, 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. This will expand your enjoyment of literature and cinema both in Spanish language and beyond.
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 bith 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, such as 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 and debates, translating from Spanish into English and from English into Spanish. 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.
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%)
- Listening Comprehension
- Reading Comprehension
- Translation into English
- Translation into Spanish
Paper 2 –Writing (20% – 80 marks in total)
- Analitical essay on a book or film – in our case, Volver
- Analytical essay on a book – in our case, La Casa de Bernarda Alba
Paper 3 –Speaking (30% – 60 marks in total)
- Discusion of a stimulus card (related to topics covered)
- Presentation and discussion of Individual Research Project
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. Although not be part of the final grade for their qualification, it 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.
Apart from the most obvious move to a degree in Modern Languages or Latin American Studies, Spanish is an asset for studies and subsequent careers in Journalism, Business Studies, ICT, Economics, Politics, Sociology, History, Art and Design and Law.
Most universities offer combined degree courses to study languages alongside other major subjects like History, Law, Business, Management, Politics and Development Studies, etc.
An A LEVEL in Spanish opens job opportunities, both in the UK and abroad, in business, international organisations, communication, public relations, travel and tourism, hospitality, interpreting – a must in international politics – , translating or teaching, in the cultural heritage sectors such as trusts and museums like the National Trust; even social work and environmental sciences. It expands the possibilities for work experience in any of the 20 countries where Spanish is the official language.
According to the British Chamber of Commerce, over 60% of corporations who want to do business in a foreign country don't do so because they don't have enough multilingual employees.
A study by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reports that, in the UK alone, language deficits cost around £48 billion a year.
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. 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 a 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.
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
• Broadcast journalist
• Diplomatic service officer
• English as a foreign language teacher
• International aid/development worker
• Logistics and distribution manager
• Marketing executive
• Patent examiner
• Sales executive
• Tour manager
“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
Progression and Career Opportunities
Language skills are in demand and can be used in almost any career, particularly with businesses that trade internationally. A Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report in July 2016 states that the languages most in demand by businesses are the major EU languages of French, German and Spanish. There is also a national shortage of language teachers.
Career Opportunities In:
- International Organisations
- Public Relations
100% of students went into higher education