Thursday, 5 February 2015

Achieving at A-Level

This academic year has seen me start teaching AS level French. This was initially a daunting prospect due to only having taught a few lessons of A-Level during my initial teaching training and having a year away from it. However, in this post I hope to outline a few things that I've put in place to help my students progress regardless of the very steep learning curve A-Level languages can throw at them.


Over the summer I created an A-Level guide based on one created by a colleague who teaches Spanish. Within the guide, I included a course outline, mark schemes, essay writing tips useful vocabulary and websites in order to ease pupil's transition to A-Level. Here's a few examples of pages:

Exam Booklets

I poured countless hours into these so please feel free to use these and distribute them!  I've collated all of the exam questions from AS AQA for all four skills into the four topic areas. I'm planning on giving each pupil a copy of this to set homeworks from or to use in class as an additional extra as and when required. It's a really useful booklet to use and serves as a fantastic revision tool. They can be downloaded here.

Assessment Grids

At the start of each topic, I give my pupils a list of assessments that they will complete over the coming weeks. These are a mix of reading and listening questions taken from the exam as well as grammar check-ups that I create myself and you can find in more detail below.

As you can see from the example, there is a space for pupils to write any key areas that they need to work on as well as a space for their re-attempt mark. This is a great way of pupils to track their own progress as well as being clear for those who may be checking your A-Level student's folders. These were chosen as an item of best practice during a KS5 feed-forward meeting by SLT so it just goes to show that a little forward planning can get you a long way!


After seeing a lot of mentions of Weebly on Twitter I decided to set up my own with links to authentic resources. The site is so intuitive, user friendly (as well as looking very professional) and allows you to uploads videos, audio clips, documents and much more to really help further your students. I use it as a space to put reading, listening and extension activities or just as a space to upload any useful sites that may help with grammar and vocabulary building.

My Weebly for A-Level French can be found here: and we are currently in the process of setting up something similar for Spanish too so check back soon for more on that.

Key Stage 5 Tenses Booklet

I also created a really simple to follow and easy to use tenses booklet for pupils to keep with them at all times to keep on top of those pesky tenses and verb formations (especially the subjunctive!) These booklets can be found on my TES page over at if you're interested in getting yourself a copy!

Grammar Check Ups

The Grammar Gap Fill is  a 10 mark element on the AQA paper currently, and an easy ten marks at that if you know what to look for! For each topic, I have created two grammar check-ups based on whatever new grammar we cover in a topic as well as some of the old stuff we've seen before. This constantly keeps pupils on their toes in terms of grammar and serves as an excellent way of diagnostically assessing pupils on a regular basis. It's clear for you as the teacher to see who is keeping on top of grammar as well as who is lagging behind. Pupils are also able to identify areas of weakness whether that be irregular past participles or recognising time indicators to help with verb formation.

I also include a translation exercise at the bottom to text subject specific vocabulary. Two birds with one stone!

Chatty Mats

Encouraging spontaneous speech is absolutely key at A-Level and if this hasn't been encouraged lower down the school can be a real chore. I've already written an entire post about Chatty Mats which you can read here but here's what they look like:


TBC once I get some examples of marked work tomorrow :)

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