What does the course involve?
You will continue to develop your speaking skills from GCSE, enabling you to debate issues with fluency and confidence. You will study texts of a more abstract nature which are firmly rooted in the Spanish and Latin American world. You will learn more about Spanish and Latin American daily life, institutions and culture. Your vocabulary will widen and you will be able to understand more complicated articles. You will learn to use languages in a business context as well as literary and journalistic registers.
The topics taught fall under three wide categories: Society (Themes 1 and 3), Art and Culture covering all Spanish-speaking countries (Theme 2) and Political Culture (Theme 4).
Samples of topics include Regional Identity, Modern Values, Multiculturalism and Immigration, Social Networking or Contemporary History. A comprehensive list of can be found in the Edexcel website. A book and a film will be studied in Spanish over the two year course. These will be selected from a list published by the exam board that includes works such as El Laberinto del Fauno (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) or Como Agua para Chocolate (Laura Esquivel).
How will you learn?
You will read a wide range of materials including newspapers and magazines, Internet items and some literature. You will listen to and sometimes watch news, discussions and documentaries. Students will be expected to communicate in Spanish whenever possible, in every lesson. Lessons will concentrate on active tasks in speaking, role-plays, debates, reading newspapers, texts such as poems or plays, listening and holding discussions on video work for comprehension and, of course, grammar.
What exams and coursework are involved?
One terminal exam at the end of year 13 comprised of three papers: Paper 1 is an oral examination, Paper 2 a Listening / Reading / Writing paper, and Paper 3 includes questions on the set texts and films studied over the two year course. Papers 2 and 3 also contain Translation tasks.
What are the entry requirements?
Spanish at Grade B or above at GCSE is required.
A good performance in the written element of the GCSE is expected, as this is such an important element of A level study.
Students should enjoy discussing issues in Spanish, and be interested in the wider culture, reading independently and developing a more ambitious vocabulary.
What could you do after completing the course?
There are now many opportunities for people with language skills. The Civil Service, Diplomatic Corps, banking, insurance, hotel and catering, tourism, transport, law, sales, fine arts and antiques, not to mention translating and interpreting for bodies such as the EU, all call for language competence alongside other skills. Also the fact that you have mastered a language to A2 level means that you will be able to learn other languages much more quickly and easily if required to do so in the future. We usually recommend to our students combined university courses such as Spanish and Management, Engineering with Spanish, Spanish and Law as offering better employment possibilities than a straight language. Alternatively you will be qualified to take up new languages at university, especially East European or Asian languages, which are much in demand these days.