The specification followed at A Level is AQA Spanish.
Studying any language at higher level is not only highly stimulating and enjoyable, but it gives pupils access to a much wider range of university courses at top universities. Spanish is offered through various courses in Higher Line.
At Stonyhurst we offer a two year A level course which aims primarily to create fluent communicators of Spanish who gain a strong appreciation and understanding of the various cultures and identities within the Hispanic world. The course is rigorous and demanding, although our highly specialised teachers make the best possible use of the most up to date and practical resources to complement their own significant experience and expertise. Similar to GCSE, the A level course enhances pupils’ skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, although there is an increased emphasis on grammatical sophistication and there are the additional challenges of film and literature analysis. Pupils tend to find the study of cultural texts, such as film and literature, a welcome and hugely interesting challenge and an apt preparation for the demands of any languages-related course at university.
The cultural texts currently taught and studied in detail are Guillermo del Toro’s El laberinto del fauno (2006) and Laura Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate (1989). Reference is however made to several other films, novels and other cultural texts, as appropriate.
The assessment for A level is as follows:
Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing. 2 hour and 30 minute examination worth 50% of the total A Level. The core themes include: Aspects of Hispanic society; Artistic culture in the Hispanic world; Multiculturalism in Hispanic society; Aspects of political life in Hispanic society.
Paper 2: Writing. 2 hour examination worth 20% of the total A Level. This includes either one text and one film or two texts from the lists set in the specification (currently the film and novel noted above).
Paper 3: Speaking. 21-23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time). Examination worth 30% of the total A Level.
The second year of the course in particular encourages the development of skills in researching, analysing and discussing current affairs and contemporary preoccupations within the Hispanic world. Pupils are regularly tested on vocabulary and grammar, but also in their skills in essay writing and translation. Each A level pupil has their own weekly session with the Spanish Assistant to work on their speaking.