Languages (Self-taught Supported) has been added to My Courses


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Course specifics

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 4 or above (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and only one will count as one GCSE equivalent.
  • Students must be fluent in their chosen language
  • A self taught A-level is additional to a full time programme of 3 A-levels



Exam board: Various

100%Pass rate 75% achieved B or higher

A foreign language qualification is considered to be a most valuable asset by employers in a range of occupations within the fields of engineering, medicine, diplomacy, the sciences and many others. 

The Modern Foreign Language Department provides guidance and the opportunity for you to be examined in a language in which you are fluent. 

Former students have gained Polish, Arabic, Italian and other language A-levels by preparing themselves and sitting the exam at college.

You will be advised on how to use the specification and past papers to prepare for the exam and how to set up a programme of study. However the responsibility for preparing for the exam will be your own. This is a self-taught A-level, with 'study-skills' support and general exam guidance.

First Year

Year 1 content

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture
  • Essay writing
  • Listening and reading comprehension
  • Discussion

Second Year

Year 2 content

  • Further social and cultural study
  • Further writing, listening and reading
  • Study in depth of a cultural or historical or literary topic
  • Translation
  • Debate

Methods of Assessment

All assessment is by examination. Examinations assess listening, reading, translation and writing. Some languages also have an oral assessment which will usually be taken in London.


Students benefit from being part of the St Brendan’s Language Centre and are invited to join in with a variety of enrichment activities such as Language Speed Dating and Master Classes with visiting speakers.

Entry Criteria

Students should have been accepted to study at St Brendan’s and should be fluent in the language of study. A self-taught A-level is additional to a full time study programme. For the student to be successful, it is assumed that the linguistic component will be delivered at home. The A-level is very rigorous and is more focused on knowledge rather than language ‘per se’. A student who is totally fluent in a foreign language but who does not complete the required research, cannot hope to gain a grade higher than a C at A-level.

Additional Costs

If an oral examination forms part of the assessment, the student will be responsible for the cost of the transport to the test centre. This is usually in London.

What next

Students of a self-taught language have gone on to study languages at degree level alone or combined with a wide range of other subjects.