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A Level French or Latin? - at state school

(48 Posts)
lainiekazan Mon 01-Jul-13 09:38:40

ds has to choose his A Levels. Bizarre as he is only 14 (youngest in year) but there you go. I'm sure there's room for manoeuvre later but he has to make an initial choice.

He's definitely doing English Literature and History, but can't choose between French and Latin.

My only helpful suggestion is that at least with Latin you don't have to do a foreign exchange...

Question really is that he would be at a sixth form college, so would he be at a huge disadvantage compared to those studying Latin at a public school? When I look at the resources at, say, Winchester College, it makes you want to throw in the towel as it would be impossible to compete against students there. (And I don't have a spare £31K in back pocket.)

Any advice?

almapudden Mon 01-Jul-13 19:25:46

He should do both. it sounds as though he's reasonablyacademic so he should at least start with four A levels, even if he drops one at the end of year 12.

Talkinpeace Mon 01-Jul-13 19:27:52


lainiekazan Tue 02-Jul-13 13:21:13

Thanks, I should have looked there first, especially as it is PSC that he will be going to!

Scarily I see that French speaking "accounts for a high percentage of the final mark". Gulp.

vess Tue 02-Jul-13 14:35:34

Unless he really wants Latin or needs it for some specific reason, French is likely to be more useful.
Once you have experience of learning a language formally, basic Latin is pretty easy to pick up.

Talkinpeace Tue 02-Jul-13 15:18:57

so will my DD .... see you at the open evenings next week wink

BeckAndCall Tue 02-Jul-13 15:27:37

But OP, why only 3 subjects? Can he not do French and Latin? The majority of sixth formers study four topics.

And I disagree with Vess, I don't think Latin is easy to pick up at all! I speak both French and Spanish and I've never studied Latin and I would find it hard to construct a sentence because of the different syntax and tenses. Nouns and infinitives, yes, but in general, I couldn't translate a Latin sentence.

piggywigwig Tue 02-Jul-13 15:53:47

Having studied French at "A" Level, German, Latin and and an Eastern European language at "O" Level, if I had my time again, I'd choose Latin over French. If he can do both, then I'd say do both. If it's an either/or situation, then go for what he loves and finds easiest. I found Latin pretty easy to pick up, on the back of my good grounding in French and German grammar.

lainiekazan Tue 02-Jul-13 17:41:07

Thanks for opinions.

What is your dd hoping to take, Talkinpeace? Any ideas yet?

Yep, we will be there next week! Sixth form... nooooooooooo...

Talkinpeace Tue 02-Jul-13 18:25:46

sciences .....
scary isn't it. seems like yesterday they were small and cute

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 02-Jul-13 18:44:55

If he has to choose and enjoys both, Latin is a better choice. Neither subject will be directly 'useful' but that is not the point! Both rigorous academic subjects, but Latin will be easiest to get a good grade in as there is no spoken or listening aspect.

curlew Tue 02-Jul-13 22:43:27

Still not entirely sure why this is a state/private OP-do you think they absorb Latin more easily in Gothic cloisters than 60s Brutalist corridors?

lainiekazan Wed 03-Jul-13 08:26:20

Nope, but I suppose I have the image of learned Latin masters (Goodbye Mr Chips?) imparting their knowledge above and beyond what is required for A Level.

Moominmammacat Wed 03-Jul-13 08:33:16

A level French, one book and one film as part as A2. No lit at A2. French lite.

Moominmammacat Wed 03-Jul-13 08:34:02

Sorry, that should have said no lit. at AS, at least not with board my DSs did.

Trazzletoes Wed 03-Jul-13 08:44:24

I haven't read the thread, but wanted to post as I did both French and Latin A-levels at state school (albeit a grammar).

I think it depends on your DS. I regret doing Latin as, although it has helped with other Romance languages, I think I would have been better off doing a different subject, something like geography which would have interested me but I didn't think I would do well enough at GCSE.

A level Latin is a big step up from GCSE in terms of the texts and I suffered because I just wasn't fussed enough to study them properly.

French on the other hand, I found easier because its a working language. Being able to speak it helps me learn it.

So really it depends on how your DS' mind works!

piggywigwig Wed 03-Jul-13 08:48:29

A level French, one book and one film as part as A2. No lit at A2. *French lite.*"

Your typo made me wryly smile. Compared to what we did, it does indeed sound like the more lightweight version, like Muller Light wink So are the days of studying 4 or 5 books in French long gone? Don't they discover the "ecstasy" of ploughing through the likes of St Exupery, Moliere and Flaubert ? Actually, if I admit it, I did like Madame Bovary and have a soft-spot for Moliere lol!

mummytime Wed 03-Jul-13 08:57:37

Surely he chooses 4 A'levels?

Talkinpeace Wed 03-Jul-13 12:31:57

OP's child will be going to PSC : I have linked to the curriculum choices they will be offered.

mummytime Wed 03-Jul-13 13:25:26

Even PSC still says you typically take 4 subjects to AS. I would think both Latin and French would be very useful, and work together, as well as with his other subjects.

Talkinpeace Wed 03-Jul-13 14:05:36

PSC actively encourage 4 for some students - I'll get the full low down next week - and one or two exceptional ones do 5
and some do 3
PSC do not expect one size to fit all
nor do Barton, Brock, Tauntons, Sparsholt, Totton, Soton City, Eastleigh and all the other colleges round here : they specialise and support the individual, rather than shoehorn.

Theas18 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:50:42

My only advice beyond picking a package that makes some sense academically (so maybe not physics DT and drama!) Would be to pick what you love and without which you would feel in some way " incomplete".

presumably he's doing latin and french at GCSE?

Can he not take both at AS and see how he gets on?

(eldest took eng lit and RE with a view to dropping RE and continuing with her other subjects, inactual fact she dropped the english, as she fell out of love with it and fell in love with RE)

LadybirdsEverywhere Thu 04-Jul-13 23:05:06

I did both Latin and French A levels. French has definitely been the one that has provided me with the most eoyment opportunities. Both are very much respected as academic subjects. GCSE Latin is enough to help with English grammar, spelling etc. French A level does not have to include literature although most pupils find that they enjoy this aspect of it.

Unless your son has an insatiable interest in Caesar's exploits in France or Horace's musings, I'd recommend French.

LadybirdsEverywhere Thu 04-Jul-13 23:22:46

Employment, not eoyment!

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