Subject content

The A-level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. It develops a valuable range of transferable skills including communication skills, critical thinking, research skills and creativity. The content is suitable for students who wish to progress to employment or to further study, including a modern languages degree or equivalent.

The approach focuses on how Polish-speaking society has been shaped socially and culturally, and how it continues to change. The specification has been designed to be studied over two years. The suggestions below relating to content for year one and content for year two are based on the knowledge that the course will generally be taken over two years. Schools and colleges are free to choose how and when to cover the content. In the first year, aspects of the social context are studied, together with aspects of the artistic life of Poland. In the second year further aspects of the social background are covered, this time focusing on issues such as life for those on the margins of Polish-speaking society, as well as looking at the positive influences of diversity. Students also study aspects of the political landscape in Poland, for example looking at the impact of emigration on Polish society and the advantages and challenges of the EU for Poland. The extent to which young people are politically engaged looks towards the future of political life in Poland.

Students will develop both their knowledge and understanding of themes relating to the culture and society of Poland, and their language skills. They will do this by using authentic spoken and written sources in Polish.

The choice of works (literary texts and films) offers opportunities to link with the themes.

Students following this specification will develop their language knowledge, understanding and skills through:

  • using language to present viewpoints; developing arguments; persuading; analysing and evaluating in writing
  • applying knowledge of morphology and syntax, vocabulary and idiom to communicate accurately and coherently in writing using a range of expression – including the list of grammar in this specification
  • listening and responding to spoken passages, including some extended passages, from a range of different contexts and sources, adapted as necessary, covering different registers and types, including authentic communication involving one or more speakers
  • reading and responding to a variety of texts, including some extended texts, written for different purposes and audiences, drawn from a range of authentic sources, including contemporary, historical and literary, fiction and non-fiction texts, adapted as necessary
  • understanding the main points, gist and detail from spoken and written material
  • inferring meaning from complex spoken and written material, including factual and abstract content
  • assimilating and using information from spoken and written sources, including material from online media
  • summarising information from spoken and written sources, reporting key points and subject matter in writing
  • translating an unseen passage from Polish into English
  • translating an unseen passage from English into Polish
  • applying languages skills in combination, identifying main ideas, and summarising a line of argument and/or different points of view, drawn from spoken and written sources addressing common subject matter, evaluating and drawing conclusions in writing.

Students must also study either one book and one film or two books from the lists in this specification. They must appreciate, analyse and be able to respond critically in writing in Polish to the work they have studied. Their understanding of the work must include a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation as appropriate to the work studied.

In addition, students following this specification will:

  • develop research skills in Polish, demonstrating the ability to conduct individual research and select relevant information relating to Poland from a range of authentic sources, including the internet
  • use information to illustrate knowledge and understanding of the research topic
  • analyse and summarise research findings, elaborating on key points of interest, as appropriate, through an extended piece of writing.