Why should I study A Level Italian?

In any realm of business, it always pays to know the client’s language. In the fields of diplomacy and trade, the government is always seeking qualified applicants with Italian language skills. 

Italy has the seventh largest economy in the world and is a major political force in Europe; indeed Italian is spoken by 60 million people in Italy and 62 million people worldwide.  It is also a world leader in several career fields such as interior and graphic design, fashion, robotics, construction machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering and the motor industry. Six of the one hundred biggest global companies have their headquarters in Italy, and Italy is the world’s fifth largest industrial producer of goods. 

The UK is the fourth most important destination for Italy’s exports and the fourth most important source of imports, and therefore many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English and many Italian companies have offices in the UK, especially in the London metropolitan area. As more and more businesses are “going global” by opening offices throughout the world, knowledge of Italian is an increasingly important asset when applying for jobs.

You will also find it beneficial to communicate in Italian with native speakers. In order to travel to Italy and fully appreciate the richness of Italian literature, theatre, opera, and films, knowledge of the Italian language is essential.  Learning Italian also enhances your skills in analysing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas, as well as being a big accomplishment which brings with it great satisfaction and added confidence. 

Course Content 

You are expected to devote 5 hours per week to Italian homework and private study. There will be a weekly conversation class with an Italian language assistant. 

You are provided with a vocabulary book for weekly learning. Most other resources are provided as hand-outs or electronically. Basic GCSE grammar will be revised and further grammatical structures will be introduced to enable you to speak and write effectively and accurately in Italian. The Library and Italian Department both stock a range of course books, grammar practice books, easy readers (simplified versions of Italian classics) and Italian plays and novels. 

There is a bank of interactive resources available on the College’s virtual learning environment system (Moodle). You will also be shown how to access Italian material on the Internet for research and broader interest. 

The first year of the A Level course (Edexcel) consists of two themes: 

Theme 1: Changes in Italian Society. 

• Changes in Family. 

• Education. 

• The World of Work. 

Theme 2: Political and Artistic Culture in Italy 

• Music. 

• Media. 

• Cultural Heritage (festivals, customs and traditions). 

In the second year, the additional themes for A Level are as follows:

 Theme 3: Evolving Italian Society 

• The positive impact of immigration on Italian society. 

• Facing the challenges of migration in Italian society. 

• The North/South divide. 

Theme 4: Fascism and beyond 

• The Rise of Mussolini. 

• Fascism in World War 2. 

• From Dictatorship to Democracy.

Progression onto Year 2

Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.

Final Assessment at end of Year 2

You will sit 3 papers:

Paper 1: Listening, reading and translation into English - 40% of the total A Level grade. 

Paper 2: Written response to works, translation into Italian - 30% of the total A Level grade. 

This paper includes TWO essays on at least two ‘works’, one of which must be literary.

 Paper 3: Speaking - 30% of the total A Level grade. 

Spontaneous discussion on a stimulus card relating to one of the sub-themes. 

Individual research presentation and discussion on an area of interest related to Italian culture. 

Minimum Entry Criteria

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:

Grade 6                 

GCSE Italian



(if GCSE Italian not taken, but fluent language skills are in place)


In an initial assessment provided by the department


What can I do after studying A Level Italian? 

The A Level course forms a sound basis for studying Italian in higher education and many students continue with it either as a single subject degree or in combination with another subject such as european studies, business studies, marketing, law, politics, history, etc. Some Italian graduates use their language skills as translators, interpreters or teachers. Others embark on careers in areas ranging from banking to tourism. Italian is a language that few English people speak, so acquiring a qualification in Italian puts you at an advantage over other job applicants.

Further Information 

Students who need extra support are invited to attend support classes or offered a second year mentor. More able students will be issued with extension reading packs, and there may be the opportunity to attend extension classes. There may be an opportunity to take part in a trip to Italy in the spring term.

 The Modern Foreign Languages Department (MFL) also offer A Level courses in German, Spanish and French, one-year GCSE courses in Italian and Spanish leading to an A Level course in the second year, Modern and Additional Studies in Japanese, Chinese and Latin. We also offer many other enrichment opportunities such as “MFL’s Got Talent” and the European Day of Languages.