Italian (Ab Initio)


Course Content

The Ab Initio course is accelerated and will concentrate on the four key skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing and lead to the GCSE qualification (AQA) at the end of year one. Topics to be studied will include relationships, leisure time and media, holidays, the environment, work and education, as well as social issues at a national and international level.

Students who gain a high grade in the GCSE exam may progress onto A level in the second year.

Methods of Teaching

The department employs a great variety of teaching methods. Italian is used as the main medium of instruction in the classroom and many different tasks are used in order to achieve each student’s maximum potential.

Students will be working singly, in pairs or in small groups on a variety of activities including reading, listening, speaking and grammar. They will take part in many oral activities such as role-plays;  discussions etc. and have the opportunity to speak with the Italian assistant in small groups. The language centre will be used to help improve students’ grammar and listening skills. The Ab Initio course is a fast, intensive course which requires students’ commitment to a lot of vocabulary learning throughout the year.

Where Could It Take Me?

Italian, and indeed languages in general, can be studied with nearly any subject at university level. Many modern languages and Italian graduates have pursued careers in law, accountancy, banking & finance, journalism, marketing and public relations, the Civil Service, translation and interpreting as well as teaching. Those with language skills are a relative rarity in the UK; therefore employment prospects are extremely high.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English, plus a GCSE grade 7 or above in a foreign language.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Four skills are assessed in May:

  • Listening: Exam
  • Reading: Exam
  • Speaking: A test conducted by the teacher and marked by an AQA examiner.
  • Writing: Exam

Students will be set frequent and regular tasks to reinforce the newly learnt grammar points and vocabulary and to familiarise themselves with the exam formats.

Success in this course relies heavily on the students’ motivation. Independent work is essential, as is regular attendance and regular completion of all homework.

To progress into the second year, we expect students to have gained a high grade in the GCSE exam.

Financial Implications

All students will have to purchase their own textbooks. They are advised to obtain a dictionary (e.g.: Collins Italian/English Dictionary) for home use. Students will also have the opportunity to take part on a study trip to Italy.

The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.