Learning a foreign language is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster children's curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable children to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping children to study and work in other countries.
The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
At St Gregory’s Catholic Academy:
At St Gregory’s our intent for our MFL curriculum is to have a basic introduction to Spanish in the Early Years and KS1 and a clear progression in the understanding of French throughout KS2. Children have weekly lessons in French throughout Key Stage 2, this also includes fortnightly lessons with a member of staff from St Thomas More Catholic Academy. Areas covered include: greetings, numbers, colours, house and home, in town, food and drink, the classroom, clothes and hobbies.
At the end of Key Stage 2, children are given the opportunity to visit France on a five day residential trip to apply the language skills they have learned and immerse themselves in a different language and culture.
It is intended that when children leave St Gregory’s Catholic Academy, they will have a natural curiosity and confidence to explore, other countries, cultures and languages, accepting that, in a multi-lingual society it is a valuable skill to be able to communicate effectively with others in another language. They will be engaged and prepared to continue language learning at High School.
Teachers foster an enjoyment of languages through a variety of lessons including interactive, singing and outdoor lessons. Progression through a topic should be evident in the development of key skills and acquisition of main vocabulary.
Evidence is kept of children’s work in books, through recordings (seesaw) and photos (also seesaw). This helps evidence to be stored and organised clearly.
The cultural aspect of the curriculum is implemented through whole school focus days (Europe Day of Language) and the study of various French celebrations and festivals.
Pupils are taught to:
- listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
- explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
- engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help
- speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
- present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
- broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
- write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clear
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
- understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
Assessment criteria has been developed, in line with national curriculum aims, to enable teachers to assess the progress of children in their language learning as they move through Key Stage 2, ensuring that children are supported and challenged as appropriate. This data is analysed on a termly basis, and an action plan drawn up to address any identified gaps.
Working together with partner schools, children are also provided with a variety of extra curricular activities to promote their engagement in the subject as well as provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary, to continue their studies successfully at High School. We work closely alongside St Thomas More Catholic Academy to identify the positive impact the teaching of a language has on the learning of our children as they progress through Key Stage 3 and 4.
Pupil Voice is also used to further develop the MFL curriculum, through questioning of pupils' views and attitudes to learning a language.