Vision and Rationale
At Burton Road Primary School, we enormously value the importance of foreign language learning and so we give our pupils the opportunity to visit France in Year 6. Our residential trip is a really profound learning opportunity, where children are immersed in French culture and it is an unforgettable experience that pupils remember for life. We are lucky enough to have an expert language specialist, who delivers outstanding teaching and learning of French across KS2. Our topics have been sequenced in a way so that key grammatical elements can be revisited and built upon each time and the order of them allows them to revisit their prior learning and make connections. Our scheme is planned so that children are taught by our language specialist four half terms per year.
to create a carefully sequenced scheme of learning. We have ensured our curriculum has used elements of Rachel Hawkes’ accredited phonics scheme to plan the sequencing of the learning for each phoneme. We plan to focus on one new phoneme each lesson, however this will not be limited; the children will be exposed to other sounds within the lesson when acquiring a broad range of vocabulary and learning the key grammatical features. In each year group, we have broken down how they will be learning these sounds. In LKS2 the focus will be on learning the new sounds- both single letters and diagraphs. Then in UKS2 this knowledge will be revised and applied in a range of contexts. Our phonics will be explicitly taught for 5-10 minutes in each lesson.
We have ensured we have key grammatical threads/themes running throughout our teaching so that is progresses but also gives the children the opportunity to build upon existing grammatical knowledge and vocabulary. Our skills document outlines the key pillars of progression, which are incorporated into each lesson, showing how our children progress in phonics (representing the sounds in writing and how to pronounce the sounds when speaking), listening, saying and writing new vocabulary and grammar (including how to conjugate verbs depending on the subject pronoun or tense). The vocabulary mapped on our progression document has been carefully chosen to link to the topics taught and to teach the key grammatical features such as use of gender agreement when using adjectives in context. Children will be exposed to other vocabulary whilst learning our topics, however this is not essential knowledge that we are expecting the children to retain, but to understand the meaning, for example teacher use of questions and commands in the classroom.
Although children do not formally learn a foreign language in EYFS and KS1, they do have some exposure to it before they begin foreign language learning in LKS2. We believe it is crucial for children to have an opening to other cultures and be aware of the wider world around them. Our children learn about different religions, cultures and celebrations from different countries. This exposes them to foreign traditions and cultures across the world. We teach the children about diversity amongst their class and how we are all different and this should be celebrated. Other examples of celebrations from different countries and cultures we learn about are Diwali and Chinese New Year.
We have already began implementing our new curriculum. We have made changes to our medium-term planning, to address gaps due to COVID 19, and to make remedial plans for the children who are now in UKS2 and have previously not learnt any French (previously we taught French and Spanish). Our languages curriculum is inclusive for all learners, including disadvantaged children and children with SEND. Learning is scaffolded appropriately to ensure all children can access the learning at their level independently. An example of this is a sentence builder support sheet which can be used to aid practical conversations with their peers and the effective use of knowledge organisers.
As the MFL lead, I have been working alongside Liz Garside (our specialist) and the teachers to ensure the curriculum is being implemented effectively. I am very passionate about foreign language learning and thus am determined to ensure our languages curriculum can instil this love of language learning into our children and provide them with the knowledge and skills to be lifelong language learners. We aim to make our MFL curriculum more hands on and practical with a huge focus on speaking, listening and phonics. These skills are essential in order for children to be able to read and write in a foreign language. Languages will be taught in context with a cultural element embedded and threaded throughout the topics taught. This allows the knowledge learnt to ‘stick’ as the children can make real life connections in their learning. We believe that it is vital for all children to experience a range of different learning opportunities and we aim to do this through exciting and engaging MFL lessons. We use a range of pedagogies, this involves the use of role play situations, songs and games to make language lessons practical and engaging.
Our MFL curriculum needs to be supported by effective assessment of the children’s understanding of the vocabulary, grammar and cultural aspect of foreign languages. Formative assessment through questions and reconnect starters to check prior learning are used to inform learning. A post-unit assessment ‘hot task’ called ‘Puzzle it out’ will be completed at the end of the unit to inform subsequent planning. We then use on/off track grids to identify any spotlight children who need further support to access their learning and continue to make progress.
Furthermore, our languages specialist runs a club for any children who wish to continue with their Spanish learning. This club promotes the profile of languages at our school. Our children very much look forward to foreign language lessons and enjoy being exposed to the traditions and cultures. They are extremely enthusiastic about their foreign language lessons. Our club provides them with extra opportunities to develop their language learning further.