At St Mary’s, we believe that studying a language in primary school provides children with skills that are essential for modern life. As well as giving children the opportunity to learn a second language and an increasingly important skill in our globalised society, it also helps to promote and develop a broader intercultural understanding.
This is closely linked to our school’s curriculum driver – Knowledge of the World. By studying the French language, children will be exposed to wonders of French culture and position in the world.
We have chosen French as the Modern Foreign Language to teach as it is one of the prevalent languages in Wolverhampton. We aim to have close links with our community by celebrating different heritage of our children; many of whom speak a different language.
Our aim, which is at the heart of the programme of study for KS2, is to develop an enthusiastic and positive attitude to other languages and language learning. We hope to encourage a life-long learning of languages among our pupils in order to enhance their understanding of the world and their future economic well-being. We believe that this will aid our pupils to have high aspirations for their future careers as being able to speak a foreign language can be very beneficial and will provide many opportunities.
The study of a second language also supports children’s literacy and oracy in school, by raising awareness of aspects of their own language(s), thereby enriching their understanding of both. Our main objective in the teaching of a modern foreign language at primary school is to promote the early development of linguistic competence to enhance their communication skills.
We believe that to accomplish this, we should help the children to do all of the following:
- familiarise themselves with the sounds and written form of a modern foreign language;
- begin to understand a new language, and communicate in it;
- make comparisons between languages;
- develop a positive attitude towards the learning of foreign languages in general;
- use their knowledge of the foreign language with growing confidence, both to understand what they hear and read, and to express themselves in different ways;
- acquire, through all of the above, a sound basis for further study at Key Stage 3 and beyond.
We tailor our curriculum to meet St Mary’s pupils’ needs. Children at St Mary’s benefit from learning about healthy lifestyles. French lessons contribute to promoting this driver of our curriculum by teaching pupils about a range of fruit and vegetables in French so that they are more familiar with a huge variety of fresh food available. We also teach about healthy lifestyles in one of French cross-curricular units.
St Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy has a dedicated MFL leader with responsibility for the management of teaching of French across Years 3 to 6. Schemes of Learning (Language Angels) are in place for French in Years 3 to 6 to ensure a balanced and well-distributed coverage of the attainment targets set out in the programme of study for KS2 and to ensure continuity and progression in language learning across the key stage. It is clearly set out on the MFL long term plan.
All classes have access to a very high-quality foreign languages curriculum using the Language Angels scheme of work and resources. This will progressively develop pupils’ skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned weekly lessons in KS2, which will be taught by class teachers or higher level teaching assistants.
Children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes – building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language. All teachers will know where every child is at any point in their foreign language learning journey.
The planning of different levels of challenge (as demonstrated in the various Language Angels teaching-type categories) and which units to teach at each stage of the academic year will be addressed dynamically and will be reviewed in detail annually as units are updated and added to the scheme. Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge and stretch will be taught at all times to ensure pupils learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language they are learning.
Language Angels is categorised by ‘Teaching Types’ to make it easier for teachers to choose units that will offer the appropriate level of challenge and stretch for the classes they are teaching.
Early Language units are entry level units and are most appropriate for Year 3 pupils or pupils with little or no previous foreign language learning. Intermediate units increase the level of challenge by increasing the amount and complexity (including foreign language grammar concepts) of the foreign language presented to pupils. Intermediate units are suitable for Year 4-5 pupils or pupils with embedded basic knowledge of the foreign language. Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are the most challenging units and are suitable for Year 6 pupils or pupils with a good understanding of the basics of the language they are learning. Grouping units into these Teaching Type categories ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children will be taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they will have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Pupil learning and progression will be assessed at regular intervals in-line with school policy. Teachers will aim to assess each language skill (speaking, listening, reading and writing) twice throughout each scholastic year to be able to provide reference points against which learning and progression in each skill can be demonstrated.
As well as each subsequent lesson within a unit being progressive, the teaching type organisation of Language Angels units also directs, drives and guarantees progressive learning and challenge. Units increase in level of challenge, stretch and linguistic and grammatical complexity as pupils move from Early Learning units through Intermediate units and into the most challenging Progressive units. Units in each subsequent level of the teaching type categories require more knowledge and application of skills than the previous teaching type. Activities contain progressively more text (both in English and the foreign language being studied) and lessons will have more content as the children become more confident and ambitious with the foreign language they are learning.
Pupils will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their foreign language learning journey through the primary phase. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate.
Teachers will have a clear overview of what they are working towards and if they are meeting these criteria. They will use the long-term planning documents provided in the form of Language Angels unit planners to ensure the correct units are being taught to the correct classes at each stage of the scholastic year. Short-term planning is also provided in the form of unit overviews (covering the learning targets for each 6-week unit). These planning documents ensure that teachers know what to teach and how to teach it in each lesson, across whole units and across each scholastic term.
Pupils will be aware of their own learning goals and progression as for each unit teachers prepare unit markers for children which offer a pupil friendly overview so that all pupils can review their own learning at the start and at the end of each unit. They will know and will be able to articulate if they have or have not met their learning objectives.
The opportunity to assess pupil learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and against the 12 DfE Languages Programme of Study for Key Stage 2 attainment targets is provided at the end of each 6-week teaching unit. This information will be recorded and will be monitored by the Foreign Language Subject Leader who can use this data to ensure teaching is targeted and appropriate for each pupil, class and year group as well as to feedback on progress to senior leaders in school.
Children are expected to make good or better than good progress in their foreign language learning and their individual progress is tracked and reported to pupils and parents / carers in line with school recommendations.
If pupils are not progressing in line with expectations, this will be identified in the End of Unit Skills Assessments provided in the Language Angels Tracking & Progression Tool. This will enable teachers to put in place an early intervention programme to address any areas that require attention in any of the language learning skills the following year.
Please view the additional documents in school:
- MFL Knowledge and Skills Progression
- MFL Vocabulary Progression
- MFL Knowledge Organisers
- MFL Unit Markers