“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
At Mossgate Primary School, we believe that learning a language provides an opening to other cultures. It helps equip pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life and it encourages pupils to appreciate and celebrate difference. Key aspects of our Mission and Vision statements at Mossgate - see 'Information' and then 'Mission & Vision'.
All Key Stage 2 classes have a weekly French lesson which is taught by our Primary Foreign Languages Subject Leader. All children in Years 3 to 6 learn French because this provides them with a strong foundation for when they transition to secondary school with the majority teaching French in Year 7.
Our French Curriculum
Our languages curriculum is designed to be fun, engaging, interactive and inclusive so that all children can develop their language knowledge and make substantial progress in learning French.
It focusses on the building blocks of language: phonics, vocabulary and grammar. Children will make connections between sounds, words and sentences as they produce and understand more complex sentences and texts. Children will use these aspects to understand French through reading and listening as well as producing French through speaking and writing.
- Phonics - Our teaching explicitly draws attention to phonics and links between sounds and spelling. We teach the similarities and differences between the sound-spelling correspondences between English and French.
- Vocabulary - Vocabulary and topics are chosen carefully in terms of the age of the children and how frequently it is likely to be used. High frequency words are taught as anchor points to help children navigate both spoken and written language. Our curriculum is designed so that children understand how words and phrases can be used across a range of topics, for example, ‘Je Voudrais’ (I want...…) We ensure that when they learn knew words, they have the opportunity to use words in both comprehension (listening and reading) and production (speaking and writing). Through our planned revisiting, fluency and recall of vocabulary are improved.
- Grammar - Grammar is planned systematically through our curriculum. It is taught explicitly, for example, how nouns change when they are singular and plural. We encourage our children to explore language and take risks within our supportive environment. Learning is enhanced through the use of audio and visual resources and is planned to encourage the full and active participation of all pupils. Work is differentiated as appropriate to the needs of individual children.
Within our curriculum design, there are lots of opportunities to revisit and build upon prior learning. Each week children will revisit prior learning and explicit links will be made to new learning. In addition, the sequence of learning over the Key Stage has been designed so that prior learning is revisited and linked to new learning. For example, in Year 4, children learn how to count to 100 in French and then in Year 5, they apply this knowledge to the topic of time.
We have planned our curriculum to ensure that children learning meaningful, transferable and useful French so that they have the language skills to use in an everyday situation that they find themselves in. For example, the children learn the names of landmarks and how to ask for and give directions to get there.
Children learn to understand and respond to spoken and written language in a number of ways including, using timetables written in French to answer a question written in French; listening to a story read in French and answering questions about the text; reading sentences and saying whether they are true or false. Within all of our lessons, children learn to speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, for example, they role play scenarios such as being in a café where they need to ask someone what they would like and reply with an order.
Initially, children will use simple words and phrases to answer questions such as, ‘What is your name?’ but as their knowledge increases, they will use sentences of varying length and engage in conversations. They will also combine words and phrases that they have learned through different topics, for example using their knowledge of colours learned in Y3 and applying this to the describing food in Y5.
Children learn to write at varying length, for different purposes and audience, for example, answering questions with one word to answering questions with a full sentence. Children discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied by having access to books written in French; the use of bilingual dictionaries; leaflets and tourist information; and resources for each topic being written in French such as menus, maps and city guides.
As well as learning how to understand and produce French, our children will learn about what life is like in France and other French speaking countries.
Interwoven throughout our language curriculum are meaningful assessments designed and based on the knowledge that has been taught. Children are provided with relevant, focused and clear feedback.
We endeavour to integrate language learning into everyday school life, with teachers, teaching assistants and children using and experimenting with their knowledge of different languages. For example, at Christmas we learn a Christmas carol in French; we listen to stories in French for pleasure. We also reinforce the vocabulary and structures they have learned through the use of ‘Incidental’ language where French is part of the day to day life of the school. For example, teachers use the foreign language to give simple classroom instructions (‘listen’; ‘look’; ‘sit down’), to ask questions (‘what would you like for dinner?’; ‘what’s today’s date?’) and to take the register.
Mrs Boswell – French Subject Leader and Teacher