Modern Foreign Languages
All pupils in Key Stage Two have the right to learn an additional language and, at Tutshill C. of E. Primary School, we teach French as our chosen modern foreign language. French was chosen as it is one of the languages taught at our local Secondary School and there are ties in the town of Chepstow with our twin town in France – Cormeilles.
French lessons give children opportunities to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, both verbally and in writing, and to understand and respond to its speakers. They also provide opportunities to read age-appropriate literature and learn songs in the target language. Language learning helps develop a range of skills as well as our school learning behaviours of co-operation, curiosity, resilience, risk-taking, resourcefulness, evaluation and reflection. French lessons also help children to develop a better awareness, understanding and respect of different cultures in our local, national and global communities.
Our ultimate aim is to provide a firm foundation for further language-learning and to engender a love for language learning in the children that we teach. We aim to equip children with the skills that they need in order to become life-long language learners, both for the pleasure that can be derived from doing so, and for the practical purpose of studying or working in other countries or in other languages.
Through our teaching of French at Tutshill C. of E. Primary School, we aim to:
- Ensure that each child in Key Stage Two has the opportunity to study French as a foreign language over four years, fostering their interest in the culture of France and the Francophone world.
- Teach vocabulary and linguistic structures informed by the National Curriculum and the skills expressed therein: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Grammar (as well as Cultural Understanding).
- Enable children to ask and answer a range of questions about themselves, which would allow them to confidently address a French speaker and exchange simple, individual information.
- Create opportunities for children to manipulate language for their own purposes, drawing on their knowledge of increasingly complex sentence structures.
- Teach children the basics of phonics in French to allow them to spell in a phonetically plausible way and read and speak with increased confidence and improved pronunciation.
- Enable children to draw comparisons between French and English vocabulary, using their knowledge of cognates and near-cognates to decode unfamiliar texts of increasing complexity.
- Encourage children to draw comparisons between French and English grammar, syntax and sentence structure, both as a tool for developing their understanding of the French language and their understanding of English.
- Give children opportunities to make, and learn from, mistakes in the target language, thereby building resilience.
- Develop children’s understanding of French as a global language, and the reasons why it is spoken in countries other than France.
- Enable children to understand their place in the wider world and the concept of interdependence.
We use the Language Angels scheme of work at Tutshill School to ensure progression in content and skills in one target language – French – across Key Stage Two. French lessons are taught by a PPA teacher with a degree in French in LKS2 and by class teachers in UKS2. At the moment, French lessons are taught every other half term by the PPA teacher in LKS2 (with some additional lessons taught throughout the year by class teachers) and in most weeks by class teachers in UKS2.
The organisation of themes and topics in the Language Angels scheme helps children to build on prior knowledge and previous learning, alongside the introduction of new skills and language content. Lessons are sequenced in such a way that opportunities for progression are built in, including in the understanding and application of phonics and grammar. The introduction and revision of key vocabulary and grammatical structures are included in each lesson and, throughout a unit of work, children have opportunities to listen to native speakers in French and to speak, read and write in French themselves.
The Language Angels scheme also provides opportunities for children to develop intercultural understanding, develop knowledge about language and build up a bank of language learning strategies. Teachers make links with meta-cognition (an awareness of an individual’s own thought processes and an ability to reflect on the way we think and learn) and French lessons often follow the ABCDE model, in line with other curriculum subjects at Tutshill C. of E. Primary. This means that, in lessons, children are supported to ‘Activate’ their prior learning, ‘Build’ on what they know, receive ‘Coaching’ to help them improve, ‘Do’ something to ‘Demonstrate’ their learning and ‘Evaluate’ their learning.
French lessons at Tutshill CofE are as interactive and engaging as possible, through the inclusion of actions for key sounds/words/phrases, physical movement, stories, songs and games. Children work on their language learning as a whole class, in small groups as well as on their own or with a partner. French lessons regularly include the use of iPads – for children to record their spoken or written work as well as to access a range of online/digital resources and activities. Outdoor learning in French takes place wherever possible. Children at Tutshill CofE are encouraged to develop and demonstrate their key learning behaviours (co-operation, curiosity, resilience, risk-taking, resourcefulness, evaluation and reflection) in all subjects, including French, and to embody our school vision and values in their approach to learning.
In addition to discrete French lessons, the use of incidental French both in the classroom and around the school is encouraged. Multi-lingual signs are on display around the school and children are encouraged to use French greetings and other commonly used phrases, such as ‘merci’ and ‘excusez-moi’ while moving around the school. Teachers are encouraged to build French into their daily praise and routine in the classroom.
Themed days, such as the ‘European Day of Languages’ offer children opportunities to focus on particular aspects of the language or culture in France, Francophone countries or on other countries and languages around the world. Cross-curricular links with other subjects are made where possible.
At Tutshill C. of E. Primary School, we have a ‘French Focus’ of the half term, which is a key word, phrase or question & answer in French. Children in Key Stage 2 use the French Focus as part of the register or at other appropriate times of the day. The French Focus is led by children; each KS2 class has French Focus monitors and videos modelling the French Focus have been made by bilingual French-speakers in our school.
Children share their learning in class as well as the French Focus of the week with parents and carers through SeeSaw. Parents and carers are encouraged to share their own language expertise in our annual European Day of Languages.
Learning is recorded both on iPads and in curriculum skills or French books. The use of iPads allows oral work to be recorded and assessed more effectively.
Formative assessment is used during French lessons by teachers, allowing them to adjust pace and coverage as appropriate, as well as allowing them to provide challenges or scaffolding and support where needed. Teachers use questioning built into lessons to assess children’s understanding and make notes on their planning to reflect their findings and to jot down any ideas for support or challenge needed in subsequent lessons.
Children are encouraged to self-assess their understanding in lessons and then to select a level of challenge in their written & spoken work that they feel would work best for them.
Summative assessment takes place at the end of each long term through the use of the foundation subject assessments for MFL. These assessments are based on the Skills Progression Grid from the Language Angels scheme.
Pupil voice discussions take place annually and allow the Subject Leader for MFL (and other staff) to gain a better understanding of the impact of French teaching and learning, as well as incidental French and events days, on the children’s enjoyment and engagement with the subject.
The displays in classrooms will reflect the French Focus at the time and both teachers and children will be heard using incidental French in the classrooms and in the wider school environment.
Parents will be aware of events days, their children’s learning and the French Focus through newsletters, SeeSaw and eSchools. Appropriate home learning tasks will be set and completed.