Modern Foreign Languages
Our intent for the Primary French curriculum is for all pupils in KS2, regardless of their background or SEN status, to acquire the knowledge and skills which will lay the foundations for language learning not only at a primary school level but for the future.
We teach foreign languages with a view to giving a valuable educational, social and cultural experience to our pupils, and helping them develop productive skills (speaking and writing) and receptive skills (reading and listening) as well as intercultural understanding. At Belmont Primary School we believe that learning a second language gives children a new perspective on the world, it encourages them to understand their own cultures and those of others and in the case of MFL that of France and French speaking countries around the world. We recognize the value of teaching modern foreign languages and provide age-appropriate and, if needed, level-appropriate Primary Languages learning opportunities for all children in KS2 (Years 3 – 6).
With our primary languages curriculum we:
- foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to French in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils including SEN pupils;
- stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it;
- encourage repetition and recast of tasks in order to promote ‘restructuring’ a process by which learners use their prior language knowledge to make up their own sentences instead of reproducing ready-made sentences;
- support oracy and literacy, and in particular develop speaking and listening skills;
- help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences;
- lay the foundations for future language study by pupils;
- provide an added perspective on first language teaching and learning;
- give an extra dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum.
French is taught by the MFL coordinator who is an experienced native primary and secondary school language teacher currently studying for an MA in Applied Linguistics at Kingston University. She has designed French syllabuses specific to each year group (year 3-6) which follow the National Curriculum in England’s Languages Programmes of Study for KS2 (Sept 2013). The syllabuses are reviewed and updated yearly; this helps sustain regular progression and smooth transition from one year to the next as well as prepare pupils to secondary school second language learning.
French classes take place once a week in all KS2 classes. The MFL coordinator works closely with the class teachers 1) to ensure that she meets the pupils’ needs and adheres to the school’s and each class’s code of conduct, 2) to facilitate cross curricular activities in topics such as grammar, maths, history, etc. All the teachers are aware of the French syllabus and children are encouraged to inform their teachers of what they are learning in French. All classrooms have a French display.
Pedagogy and methodology:
At Belmont school our children enjoy learning languages: our approach and pedagogy are based upon interactive communicative language teaching and every pupil - regardless of their SEN status of abilities - will learn through interactions with peers and language teacher. The French lessons are taught using an array of materials such as videos, worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, interactive whiteboard games, traditional games, songs, role-plays and many more. Pupils learn through repetition, songs, role-plays and recasts within tasks, and also discuss and reflect on what makes languages special and different. This will give pupils a head-start in language learning and instil an appetite for discovering, experimenting with and learning more languages.
At Belmont school we are very lucky to have speakers of many different languages and children use and share their own language knowledge to add depth to the lessons.
All children have a French folder containing speaking, listening, reading and writing worksheets as well as revision sheets and end of year assessments.
Assessment, progress and attainment
The MFL coordinator has designed a Progress Ladder inspired by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to keep track of each pupil’s progress and make sure that they move forward on their primary language learning journey.
The MFL teacher works with all KS2 children over a period of four years (from year 3 to 6) which allows her to notice progress first hand.
Pupils keep their folder for the duration of their four years of French at Belmont thus showing how their knowledge has evolved over the four-year period; their folder will then become a portfolio to show all they have learnt and achieved in French during their time at Belmont to future language teachers. Folders are monitored on a regular basis to check for progress and gaps.
After holiday periods pupils tell teachers of their experience in using the language in authentic situations in French speaking countries.
Belmont school is very proud to count amongst its ex-pupils (who learned French in KS2) some French A-level students.