The Intent of our French curriculum
In a world and a time where differences are keenly felt and seen as a barrier – be it of faith, culture, nationality and of course, language – the very teaching of language itself gives students an opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon those differences. And in fact, just as we identify areas in French language and culture that are distinctly different from English, we find as many that are the same, to unite us.
Exposure at a young age to languages and beliefs, and customs and cultures that are different from those that surround them, students are encouraged to open their minds and hearts to people and places that otherwise would remain alien and unknown. Rather than being wary, students learn to respect and embrace diversity. Through learning French – the language, the culture, the history – students are challenged to appreciate the need for global communication that respects other languages, as a clear way of recognising and valuing the culture and dignity of other peoples.
As language learners, students come to understand the many and varied ways that humanity has to communicate. They are encouraged to dismiss stereotypes and reflect more on what can unite people, rather than what separates them.
The subject of French at St Alban & St Stephen Catholic Primary School reflects the purposeful journey for the whole child, equipping our pupils with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in all aspects of life, both inside and outside of the classroom. It takes our children on a journey which provides opportunities for them to develop skills and knowledge – both academic and personal – which will ensure that success is achievable for all, regardless of circumstance.
We value the development of the whole child. Our children are not just learners – they are communicators, budding linguists, increasingly cultured members of society, and ultimately the future of our community and the world beyond it. In French we relish building the linguists and language experts of the future! We ignite pupils’ curiosity and fascination about languages and how another language is similar/different to our own through how it is spoken, heard, read or written. We develop pupils confidence to speak with fluency and spontaneity in another language, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and that they are continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation. We develop pupils’ understanding of how a sentence is structured in another language, looking carefully at grammatical structures learnt in Literacy. We aim to foster children’s curiosity and understanding of the world within language lessons, developing an understanding of other cultures and how they are similar/different to their own culture, and also to be respectful of these differences.
The teaching of French in KS2 provides an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and lays the foundation for further foreign language at KS3. Our carefully structured Modern Foreign Languages curriculum provides opportunities additional to the NC endpoints; to build pupils’ independence, resilience, and willingness to challenge themselves; and through exposure in French lessons to life skills such as British values, tolerance and respect, enable pupils to become well-rounded members of society in preparation for later life.
Through our French curriculum the children experience the following:
- The confidence to speak with good intonation and pronunciation.
- Fluency in reading.
- Fluency and imagination in writing.
- A strong awareness of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken.
- A passion for languages and a commitment to the subject.
- The ability to use language creatively and spontaneously.
- An independence in their studies and the ability to draw upon a wide range of resources.
Through our in-depth and carefully sequenced lessons, pupils’ language skills and concepts are transferable to their grammatical understanding in English, and prepares them for different cultural experiences in their everyday life and in the future.
These key French skills and concepts are:
- Read fluently
- Write imaginatively
- Speak confidently
- Understand the culture of the countries in which the language is spoken
Implementation of our French curriculum
All learning starts with links to prior learning so children make connections. Staff will model explicitly phonics linked to current language being taught to enable an improvement in pronunciation of key words and phrases. The French specialist uses images and interactive apps to enhance learning. Learning is supported by MFL working walls link to current unit being taught. Giving each child a reference point to support acquisition of key vocabulary where subject specific vocabulary is displayed. Quizzes are used at the end of each unit to review learning and check that children know more and remember more. MFL assessment is ongoing throughout each module to inform future planning, lesson activities and differentiation. Summative assessment is completed at the end of each module when each MFL objective has been covered.
Impact of our French curriculum
At St Alban & St Stephen, pupil voice shows that children are retaining some key words and phrases and are beginning to make links to past learning. Pupil’s work demonstrates that MFL is taught at an age appropriate standard across each year group with sufficient challenge and opportunities for pupils working at greater depth. Work is improving and demonstrates children are acquiring the skills and vocabulary in an appropriate sequence.
Our pupils leave St Alban & St Stephen Catholic Primary School with the knowledge to think with other cultures and languages in mind, act like a budding linguist, and have the confidence to speak in another language. They value the transference of these skills into their everyday life, in education and beyond.