Modern foreign languages is the study of other languages to allow us to read, write, speak and listen in a language other than English.
At Elmhurst Junior School, we believe that learning a foreign language is an important aspect in developing children’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Through consultation with pupils, we have chosen to learn French as our modern foreign language of study. French is the common additional language taught in our feeder secondary schools and so children will move on from Elmhurst with a firm foundation in French, to build on in Key Stage 3 and beyond.
Our intent is that every child learns to be confident and enthused by our French lessons. We want children to be able to communicate in French, both orally and in writing; understanding what they hear and being able to respond appropriately. Our intention is that lessons are practical and engaging and content is based on familiar routines that pupils can relate to in their everyday lives, such as: counting, colours, days, pets, hobbies, food, family and holidays. We also want our children to gain an appreciation of another language and culture, rooted in respect and tolerance.
At Elmhurst Junior School, we use the Language Angels scheme of work to support our teaching of French through Years 3-6. This scheme supports teachers to ensure our teaching is delivered to a high standard and pupils are exposed to correctly pronounced and articulated French. Our French curriculum supports pupils to build on the essential skills of oracy, literacy, intercultural understanding and knowledge about language:
Oracy – to speak confidently
Literacy – reading – to read fluently demonstrating knowledge of the language
Literacy – writing – to use and apply knowledge of the language to write accurately.
Intercultural understanding – to gain a good and accurate understanding of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken, especially mainland French.
Knowledge about language – building on their learning of English and applying this knowledge to learning a new language.
French is taught over three half terms for every year group and lessons take place weekly to ensure that children have time to fully consolidate their learning before progressing. Year 3 work on the early learning units, Year 4 and 5 work on the intermediate units and Year 6 work on the progressive units. Our French lessons incorporate a wide range of learning activities, such as songs, rhymes, interactive games, word matching, role play and stories. These activities ensure that pupils are consistently and actively engaged in their learning, building confidence in their ability to speak and write French as they progress through the school. Written work is recorded and stored in individual folders for pupils to refer to during their learning journey.
French knowledge organisers highlight the key phonics, vocabulary and grammar for each unit and this knowledge is checked through the use of retrieval questions. All children have access to the full French and tasks are adapted to provide appropriate challenge and support depending on individual needs.
Areas for development throughout the unit are identified and addressed appropriately by the teacher and live feedback techniques help all children to move forward, deepening their understanding of key vocabulary in French.
Where possible, we have made connections between our French curriculum and other subject areas to ensure that children broaden their understanding of interwoven links within their learning journey, in addition to hosting various competitions across the school. We have also built a strong language link with Millfield School through the development of an after school Mandarin club with pupils across all year groups gaining an insight and understanding of Chinese language, culture and food.
Outcomes in pupils’ French folders, in addition to audio and video clips provide clear evidence of a broad and balanced curriculum and demonstrates children’s acquisition of key vocabulary and understanding in oracy, reading and writing. Pupils’ learning is assessed on a lesson-by-lesson basis through the use of verbal feedback, written feedback, peer and self-review. Weekly celebration assemblies and displays showcase a variety of French activities and work completed across all year groups. This evidence informs teacher assessment and is used by the Modern Foreign Languages subject leader as part of the monitoring process.
The Modern Foreign Languages subject leader talks to pupils about their learning as part of the monitoring process to gauge attainment and enthusiasm. Children’s French folders and knowledge organisers are used to guide discussion and provide the subject leader with the necessary information to measure how much key vocabulary has been remembered and understood.