We have made the decision as a school to teach French as our significant Modern Foreign Language. This is due to the curriculum composition of our secondary feeder schools; the majority of which teach French as the language children will study when first arriving into Year 7. However, we recognise that skills in MFL are transferrable and language acquisition is a skill which can be transferred – for this reason teachers may choose to teach other languages incidentally as part of our exploration of children’s cultural capital. This is particularly prominent during our ‘European Day of Language’ celebration where children may learn aspects of German, Italian or Spanish and cultural details of these societies.
Languages create a valuable educational, cultural and social experience for our pupils. It helps them develop communication skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Similarly, children are encouraged to look at patterns within language and grammar – recognising similarities with the English language and linking with their understanding of etymology and morphology. This is particularly prevalent as we recognise this as a whole school target for our pupils in English, so the experience and skills of language and vocabulary building, whatever the language, proves invaluable.
Learning a language gives children a new and broader perspective on the world and encourages them to question and understand the beliefs and cultures of others. As a small, village school in the English countryside language teaching is crucial to broadening children’s cultural capital.
Children develop their love of language and language skills throughout their time in school. Children are given the opportunity to sing songs and listen to stories in other languages. They celebrate the ‘European Day of Languages’ annually. Teachers also use their skills and expertise to teach language incidentally throughout lessons, broadening children’s experience.
Our core Modern Foreign Language (French) is taught as a discrete session on a weekly basis from Year 2 upwards. In Year 2, children have one thirty minute language lesson per week. They are taught languages in smaller teaching groups comprising of Y3/4 and Y5/6 to allow for enhanced progression. We acknowledge our children have different learning styles and these are catered for in our provision.
The ‘Progression in Skills’ document enables teachers to develop an understanding of what has gone before and ensures that, even in mixed age classes, children progress confidently. Although there are no National Curriculum expectations for MFL in KS1 and the Early Years, we have decided that children should be introduced to MFL in Year 2. In EYFS children may listen to and learn songs, stories and games.
We follow the ‘Language Angels’ scheme of work in our school, however teachers adapt the planning and activities to meet the bespoke needs of our children.
Teachers use the built in assessment system on our Language Angels scheme of work to assess children’s learning. We made this decision as it meets the NC requirements for languages and allows our staff, most of whom are non-specialists, to feel confident when making judgements of children’s work in MFL.
Work in MFL is recorded using audio, video or photographs. Each class has a ‘big book’ which documents progress in MFL.
This data is analysed by the MFL leader on a termly basis and subsequently demonstrates a discussion with staff. We also regularly communicate with our secondary feeder schools about the standard of children in MFL when they leave our school.