Learning a foreign language is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster children's curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable children to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes and learn new ways of thinking. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping children to study and work in other countries. At St Mary’s children are taught to develop an interest in learning other languages that is both enjoyable and stimulating. We encourage children’s confidence and creativity.
At St Mary’s our MFL curriculum is designed to progressively develop children skills in languages, through regularly taught lessons. Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics. Children are encouraged and supported to develop their speaking and listening skills through conversational work, singing activities and games. As confidence and skill grows, children record their work through pictures, captions and sentences. Lessons across the Key Stages support the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Although learning a modern foreign language is only mandatory in KS2, children are introduced to a new language in KS1. We encourage them to understand and respect that there are people and places in the world around them that are different to where they live and play. They begin to understand that people speak a different language to their own. As well as introducing basic greetings, manners and colours, the children also have experience of joining in whole school experiences such as celebrating Bastille Day.
Children have weekly lessons in French throughout Key Stage 2, using the Twinkl based programme of study in addition to other resources. Areas covered include: numbers including time, colours, all about me, in town, food and drink, shopping, school life and life in France. These areas allow the children to progress and apply skills they have previously learned to immerse themselves in a different language and culture.
It is intended that when children leave St Mary’s, they will have a natural curiosity and confidence to explore other countries’ cultures and languages, accepting that, in a multi-lingual society, it is a valuable skill to be able to communicate effectively with others in another language. They will be engaged and prepared to continue language learning at High School. Natural links to other areas of curriculum enhance leaning experience such as geography and history.
Assessment criteria has been developed, in line with national curriculum aims, to enable teachers to assess the progress of children in their language learning as they move through Key Stage 2, ensuring that children are supported and challenged as appropriate. This data is analysed on a termly basis, and an action plan drawn up to address any identified gaps.
Pupil Voice is also used to further develop the MFL curriculum, through questioning of pupils' views and attitudes to learning a language.