Intent: Our vision for French
At St Teresa’s, we aim to instill a lifelong love and appreciation for languages and the building blocks for future progress in French with skills that can be transferred to learning other languages.
Learning a language enriches the curriculum by providing excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. Language learning supports oracy and literacy as children spend much of their time in language lessons speaking, listening and interacting. Children learn to express themselves in a completely different way, giving the opportunity for talents and gifts to be identified and nurtured. Language learning stimulates children's creativity and can make a contribution to a child’s health and wellbeing. Language also lies at the heart of ideas about individual identity and community, and learning another language can help shape children's ideas and boost confidence and self-esteem as well as giving them a new perspective on their own language. Language learning supports and celebrates the international dimension. In our multi-lingual school it is very important for all children to value other languages and cultures and develop empathy and understanding for those living and working in a second or third language.
Implementation: How we teach French
At St Teresa’s, we base our learning on the Language Angels scheme of work and resources to ensure we offer a relevant, broad, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that will inspire and excite our pupils using a wide variety of topics and themes. This is supported by the Primary French Project, French Physical Phonics, and a range of authentic songs, rhymes, stories and digital resources.
All pupils will be expected to achieve their full potential by having high expectations and excellent standards in their foreign language learning - the ultimate aim being that pupils will feel willing and able to continue studying languages beyond key stage 2.
The Languages Angels scheme is continuously updated and reviewed annually, creating a dynamic programme of study that will be clearly outlined in both long-term and short-term planning. This will ensure that the foreign language knowledge of our pupils progresses within each academic year and is extended year upon year throughout the primary phase and, in so doing, will always be relevant and in line with meeting or exceeding national DfE requirements.
The four key language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing will be taught and all necessary grammar will be covered in an age-appropriate way across the primary phase. This will enable pupils to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas. In addition, the children will be taught how to look up and research language they are unsure of and they will have a bank of reference materials to help them with their spoken and written tasks going forward.
A range of different media are used to engage different types of learners and help with understanding and retention of vocabulary. This is includes the use of songs, finger rhymes, signs (including Makaton), role plays, craft skills, picture cards, online resources, French picture books, videos and interactive computer games.
Language teaching is progressive. Units increase in level of challenge, stretch and linguistic and grammatical complexity as pupils move from Early Learning units through Intermediate units and into the most challenging Progressive units at the end of KS2. Units in each subsequent level of the teaching type categories require more knowledge and application of skills than the previous teaching type. Activities contain progressively more text (both in English and the foreign language being studied) and lessons will have more content as the children become more confident and ambitious with the foreign language they are learning.
Children learn questions and common phrases as chunks of language, alongside early units focussing on noun and article level. As learning progresses, they learn how to substitute nouns, verbs or adjectives to change meaning, and gradually learn how to deconstruct learnt phrases so they can create their own short and then longer phrases. By the time pupils reach progressive units in year 5-6 they will be exposed to much longer text and will be encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. They will be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and are encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications.
Pupils will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their foreign language learning journey through the primary phase. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate.
Pupils will have a solid foundation in the pillars of progression in French – Vocabulary, grammar and phonics; they will have the building blocks to develop in the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. They will be confident using a range of grammatical terms, be able to use a bilingual dictionary, and also understand a little of French culture and geography, as well as awareness of other French speaking countries, including former colonies which will deepen their understanding of the world.
Teaching of French grammar is an opportunity to deepen children’s understanding of linguistic structures in English and other home language. Realisation that letters make different sounds in other languages is an opportunity for children to reconsider the phonics they have learnt in English. Topics including healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, European geography, creatures living in different habitats, and telling the time, linking up with learning in other areas of the curriculum. Children learn about the French customs for celebrating festivals of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Candlemas, Lent and other cultural events .
Celebrating the Epithany with the French tradition of la Galette des Rois
Liaison with Secondary School
We are very fortunate to have close links with the Sacred Heart Language College languages department. We are now using the same French Physical Phonics programme to support pupils’ progression in the necessary phonics skills for successful listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. We enjoy a mutually beneficial programme of visits by Year 10 Sacred Heart teachers and pupils to work with year 5-6 pupils. As well as ensuring that we provide children with the necessary skills and vocabulary which helps with progress at secondary level, we are also discussing with Sacred Heart how we can offer useful pupil assessment data on transition. As a member of ALL (Association for Language Learning) we will also have the opportunity of being part of the Harrow Language Hub which will shortly be set up to improve transition in Harrow.
Students from Sacred Heart leading French lessons in Year 5
Strengths of French at St Teresa’s:
- As we have a specialist teacher, we can ensure regular weekly lessons for 45 minutes in year 5 & 6 and 30 minutes in year 3 & 4.
- Our French lessons are varied as it focuses on specialist teaching based on Language Angels scheme of work, but uses a wide range of resources and materials to engage different learners, including songs, videos, schemes of work, authentic French books, online gaming assessment tool, interactive resources from Language Angels and the French Institute’s Primary French project.
- Grammar is taught to link and support English grammar learning.
- Phonics are included in every lesson so that children learn the dexterity of using different phonetic systems.
- Question of the week, to give children opportunities to reinforce learning outside of lesson time.
- Excellent partnership with Sacred Heart Language College with programme of visits by their senior pupils working with Year 5 & 6 classes.
Francophonie – children learn from year 3 about different parts of the world where French is spoken including post-colonial Africa.
In Year 5 & 6, we study African poems which lead to discussing ethnicity and identity.
Our lessons include the celebration of the many different languages spoken by pupils, and the opportunity to compare and contrast home languages with French and English.