Thornham St.James Primary School
Foreign Languages Policy
Since 2014 it has been a statutory requirement to teach a modern foreign language at Key Stage 2. From improving literacy skills, to developing self-esteem and widening cultural awareness, introducing a language at an early age has many benefits.
At Thornham St.James we teach a modern foreign language to all the children through school (including KS1) for several reasons:
- The learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for pupils.
- There is good evidence that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language is acquired and the learning becomes deeper and longer lasting.
- We also believe that it is a good idea to introduce a new language to children when they are at primary school, as they tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development.
- It is widely believed that the early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other languages later in life.
- The learning of a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for the reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.
At the time of writing, French remains the foreign language taught across school. This should be a useful foundation for the children when they move to secondary school. It is also the language in which staff either have relative expertise, more confidence in or greater experience of.
Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of learning a modern foreign language in Thornham St.James are:
- To foster an interest in learning other languages.
- To introduce young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun.
- To make young children aware that language has structure, and that the structure differs from one language to another.
- To help children develop their awareness and interest of cultural differences in other countries.
- To develop confidence in speaking, listening, reading and writing in another language.
- To lay the foundations for future study.
We teach French to children in Years 3,4, 5 and 6 for 30 minutes a week. This can be arranged in one session per week, over several short sessions during the week or blocked into longer periods of time. In KS1, children are introduced to French through short sessions over the school year.
The class teacher is responsible for delivering the language to the class with support from the co-ordinator, members of staff with expertise in this area and the local authority advisor.
French is the foreign language that we teach in our school.
The curriculum that we follow is based on the guidance given in the National Curriculum Programme of Study for KS2 and the 2 published schemes: La Jolie Ronde (KS1) and LCP Primary French (KS2).
Pupils should be taught to:
- Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
- Explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
- Engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help
- Speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
- Develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
- Present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
- Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
- Broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
- Write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
- Describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
- Understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
- The class teacher can introduce activities in the foreign language to the whole class, a group, pairs or individuals as deemed appropriate. It is usually more practical to introduce new material to the whole class.
- Lessons may include games, songs, drama, story telling, role-play and active participation to encourage active use and enjoyment of the language.
- The main emphasis should be on speaking and listening. Reading and writing should be included with greater frequency as the children advance through KS2.
- Where appropriate and practicable, teachers use the foreign language during the normal school day e.g. greetings, days, dates, the weather, praise etc. Repetition is valuable.
- Teachers may choose to relate the foreign language to other areas of the curriculum where there is a natural link.
We build children’s confidence through constant praise for any contribution they make in the foreign language, however tentative.
At our school we teach a foreign language to all children, whatever their ability. A foreign language forms part of the school curriculum to provide a broad and balanced education to all children.
Through our foreign language teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs. We enable pupils to have access to the full range of activities involved in learning a modern foreign language.
At this moment we informally assess the children in order to ensure that they make good progress in this subject.
Monitoring and review
The Modern Foreign Language co-coordinator is responsible for monitoring the standard of the children’s work and the quality of teaching in French. The MFL co-ordinator is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of French, for being informed about current developments in the subject, and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school.
We are continually reviewing resources in our school to be able to teach French.
Resources are kept in classroom areas and include schemes of work, books, flashcards, CDs, games, dictionaries and photocopiable worksheets.
The co-ordinator will monitor and add to resources as required.
Although there is a certain element of expertise on the staff, most staff are not confident to teach French extensively, but all are enthusiastic and agree with the general principles. The co-ordinator will attend training and support meetings to keep abreast of current developments and report back to staff as required. Whole staff training will be arranged as needed.