French Curriculum Overview
At Thornton Primary, we believe that French should be taught in a way that inspires our children to have a love of learning a new language alongside a deeper understanding of the English language. We want pupils to develop the confidence to communicate in French for practical purposes, using both written and spoken French. Through the learning of another language, we also aim to foster our children’s curiosity about the world around them and the cultures of other people.
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.
The intent is that all pupils will develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. Learning a second language will also offer pupils the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences. The intention is that they will be working towards becoming life-long language learners.
At Thornton Primary, we utilise Language Angels scheme of work for the teaching and learning of French. This enables our pupils to meet the end of key stage 2 attainment targets in the National Curriculum. Although there are no Key Stage 1 attainment targets, we believe that the learning of a new language can be introduced from a young age and therefore we it is taught in the EYFS and Key Stage 1. The curriculum has been carefully mapped to ensure progression of skills and knowledge to be taught within each year group and how these skills develop to ensure that attainment targets are securely met by the end of Key Stage 2.
All classes will have access to a very high-quality foreign languages curriculum using the Language Angels scheme of work and resources. This will progressively develop pupil skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned weekly lessons in French. Children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes - building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language.
Language Angels are categorised by ‘Teaching Type’ to make it easier for teachers to choose units that will offer the appropriate level of challenge and stretch for the classes they are teaching. Early Language units are entry level units and are most appropriate for KS1 and Year 3 pupils or pupils with little or no previous foreign language learning. Intermediate units increase the level of challenge by increasing the amount and complexity (including foreign language grammar concepts) of the foreign language presented to pupils. Intermediate units are suitable for Year 4-5 pupils or pupils with embedded basic knowledge of the foreign language. Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are the most challenging units and are suitable for Year 6 pupils or pupils with a good understanding of the basics of the language they are learning. Grouping units into these Teaching Type categories ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children will be taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they will have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Children will build on previous knowledge gradually as their foreign language lessons continue to recycle, revise and consolidate previously learnt language whilst building on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Knowledge and awareness of required and appropriate grammar concepts will be taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge.
Each teaching unit is divided into 6 fully planned lessons.
- Each unit and lesson will have clearly defined objectives and aims.
- Each lesson will incorporate interactive whiteboard materials to include ample speaking and listening tasks within a lesson.
- Lessons will incorporate challenge sections and desk-based activities that will be offered will three levels of stretch and differentiation. These may be sent home as homework if not completed in class.
- Reading and writing activities will be offered in all units. Some extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers can also be catered for.
- Every unit will include a grammar concept which will increase in complexity as pupils move from Early Language units, through Intermediate units and into Progressive units.
- Extending writing activities are provided to ensure that pupils are recalling previously learnt language and, by reusing it, will be able to recall it and use it with greater ease and accuracy. These tasks will help to link units together and show that pupils are retaining and recalling the language taught with increased fluency and ease.
Units are progressive within themselves as subsequent lessons within a unit build on the language and knowledge taught in previous lessons. As pupils progress though the lessons in a unit they will build their knowledge and develop the complexity of the language they use. We think of the progression within the 6 lessons in a unit as ‘language Lego’. We provide blocks of language knowledge and, over the course of a 6-week unit, encourage pupils to build more complex and sophisticated language structures with their blocks of language knowledge.
Differentiated guidance is available for every lesson to ensure that lessons can be accessed and enjoyed by all. In order to help our children retain their French learning, we encourage French into the classroom environment regularly.
The Language Angels scheme of work links French to other subject areas of the National Curriculum, including Science, Geography and Technology. Basic greetings and vocabulary, such as colours, numbers and animals, are taught in the EYFS and Key stage one. This knowledge is built upon as children move into Key Stage two, looking at various themes such as Animals and their habitats, Weather and Transport. There is a strong thread linked to PSHE throughout the scheme that encourages our children to make comparisons with themselves and their own way of life with the that of the French culture.
The Language Angels scheme of work includes a comprehensive list of vocabulary that are to be taught in each unit. Our children are encouraged to use read, write and speak the French vocabulary taught in each unit.
The Language Angels scheme of work and related knowledge organisers include key learning objectives that are used to assess children’s learning. These are used throughout each unit as ongoing teacher assessment and is recorded on O’Track, reporting if children are “on track” or “not on track”. Additional to this, we return to a unit at a later date through spaced assessment. This may involve a quiz to recall vocabulary or a reading and writing task to assess skills.
As well as each subsequent lesson within a unit being progressive, the teaching type organisation of Language Angels units also directs, drives and guarantees progressive learning and challenge. 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. 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.
Early Learning units will start at basic noun and article level and will teach pupils how to formulate short phrases. By the time pupils reach Progressive units they will be exposed to much longer text and will be encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much 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.