Curriculum Leader

Mr C Armstrong


Pupils at Hexham Middle School learn French as their Modern Foreign Language (MFL). As a school our main aim is to lay the foundations for language learning. We believe that this is done with the development of communication skills, together with understanding of the structure of language. We also want pupils to understand that languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Furthermore, learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill. We believe that a high-quality languages education fosters pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the wider world.

We want pupils to be encouraged to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. We also aim to provide opportunities for pupils to communicate for practical purposes and to learn new ways of thinking.

As developing linguists, we expect our pupils to gain knowledge and experience: to be able read, write and listen effectively and with increasing fluency as pupils develop their skills and understanding; to develop an appreciation for other countries and cultures; to understand grammar; and to be able to communicate effectively in French. More detailed information is set out in our Age-Related Expectations (AREs) document.

Lessons are designed to enable all pupils to succeed and achieve the aims of our ambitious curriculum. This also supports the process of unlocking pupils’ powerful knowledge and experience.

For more information on the units of study, see the Sequence of Learning section below.

Key Stage 2

By the end of Key Stage 2, pupils will have been given the opportunity 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

Key Stage 3

By the end of Year 8 pupils will have been given the opportunity to:

    • listen to a variety of forms of spoken language to obtain information and respond appropriately
    • transcribe words and short sentences that they hear with increasing accuracy
    • initiate and develop conversations, coping with unfamiliar language and unexpected responses, making use of important social conventions such as formal modes of address
    • express and develop ideas clearly and with increasing accuracy, both orally and in writing
    • speak coherently and confidently, with increasingly accurate pronunciation and intonation
    • read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material
    • read literary texts in the language [such as stories, songs, poems and letters] to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression and expand understanding of the language and culture
    • write prose using an increasingly wide range of grammar and vocabulary, write creatively to express their own ideas and opinions, and translate short written text accurately into the foreign language.


At HMS, we use evidence-informed teaching structures. Based on Rosenshine’s Principles, teachers implement our ’10 Elements of Great Teaching’.

A fundamental approach to language learning is based around the lesson design. We believe strongly in developing a supportive classroom environment where pupils work alongside each other to maximise progress. We strongly believe that this approach improves pupils’ understanding of their own learning. In their lessons pupils will explore the similarities and differences between French and English and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways. The teaching of grammar plays a fundamental role across all year groups. Throughout their four years at Hexham Middle School pupils will be exposed to the two tenses: present and future.

Within MFL lessons pupils are given the opportunity to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and creativity. Furthermore, pupils are expected to talk as much as they possibly can in French. We believe this immersion-style classroom accelerates learning for pupils and ultimately increases their confidence speaking the language that they are learning.

In lessons pupils are also questioned about their learning and encouraged to think deeper about what they are learning and why. We encourage all pupils to be self-reflective in their learning. Also, we place great emphasis on expanding their knowledge of subject-specific vocabulary. Pupils, in KS3, are tested regularly to check understanding and retention of words. Similarly, pupils are expected to take pride in their own learning, producing quality written and spoken artefacts. This will be demonstrated by their engagement in classroom activities as well as their written outcomes.

Lessons are structured using guiding principles:

    • Retrieval
    • Why now?
    • Learn Together
    • Guided Practice
    • Independent Practice
    • Review

The MFL teaching approach ensures that pupils know more, can do more, and remember more over time through spaced retrieval and connecting opportunities.

Lessons will feature:

    • Memory tasks
    • Links and connections: Phonics focus
    • Presentation of new vocabulary
    • Opportunities to listen, speak, read and write in French
    • Skillful questioning
    • ‘I do, we do, you do’ modelling
    • Dive Deeper opportunities
    • Regular assessment
    • Self-reflection/assessment


To gauge whether our curriculum is delivering the goods for our pupils, we use on-going formative assessment, in the form of teacher feedback and pupil responses. Throughout the year, teachers will use the subject’s age-related expectations to structure feedback to pupils, ensuring that the actions taken by the teacher are developing the pupil as a linguist. At the end of each term, pupils complete a ‘review to remember’ activity before completing their short end of topic summative assessment; we do not however expect these to be inherently high stakes in nature. A pupil’s performance in these assessments will reflect what knowledge they have retained and are able to recall, along with the application of their knowledge and skills. This data helps to inform next steps for potential intervention. Teachers will review a pupil’s performance to help identify areas of specific improvement. The combination of formative and summative assessment helps inform a child’s ‘working at grade’, which will be reported to parents and carers. At the end of each year, pupils will complete a terminal assessment, designed to build upon the interim assessment, applying knowledge and skills acquired in the second half of the year.

Assessment and Feedback

How we know that we are having an impact

Continual assessment in MFL lessons allows teachers to shape the learning for their classes.

All MFL lessons revisit prior learning and feature targeted questioning, quizzing and modelled approaches allowing teachers to assess pupils’ understanding. Pupils are expected to self-assess throughout lessons to address misconceptions.

Assessments include:

    • Do now quizzes – to identify gaps in knowledge and promote retention.
    • Regular Summative Assessments – pupils complete assessments to promote retention and application of learning
    • Review to Remember – pupils engage in sessions to review prior learning and check the security of their learning.
    • Regular Vocabulary tests (KS3) – KS3 pupils are regularly tested on vocabulary that they learn.
    • Sentence Builders Homework – regular Sentence Builders homework ensures that pupils have exposure to vocabulary that they are learning outside of lessons.
    • TLFs – Written feedback given on targeted pieces of written work this will occur at least once per term.

At the start of blocks of learning, teachers assess pupils’ starting points so that subsequent learning can be adapted for the class.

Feedback is given throughout lessons through small step teaching. Pupils will use red pens to review their learning. Teachers provide feedback which pupils act upon to address gaps or to dive deeper.

Personal Development

    1. Health and wellbeing
    2. British Values
    3. Careers – Year 8 Webinar.
    4. Staying safe
    5. Developing character – We also want pupils to understand that languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Furthermore, learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill. We believe that a high-quality languages education fosters pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the wider world.
    6. Meaningful cultural experiences – Mandarin Club, Latin Club, themed lunches, Year 5 French café, KS3 French Trip, Language drop-in sessions.

Support at Home

French Curriculum Planning

MFL Events and Activities

Themed lunches

Theatre Sans Frontières.

Mandarin Club

Wider Reading and Useful Links


All learners with additional needs access a broad and rich classroom experience with a well-planned curriculum both within and beyond the classroom. Pupils with additional needs are enabled to achieve well by:

    • High quality planning, teaching and learning across the curriculum.
    • Adaptations made in teaching and learning to ensure all pupils succeed and learn well. 
    • Staff responding to learners’ needs and adapting teaching as a result. 
    • Teaching staff planning and delivering a wide range of high-quality interventions and support sessions. 
    • High-quality ‘Pupil Profiles’ which ensure staff know each child as an individual, including how to support their learning. 
    • Where appropriate, an ‘Individual Education Plan’ with bespoke and individualised targets is implemented, and regularly reviewed. 
    • For learners with an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)’, a wide range of individualised targets and support strategies are implemented in a multi-agency approach. 
    • Coordinating our ambitious support in school alongside a multi-agency approach to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential. 

As part of our implementation model – the ’10 Elements of Great Teaching’ – our teaching and support staff will enable pupils with additional needs to thrive by: 

    • Planning well-sequenced lessons which build progressively in small steps. 
    • Implementing the school’s lesson design principles so that teachers gradually handover the learning through guided and independent practice. 
    • Maintaining a calm, focused, inclusive and positive environment for learning in all classrooms. 
    • Implementing a wide range of strategies to empower pupils to remember more over time and to check that this is the case. 
    • Using metacognitive strategies to encourage self-regulation and to plan, monitor and evaluate learning. 
    • Delivering expectations and instructions clearly in small steps. 
    • Teaching subject-specific vocabulary (tier 3), alongside tier 2 vocabulary, and ensuring that it is used and retained. 
    • Using a wide range of teaching resources and materials to support all learners including visual and audio resources. 
    • Using high-quality modelling in lessons through the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach. 
    • Using a wide range of scaffolds to support learning including writing frames, planning structures, word processing. 
    • Providing high-quality worked examples which narrate the learning, steps and processes so that pupils develop their independence of learning. 
    • Using organisers such as ‘Knowledge Organisers’, diagrams, planning structures and writing frames to support pupils’ learning. 
    • Allowing pupils to record their ideas in a range of ways including, where necessary, by using online resources and visual/audio support. 
    • Providing word lists/vocabulary banks to support pupils’ access to learning. 
    • Using sentence stems to promote positive talk and discussion. 
    • Using flexible groupings in the classroom so that pupils can learn alongside and from each other. 
    • Implementing dyslexia-friendly approach to reading and writing tasks. 
    • Modelling thinking out loud strategies across the curriculum. 
    • Using a wide range of technologies including online resources, voice recording and visualisers to model worked examples.