Intention

Pupils at Hexham Middle School learn French as their Modern Foreign Language (MFL). As a humanities-based subject it falls under a family of subjects on the curriculum with a vision to ‘Explore the past, consider the present and discover the future’. 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.

There is an intentional teaching and learning sequence in the subject as we see this helps 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.

Implementation

A fundamental approach to language learning is based around collaborative learning. 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 4 years at Hexham Middle School pupils will be exposed to the three main tenses: past, 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 with classroom activities as well as their written outcomes.

Impact

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 teacher are developing the pupil as a linguist. After each topic, we carry out a 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 be a reflection of what knowledge they have retained and are able to recall, along with the application of their knowledge and skills. Pupils will undertake a summative assessment in February. 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.

Sequence of Learning

Throughout pupils’ studies of French at Hexham Middle School they will follow a sequence of learning that supports and guides their learning.

Autumn Term

Greetings and basic introductions

Spring Term

  • Weather
  • All about me

Summer Term

Food and drink

Autumn Term

  • My family and me
  • House and home

Spring Term

Body parts and monsters

Summer Term

La Francophonie

Autumn Term

School, clothing and uniform.

Spring Term

  • Hobbies
  • Sports and healthy lifestyle

Summer Term

In my town and local area

Autumn Term

  • Media
  • Free time and daily routine

Spring Term

  • Food and drink

Summer Term

  • Holidays
  • End of year revision