MFL - French
“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.”
Subject Coordinator: Mrs Claire Norton
Subject Link Governor: Barbra Dawson
Vision and INtent
Foreign language learning increases a child’s critical thinking skills, creativity and mental flexibility. Primary-aged children are very open and receptive to learning a language. At Cheadle Primary School, we support the learning of French for all Key Stage 2 pupils, of every ability and special learning need.
Speaking in another language enables children to feel a great sense of accomplishment and, it is widely accepted that, acquiring language skills early in their school life facilities the learning of other foreign languages in later education. Additionally, our school’s commitment to child development, through learning French, provides opportunities to nurture a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence, also enabling them to develop stronger interpersonal skills.
Through teaching French and promoting the early development of language competence, we aim to:
Foster the development of a positive attitude towards learning a new language.
Familiarise children with the sounds and written form of French.
Provide opportunities for children to understand how to communicate verbally and express themselves in written form in French.
Encourage children to use and apply their knowledge and understanding of French with growing confidence.
Develop a broader awareness of other cultures outside of the UK.
Enable children to acquire a sound basis for further study of languages at Key Stage 3 and beyond, with anticipation and enthusiasm.
My name is Mrs Norton and I am the Modern Foreign Languages (French) Subject Coordinator at Cheadle Primary School. This is the perfect subject for me to lead as I am thoroughly passionate about France - its language, culture, food, fashion, history and architecture. It is my responsibility to ensure that our French teaching engages and enthuses children, igniting a love of learning another language and providing them with the platform to take their learning further into academic and later life.
Curriculum and implementation
Our vision is to inspire and enthuse a curiosity for language in every child as a foundation for their role in our global world; fostering a curiosity and deepening their understanding of the wider world. Children are able to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, and to understand and respond to each other, both in speech and in writing. They communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read texts in the original language.
We encourage and motivate our pupils to:
Understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of sources.
Speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation.
Write for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt.
Discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in French.
We have an excellent scheme for teaching French that certainly engages the children in their language learning, with its interactive activities that meet our robust objectives for listening, speaking, reading and writing French. Our language curriculum delivers opportunities for learners to acquire new knowledge, build on prior understanding and develop skills to improve their fluency and understanding of French. Our staff are supported with detailed planning and assessment information so that the best quality language teaching can inspire and motivate children.
We strive to equip pupils with strategies for language learning that they can use in the future, such as studying other foreign languages, and engender a lifelong learning approach that can be applied to their life outside of the school community – going on holidays or even later in their chosen career.
Children hear the vocabulary being spoken by a native French speaker i.e. by someone whose spoken French is intrinsically linked to their life and culture. This provides teaching staff with the assurance that children can hear the language pronounced accurately and fluently.
After hearing the vocabulary for the lesson, the children are able to join in with speaking the language. Repeating the lesson vocabulary regularly, verbally, helps the language become more familiar.
Teaching staff can make use of the grammar and phoneme resources in their language teaching so that pupils acquire knowledge of phoneme and letter string sounds in French. Vocabulary and key language content is included in every lesson.
Once children are more confident with speaking and listening, and the vocabulary becomes more familiar to them, they feel more confident to write in the language. The scheme includes writing activities that consolidate spelling, grammar and sentence construction.
Our scheme of learning certainly delivers an exciting, engaging curriculum that is in line with the DfE’s Language Programmes of Study, which states that 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.
Core Knowledge and skills
Please click on the links below to see our subject progression documents for French.
Teachers assess pupils’ work on a continual basis in order to measure their attainment and progression in understanding. Self, peer and teacher assessment are tools which enable our teaching staff to complete our online assessment system, Otrack. The criteria for success and learning objectives are made clear to pupils, which enables them to evaluate their own progress in learning and linguistic attainment. Comprehensive assessment data informs lesson planning and can be used to identify any gaps in learning at an early stage. It also informs the reporting process that is made available to parents each year. Coherence of assessment across the school, in language teaching, is supported by discussion and consultation between staff, guided by myself as Subject Co-ordinator.
cultural capital and enrichment
Cultural capital enables the children to gain awareness, knowledge and competence which they certainly do in their language learning. Learning opportunities across the whole curriculum are extensive, moreover, language teaching has broader significance for learning - developing cultural appreciation for other countries so that our pupils can value, appreciate and participate in a wider global society.
Our children not only learn to read, write and speak another language, but we offer wider cultural experiences such as learning about the French national holiday - Bastille Day – which is celebrated each July. Learning a new skill is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing (the NHS initiative supported by the mental health charity, Mind) and is a super way for the children to learn a new skill – such as speaking in Italian as our Year 5 children did recently. We have children from a wealth of backgrounds in our diverse school and appreciation of other cultures and languages lies at the heart of our community.
Each year, every child in school has the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of a different country through a programme of activities that span the whole breadth of our primary curriculum. Our International Day event takes children of journeys of exploration and wonder across the Commonwealth. Our youngest children find out about animals native to Australia and recreate Aboriginal art; Moana-themed activities enable children to explore the culture of the remote, beautiful islands of Samoa and Tonga. Children cross continents and discover traditional village tales and crafts in Kenya, as well as the physical geography and religious festivals of India. Pupils also study the anti-apartheid revolutionary South African president, Nelson Mandela, and understand how plastic pollution is affecting our Commonwealth oceans. Our oldest children embark on a cultural journey from the Caribbean on board the SS Windrush. We include physical activities linked to The Commonwealth Games and the children all dress up in the colours of their country’s flag, or in traditional dress. A themed tasting and dinner menu rounds of this wonderful cultural experience.
What our pupils say
French scored a 10/10 rating with pupils because they, “love learning it.” Among their favourite activities were joining in with songs (Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes was a particular highlight) as well as learning numbers because the children also enjoyed doing this at home.
Isla enthused, “I really love French because it’s fun to learn new languages.”
Vidhi added, “We get to learn new languages and it’s fun to try and write in a different language.”
Kylah suggested, “I’d like to do more of it,” as a way to improve our language teaching.
Learning how to say what they liked to do, such as swimming or playing, was a favourite lesson. The children clearly enjoy speaking to each other in French, valuing the knowledge and skills they are learning and expressed how keen they were to take this understanding and apply it to real-life situations outside of the classroom.
Annie explained that, “If you go to France, you will know the language and be able to communicate with the people.”
Harper shared that, “The teachers make learning French fun.”
Ellie rated her French lessons very highly, “I enjoy French and it’s my favourite subject in school.”
Cody considered French a really valuable lesson, saying, “If you ever go to France, you can speak another language.” He discussed how important it might be for him in the future with a job or travelling abroad, to have the confidence to speak another language.
Learning to sing the French waiter song, with accurate pronunciation, was a definite favourite; probably because the character was a dreadful waiter and all the children enjoyed singing and taking part in the role play.
Having a choice of how to present their work was a real positive shared by our Year 6 pupils; whether it was writing about their family or, more creatively, drawing pictures of them.
Layla said, “I like how we learn the vocabulary and turn it into games.”
Ava liked the support that her peers gave her in French, “I like the games because if you get it wrong, someone is there to help you.”
Holly also liked the element of teamwork in her language lessons, “I like working in teams up at the board because it’s relaxed and enjoyable.”
If you would like to try some activities at home with your child, or have a go yourself at learning French, you might find these websites useful:
· The French Experiment – lessons, stories, language guide https://www.thefrenchexperiment.com/
· The Fable Cottage – listen to audio versions or watch the video of children’s stories being told in French (with an optional English translation). Some resources are free or you can join as a member https://www.thefablecottage.com/french
· BBC Bitesize https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/z39d7ty
· BBC Teach French KS2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/french-ks2-virtually-there-france/zjby8xs
· DuoLingo - Learn French for 5 minutes a day (free): https://www.duolingo.com/course/fr/en/Learn-French
· Learn French Cards. An app full of flashcards aimed at pre-schoolers https://apps.apple.com/us/app/french-flashcards-for-kids-by-eflashapps/id393319814
· Comptines et Chansons des Tintounis - YouTube playlist of cute animated children’s nursery rhymes https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8Mfzkj8FPJsGsrrk2K7SE6QiRVbq9QzC&app=desktop
· Interactive games to play at home with a choice of topics https://www.french-games.net/
· French learning games – Digital Dialects https://www.digitaldialects.com/French.htm
· Primary Games Arena - interactive vocabulary games https://primarygamesarena.com/Subjects/French