And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8
Through the teachings of Jesus, all can flourish spiritually, emotionally and academically throughout life, living out love and justice for all. Our Christian values of love, justice, compassion, wisdom, forgiveness and friendship underpin the life of the school community and impact on our daily lives. Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School strives to provide the best possible education for our children. We aim for excellence within our happy, secure school where each individual’s achievements are valued and celebrated. By using a holistic approach, we will provide a curriculum that offers a diverse and challenging environment to inspire and motivate every child in our care.
At Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School, we have chosen French as our Modern Foreign Language with an introduction to Spanish and Italian at the end of Year 6. We strive to stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about languages as they provide a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It also helps them to develop communication skills, including key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. We enable our children to be courageous (not afraid of making mistakes) in their attitude to learning, to be empowered to work both independently and collaboratively, to understand the impact their learning has had on them so far and be inspired to keep learning. It allows them to use their brain in new and exciting ways, giving them a sense of achievement and pride in the acquisition of new skills.
We teach French from Year 1 upwards (from Reception in January 2023). We believe that children enjoy learning to speak another language and that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired. Our intention of the French curriculum is that children are taught to develop an interest in learning other languages in a way that is interactive, stimulating, enjoyable, lively and engaging. Our MFL curriculum is designed to progressively develop children’s skills in languages. Each section is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulative knowledge.
At Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School, the long-term plan is designed to be closely aligned to the National Curriculum and to enable all children to make “substantial progress in one language.” The children experience a variety of skills including singing, speaking, reading, listening, writing and drawing. As they progress, they will develop a bank of vocabulary that can then be used in a wider variety of situations. Lessons are part of the normal school curriculum. Children are taught French weekly for 35 minutes in Year 1 (Reception from January 2023) to Year 4 and 40 minutes for Year 5 and Year 6 by a specialist native teacher.
When children start learning French in Key Stage 1, the emphasis is on speaking and listening, using games, songs and practical activities. We aim to motivate children and help them remember more through repetition of new vocabulary and structures in a variety of fun contexts, both creatively and practically. Children enjoy listening to familiar stories read in French and like the opportunity to take part in paired speaking and listening activities, including role play. We develop the potential of songs - using rhythm, catchy tunes and repetitive choruses to get pupils used to the new words. As they continue through Key Stage 2, we build on these foundations by introducing them to more phonics and written language and encouraging them to express themselves in writing, learning some basic French grammar and learning how to use a dictionary to check the spelling and gender of words and/or meaning.
New vocabulary is supported by visual, oral and kinaesthetic cues to help children who have differing learning styles. Regular repetition and reinforcement are essential for children to become confident in French. Practical activities, songs and games are used to help improve memory and recall. Children periodically revisit previous content using their “cahier de français” (French notebook) that is passed through the years, with the songs/rhymes repertoire and word mats/ knowledge organisers. The French teacher takes the opportunity to make cross-curricular links in the classroom (in R.E, geography, English, maths and history.) Wherever possible, instructions are given in French to expose the children to the language as much as possible and in day-to-day contexts. Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School is in regular contact with a primary school in France, near Toulouse.
We also use a complementary tool, the website: Linguafun.eu. It is an online resource used in class and at home, aimed to support, complement and reinforce memorisation and French knowledge.
From January 2023, we are organising a French after school club where interested families can enrol their children to enable the use of the language more creatively and spontaneously.
We support our pupils to build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills, assessed informally during the lessons using a variety of strategies such as book scrutinies, games and attitudes towards their work. The children’s understanding of a particular concept is shown through self-marking (traffic light: green/orange/red) on the learning objective (Can I…?) They are given the time to reflect and evaluate their ideas, in line with the school’s marking policy. Children acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics relating to themselves and their everyday experiences. They are encouraged and supported to develop their speaking and listening skills through conversational work, singing activities and games. As confidence and skill grows over the years, children record their work through pictures, captions and sentences. In Key Stage 2, we also discuss features of the language, such as pronunciation of sounds, word order and accents. This knowledge of how languages work provides a useful basis for the study of any foreign language at Key Stage 3 learning and gives them a better understanding of their own language.
We also aim to develop their awareness of cultural differences, giving them an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. This is to foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The skills of learning a new language are transferable, they will enable our children to access foreign languages in their future lives, whether for travel, study or in the international workplace.