Languages – French
At Andrews’ Endowed CE Primary School we strive to develop an interest in and thirst for learning other languages. We aim to introduce the learning of the French language and the understanding of its culture in enjoyable and stimulating ways whilst embedding the essential skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. Our children’s cultural experiences linked to our values are important. Our French curriculum endeavours to increase the, children’s ‘culture capital’ so that they are aware of similarities and differences between cultures.
Our French curriculum spans the full 7 years and incorporates topics and activities that provide our pupils with an inspiring experience of learning the French language, as well as a real insight into the lives of French speaking people. It offers the maximum opportunities to practise skills that will enable them to be successful language learners of the future.
By the end of KS2, we aim for our learners to be able to demonstrate a sound basis of understanding and skills which will set them up well for KS3 in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and dictionary use. They should have developed a high degree of language learning independence, through a sound knowledge of pronunciation and dictionary use, and a confidence to put their knowledge into action. They should also have gained an understanding of French culture and a greater awareness of what life is like for a child growing up in France.
Although there is no national entitlement to a foreign language in Foundation and KS1, we believe that early exposure to French has a beneficial and positive effect on the children’s learning. Children enter KS2 with an already well-developed awareness of how French sounds, of basic similarities and differences in French and English life, and with a range of basic vocabulary and skills which gives them confidence in their ability to progress further. In the Foundation Stage children listen to French stories, join in songs, play traditional games and watch follow an authentic French television series “Tchoupi”; just as they might if they were living in France.
Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2
As children progress into KS1, this authentic flavour continues, although learning becomes gradually more structured, with repetition, listening and speaking activities, games, miming, songs, and stories focussed on learning specific vocabulary, grammar and skills. Learning is mostly through speaking and listening, using puppets and soft toys to demonstrate new language. Towards the end of KS1 and into KS2 children begin to look at the words they are learning, spotting patterns, similarities and differences, ready for the greater emphasis on reading and writing that comes in KS2.
Key Stage 2
Our scheme of work is based on the guidance material in the 2014 Programme of Study and the KS2 National Framework for Languages. Learning activities include those of KS1 but also role play and conversation, writing and reading exercises, and dictionary use, as well as phonic recognition and pronunciation. Lessons are made as inspiring, interactive, entertaining and enjoyable as possible, in order to develop a positive attitude and an emotional connection from the children to their learning. Our school is committed to intercultural understanding, and our active link with our partner primary school in France (giving every pupil in KS2 a French pen-pal of their own) serves to make language learning a very real experience.
Throughout the school
We follow and replicate festivals and celebrations as a whole school throughout the year to give the children a chance to imagine being part of the real thing and come together to celebrate their learning of French as a whole school community. We have a number of duties, awards and initiatives in which pupils from all classes participate, and which are extended in complexity in older years. Examples include our “moniteurs du calendrier”, who keep the class date and weather board up to date, our “perroquet de la semaine” award for the pupil who has spoken the most French during the week, our “Chefs de Français” who lead some of our activities, gather class post for our link school and look out for potential “perroquets”, and our phonics dictionary challenge where pupils try to find interesting new words incorporating our phoneme/grapheme of the month.
Andrews’ Endowed is the proud recipient of the British Council International Schools Award! In our feedback we were praised for our international ethos through our contacts and activities with schools in other countries, most notably our link school in France. The British Council also remarked on our curriculum design which ensures “…pupils are engaged in global learning in a motivating and effective way…”. We plan to build on this with an exciting new link, established through our Diocese, with a school in Rwanda.