The French curriculum at Thakeham Primary School seeks to complement the wider curriculum, where possible, whilst enabling all pupils to develop key language learning skills, as set out by the national curriculum. In Key Stage 2 our pupils will foster an interest in learning another language and begin to explore their own cultural identities as well as those from French-speaking countries around the world.
Drawing on up to date research from NCELP (The National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy is an initiative funded by the Department for Education and co-directed by The University of York and The Cam Academy Trust), our French curriculum embeds the three pillars of phonics, vocabulary and grammar as building blocks to acquire a solid foundation in:
They will learn to understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of sources and grow in confidence to speak fluently in French. They will have opportunities to write at varying lengths, for different purposes and audiences and use the grammatical structures that they have learnt. The children will create and work from a curriculum that engenders an enthusiasm for learning new skills and content, whilst embedding past learning to ensure it is purposeful and builds a secure foundation on which children can confidently manipulate their existing knowledge, in order to support new learning. They will begin to read with confidence and independence, and feel secure in making predictions about new or unknown language.
French is taught by a French-speaking specialist teacher to Key Stage 2 in one hour lessons each week. Building in complexity throughout the four years, our curriculum allows for many opportunities for pupils to revisit prior learning, developing their knowledge and understanding as their language learning journey progresses. Planting the seed of grammatical ideas in years 3 & 4 allows pupils to begin to understand some of the similarities and differences between English and French, with ideas being revisited in later units and grammatical concepts being explored in more depth. Drawing on the three pillars of NCELP (phonics, grammar and vocabulary), pupils quickly move from the foundations of single words to sentence level within all units, incorporating key grammatical concepts such as adjective agreements, negatives, basic verbs and gender. An emphasis is placed on high frequency verbs and structures to support students in being able to apply their knowledge across concepts, recycling learning and establishing a foundation for future language learning. The children learn through a wide range of activities including conversations, singing and games and use resources such as French story books, French songs and short video excerpts. They show understanding by joining in and responding to the stimuli. They engage in conversations, asking and answering questions. They express opinions using a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics, ensuring a correct pronunciation and intonation.
As language proficiency develops, pupils have the opportunity to appreciate further songs, poems and a range of authentic materials from the target culture, allowing them to develop their cultural understanding of French speaking countries as well as providing a stimulus for pupils’ own language to develop.
Each term of learning ends with a specific ‘End Product’ or ‘Fab Finish’ which is designed to allow the children to demonstrate the cumulative progress and knowledge gained over the term. This may focus on a particular skill such as speaking or writing. Examples include; writing a French postcard home from travels around France for year 3 and 4 or writing a French art critique for year 5 and 6. Year 3 and 4 extend their intercultural awareness through Paris research, displaying their understanding with an informative poster. Year 5 and 6 develop their understanding of ‘la Francophonie’ through an exploration of Martinique and its history. Where it can further enhance the learning experience for the children, cross curricular skills are also used, such as creating art in the style of Matisse or using speaking and drama skills to present a runway for Paris Fashion Week!
As pupils develop their confidence, knowledge and understanding of French, they will be able to produce longer spoken utterances with increasing accuracy as well as more complex written responses, applying their knowledge of sentence structure, adjectives, connectives and intensifiers as well as opinions and justifications to personalise their response. Pupils will be encouraged to make links between the units, to recap prior learning and to recognise the wide ranging application of the language building blocks they are learning to express their ideas.
By the time pupils leave Thakeham, they will have acquired basic skills in the learning of a foreign language, creating a solid foundation upon which to pursue further language study at Key Stage 3 and fostering a love of languages and an appreciation of other cultures.
The opportunity to assess pupil learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and against the 12 DfE Languages Programme of Study for Key Stage 2 attainment targets takes place at the end of each unit of work through the use of ongoing teacher assessment, role play and short informal summative activities such as listening and reading tasks.
The French curriculum at Thakeham Primary School has as its overarching impact, to instil within its pupils both a love of language learning and the confidence to continue their language study at Key Stage 3 and beyond.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Pupil discussions and interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Governor monitoring with our subject link governor.
- Annual reporting and tracking of standards across the curriculum.
- Photo evidence of the pupils’ practical learning.
- Foundation Assessments at the end of a unit of work.