At Throckley Primary School, we know that the study of a modern foreign language enhances children’s literacy, self-confidence and broader cultural understanding. Our ambition to embed language learning within our curriculum is born of the statutory commitment in the National Curriculum to give every child between the ages of 7 and 11 the opportunity to learn a new language. With over 220 million speakers internationally, French is the second most widely learnt language after English. French is also the second most widely taught language after English- the only two languages spoken on every continent. The importance of outstanding modern foreign language provision is embodied in our curriculum drivers:
Understanding our place in the world
Given that 60-70% of the world’s population is bilingual, acquiring another language is a crucial asset in the global economy, an advantage for finding a job with the many multinational companies, in a wide range of sectors: retailing, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc. Simultaneously, children gain a better perspective of their own country and locality, making comparisons and contrasts.
Aspiring to achieve
Learning French provides a satisfying, enjoyable and intellectually challenging experience for children in coping with a different linguistic medium. The study of a language involves the practice of observational and study skills, and committing to memory useful material for subsequent recall: essential skills for higher education.
Thanks to the development of computing and the Internet, we can improve and deepen our connections with the world, celebrate languages and the diversity of cultures and promote international and intercultural experiences. By taking children out of a pervasively English context, we ensure they can explore the life-style and culture of another land through the medium of its language.
Throughout their work in French, children encounter key concepts as they appreciate the work of significant people -artists, musicians, chefs- and learn their rich stories. Our key concepts at Throckley underpin and illustrate the purpose of studying French as teaching throughout the school draws upon an ever-evolving real-world context for its content. Children explore:
By valuing their place in a global community, children develop an international outlook and ambition for the future. The prospect of forging relations with Francophone economies such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, Rwanda, Benin, Burkina Faso, (growth above 5% GDP: IMF-2019) promotes prosperity. Just as important are the bonds we form via reading, travel, recreation and personal contacts.
Besides teaching the meaning of words and sentences (an awareness of language), learning a language promotes social interaction and fosters empathy towards the culture and people of a foreign country, by adjusting our thinking to different social conventions. This outlook champions goodwill and counters insularity and prejudice.
Learning a language enables us to forge positive change with the most powerful tool: communication between people. Success in industry and commerce depends increasingly on our willingness and ability to communicate with potential customers in their own language. More importantly, we ensure children become confident, global citizens, avert conflict and promote multilateral harmony.
The curriculum at Throckley aims to found progress throughout a child’s school career by developing a secure understanding of grammar, vocabulary and culture at the relevant stage. Insecure, superficial understanding prevents genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key stage transitions, amass damaging misconceptions, or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.
In French, children will learn to:
- read fluently;
- write imaginatively;
- speak confidently;
- and understand the culture of the countries in which the language is spoken.
We aim to ensure that children:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic 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;
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt;
- and discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the French language.
At Throckley Primary School, we follow the National Curriculum for French. The aims of which are outlined below:
Key Stage 2: Foreign Language
The teaching of a foreign language should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at Key Stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary. The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication.
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.