French at Bolton
Subject Lead: Kate Walsh
Monitoring Governor: Neil Austin
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
In our school we teach a foreign language to all children as part of the normal school curriculum. We do this for several reasons. Firstly, we believe that many children really enjoy learning to speak another language. Secondly, we also believe that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired. We also believe that it is a good idea to introduce a new language to children when they are at primary school, as they tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. It is widely believed that the early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other foreign languages later in life.
Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of learning a modern foreign language in primary school are:
We teach a foreign language to children in Key Stage 2 for one hour a week. A subject specialist teaches the foreign language – Kate Walsh who also teaches in many of our cluster schools. The content is taught through a topic approach on a two year cycle. The main skill areas are listening, speaking, reading and writing.
French is the modern foreign language that we teach in our school.
The curriculum that we follow is based on the guidance given in the revised National Curriculum, using mainly the Primary Languages Network program for French. We teach the children to know and understand how to:
Teaching and learning style
We use a variety of techniques to encourage the children to have an active engagement in the modern foreign language: these include games, role-play and songs. We also use links to the internet to demonstrate the foreign language and DVDs featuring only native speakers, in order to expose the children to more than one voice in the foreign language. These show French children living ordinary lives at home and at school in France. We frequently use mime and images to accompany new vocabulary in the foreign language, as this serves to demonstrate the foreign language without the need for translation. We emphasise the listening and speaking skills over the reading and writing skills. We also use a multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching, i.e. we try to introduce a physical element into some of the games, as we believe that this serves to reinforce memory. We make the lessons as entertaining and enjoyable as possible, as we realise that this approach serves to develop a positive attitude in the children to the learning of modern foreign languages. We build children’s confidence through constant praise for any contribution they make in the foreign language, however tentative.
Teaching a modern foreign language to children with special educational needs
At our school we teach a modern foreign language to all children, whatever their ability. A modern foreign language forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our modern foreign language teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs.
When progress falls significantly outside the expected range, the child may have special educational needs. Our assessment process looks at a range of factors – classroom organisation, teaching materials, teaching style, and differentiation – so that we can take some additional or different action to enable the child to learn more effectively. This ensures that our teaching is matched to the child’s needs.
Intervention through SEN Support will lead to the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for children with special educational needs. The IEP may include, as appropriate, specific targets relating to the modern foreign language.
We enable pupils to have access to the full range of activities involved in learning a modern foreign language. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom, for example, a playground game in a modern foreign language, we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.
We assess the children in order to ensure that they make good progress in this subject. We do this informally during the lessons, and also by regular testing to evaluate what the children have learned. (Usually at the end of each unit studied.) We use ‘Puzzle it Out’ where all 4 skill areas are tested (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Pupils are then graded as Towards, Expected or Greater Depth. Parents are informed termly about results, progress and attitude to learning. There are no national key stage tests, but we do award the children certificates showing that they have reached a certain level of competence in French or showing that their effort requires recognition.
Monitoring and review
We monitor teaching and learning in the same way as we do all the other courses that we teach in the school. The headteacher also reports to the governing body on the progress of children in French in the same way as in any other subject. The governors’ have the responsibility of monitoring the success of the teaching in French.
Subject Lead: Kate Walsh / Monitoring Governor: Neil Austin
Evaluation, Monitoring and Review: This policy is a working document and updated every two years. This policy was reviewed in the summer 2020 and is due for another review in the summer term 2022