At Beechwood School, we teach French. Learning a second language will also offer pupils the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and globalisation.
Through language teaching at Beechwood School we aim to develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating.
We teach one language throughout the school, starting in Reception, to ensure pupils develop a solid understanding with which to build on in Key Stage Three. We intend that all pupils become life-long learners of language. As a school, we recognise the importance of learning a foreign language in order to improve pupils’ opportunities in later life, both culturally and economically.
We believe that learning an additional language can support pupils in exploring and developing their first language. This can support pupils in understanding diversity (both locally and globally) and broaden pupils’ knowledge of their own, and others’ cultures – celebrating difference. Our curriculum is progressive, inclusive and builds upon prior learning.
It ensures that pupils are able to meet and exceed the objectives and aims outlined in the National Curriculum. The curriculum design has opportunities to regularly revisit and revise content to ensure that it becomes embedded. It has been adapted and developed based on up-to-date research carried out on the delivery of languages. Content has been sequenced in small steps to ensure pupils can handle and commit learning to long-term memory.
In preparation for acquiring deeper understanding of a foreign language, considering the three pillars of phonics, vocabulary and grammar, we begin exposing and at times immersing pupils in early language learning, through high frequency words, in reception and Key Stage one. This ensures that pupils have a good recognition of the French sounds/phonemes before entering Key Stage two. This will be delivered through the use of songs, rhymes and simple, familiar stories. Content is selected to ensure that all phonemes needing to be learnt in key stage two, have been heard and said by pupils (without graphical representations). This will include learning how to recognise and say simple salutations, days of the week, three animals (dog, spider, panther), months, colours and numbers to ten (covering these, ensures that pupils have heard and practised pronouncing all twenty-six French phonemes).
In Key Stage Two, pupils build on previous learning by developing a deeper knowledge of the three pillars to language learning, where they learn to recognise, say and write french phonemes, learn broader vocabulary and begin to understand and apply grammatical rules. This will now be delivered in a timetabled weekly language lesson. Pupils will learn phonemes with a progression route clearly mapped out across key stage two. The curriculum aims to broaden vocabulary, focusing on high frequency language that builds over key stage two, including areas such as: food, animals, the body, clothing, weather and family. Pupils will develop their understanding of grammar progressively across the key stage, starting with understanding gender of nouns and adjectives, then moving to broaden basic grammar rules, including sentences incorporating verbs, first and third person, conjunctions and prepositions. By year six, pupils will be able to apply their learning more independently in readiness for key stage three. This will be developed through providing opportunities to apply language in different contexts and situations, whilst being scaffolded through the use of dictionaries and language prompts.
Pupils will be explicitly taught these aspects through four modalities of listening, speaking, reading and writing. These modalities are taught in the same sequence to ensure pupils have the underpinning spoken language that will enable reading and writing (including spelling, using learnt phonemes). Pupils will be taught to understand a foreign language through listening and reading, whilst knowing how to produce language and respond through speaking and writing.
Language will also be acquired and applied through songs, rhymes and stories, which have been mapped across Key Stage two. These are progressive and build upon the learning outlined in the curriculum.
We believe that inter-cultural understanding is essential in raising aspirations and pupils’ motivation to learning a language. We also believe that teaching the cultural aspects of France, provides an additional platform to identify, debate, compare and contrast beliefs and values, such as those outlined in the British Values agenda. Learning about social traditions, such as traditional stories and festivals/celebrations, and daily life provides an opportunity to celebrate culture and diversity. These cultural aspects of learning are carefully mapped across all year groups within the school. The delivery of these aspects, is planned into lessons, enrichment days and other elements of the school day, such as assemblies.
The curriculum has been adapted to use cross curricular links which can be used to enhance the learning of a foreign language and provide further opportunity to revisit and revise content from language lessons. Links include teaching pupils about francophone countries in geography, science (such as naming animals and scientists) French artists in art, sport in physical education and spelling rules, such as cognates in English and comprehension in reading. Languages will also be used to support pupils in developing their mathematical knowledge and skills, such as simple counting in Key Stage One, working with money and naming shapes in Key Stage Two. These links have been carefully identified and mapped across the school’s curriculum, ensuring teachers can draw on them when appropriate.