MFL - Intent, Implementation and Impact
Purpose of study
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.”
-The National Curriculum in England: Key stages 1 and 2 Framework Document. September 2013
Children at Gothic Mede start learning French in year 3. The first language of the vast majority of pupils in the school is English with 7 children in the school having the following first languages: Polish, Romanian, Lithuania, Punjabi.
At GMA we believe that the learning of a language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills, including key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. The children’s knowledge of how language works will be developed and extended. Lessons will enable pupils to make substantial progress in one language. The linguistic skills gained will assist and lay foundations for further language learning. They provide pupils with the confidence and independence to explore and be able to attempt manipulation of the structure of language. Learning another language gives children a new and broader perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.
In MFL at Gothic Mede Academy we intend to foster children’s curiosity with communication, travel and leisure. We aim to provide them with linguistic opportunities in order to equip them with a strong aural, verbal and written understanding of French in order to enable them to pursue worldwide careers and links with the French speaking world.
Communicating through practical activities enhances children’s memory, self-confidence and life skills in different contexts leading to greater cross-cultural understanding and an appreciation of diversity.
In order to keep up with the latest developments in language teaching, we are a member of ALL (Association for Language Learning).
Implementation of MFL
Since September 2014, the National Curriculum has made learning a language compulsory in KS2. At GMA, all children in KS2 learn French. Lessons are delivered by either the class teacher or the cover supervisor for 40 minutes per week. Additional language learning activities are accessed through Arts around the World Week; European Languages Day; cross curricular languages such as Singing French (year 3 music unit); exposure to Latin (History unit on Romans); singing assemblies; and French club.
The subject is managed by the MFL subject lead (Lisa Oestreicher). To ensure the language skills of staff are developed and sustained the school are members of the Primary Languages Network. PLN provide all the materials, resources and support sound files and activities to enable the school to ensure progression in language learning across the four core skills and also the DfE 12 Attainment Targets.
To promote an active learning of languages a range of teaching methods are implemented to ensure that the children are developing their linguistic skills through listening, speaking, reading and writing in order to be secondary ready. Activities can consist of actions, rhymes, stories, song, drama, grammar focus, video clips, air writing, sentence structure, book making and many more creative ways to extend, embed and combine language skills.
We recognise that in order for children to be able to correctly pronounce, read and spell French words, they need to be aware of phonetic differences in French. To achieve this, we use kinaesthetic and visual prompts to help children split words into phonemes.
Assessment is via informal observation during class time and use of Concept Clouds and Puzzle it Out assessment resources at the end of each unit.
All key stage 2 children use French exercise books to keep a cohesive record of their work and to enable better tracking of progress.
Impact of MFL
Children at Gothic Mede love learning French and are very keen to practise role play scenarios. As they become more familiar with French we see them becoming more confident in their linguistic expression and more creative in their use of language. Children from all backgrounds including SEND, show good progress in oral fluency and aural understanding, In addition to improving their communication in French, we have also noticed that children are highly motivated to bring their experiences of French in the wider world into the classroom, for example showing photos of their holidays in French speaking countries; talking about conversations that they have had at home using French with family and friends. French club was oversubscribed and feedback was extremely positive. Parents' comments have highlighted how much their children are enjoying learning French. During lockdown, engagement with French lessons online was strong.
The introduction of a new scheme of work in June 2021 is already starting to show improvement in embedded language learning and increased confidence in children’s use of language and willingness to read and write in French. Our focus is firmly on securing the building blocks of language (phonics, grammar and vocabulary) and children’s verbal and written work shows improved competence in all attainment target areas.
Impact of MFL can be seen through the Puzzle it Outs, work in books and displays around the school as well as examples of children's work on our website.