Our French Vision:
To develop a range of vocabulary, a knowledge of French phonemes and an understanding of basic grammar in order to be able to communicate practically, and with enjoyment in French by reading, writing, listening and speaking.
“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.” NC MFL
These are the first lines of the purpose of study for Modern Foreign Languages in the National Curriculum. This is particularly important in our school as most of our pupils live in a culturally non-diverse community. It is important for our pupils to see and hear “difference” and be excited and engaged with it. We see language learning as a vital skill in our globalised world and seek to equip our pupils to engage with it. An open and outward looking attitude enables communication and demonstrates our core British values of acceptance, respect and tolerance.
To be able to read, write and speak we need to recognise and understand the phonemes and graphemes of the language. We learn to read and write in English using our Little Wandle phonics scheme in Early Years and Year 1.
When we learn another language, such as French, it is equally as important to learn the new phonemes and graphemes of that language. For example, in French the grapheme “eu” makes a sound (phoneme) similar to the sound that in English we represent with the grapheme “er”. The grapheme “ch” makes the sound “sh”.
Our pupils have fun in their French lessons learning this new phoneme/grapheme correspondence.
At St Helen’s we have chosen to study French and it is our intention that by the end of KS2, pupils will have an understanding of spoken and written French and will be developing confidence to have conversations in the target language using improving pronunciation. We intend that pupils will develop an understanding of how people’s lives differ in other countries and will be engaged and ready to continue their language learning at secondary school.
At St Helen’s the pupils, from Y1 to Y6, have weekly French lessons taught by their class teacher. The school uses the Rigolo scheme of work to support the teaching and learning of French, alongside resources created by class teachers. We teach through topics and incorporate a variety of techniques in our French lessons, including games, songs and rhymes, role play and stories.
In line with the National Curriculum, pupils are 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.
In KS1, we focus on speaking and listening and the children join in with songs and rhymes and listen to simple French stories with actions.
In KS2, children build on these foundations by using what they know to engage in conversation as they use sentences and phrases to describe people, places and things. Children read and write in French, starting with simple sentences in Y3 and extending to paragraphs by the end of Y6.
At St Helen’s, pupils will have a developing understanding of French vocabulary and grammar and will be given regular opportunities to practice and reinforce these skills. We will measure the impact of our French curriculum by talking to the pupils about their learning, looking at their books and monitoring planning.