At Birchwood Primary School our languages curriculum fosters a lifelong love for language learning, an appreciation of different cultures and a respect for diversity. We believe that learning an additional language creates confident and successful learners, competent contributors to society and an awareness and respect for lives in different cultures and societies. Our curriculum covers the full National Curriculum. To enable our pupils to achieve this, our languages curriculum is designed using a progressive approach; developing skills progressively in listening, speaking, reading and writing French during Key Stage 2.
Our decision to select French over other modern and ancient languages was justified by the fact that it is mostly phonetic, one of the six official UN languages, and is spoken in 29 nations. Other influencing factors include having France as a neighbouring country and being aware that French, a Romance language, evolved from Latin. The English language has a notable Latin influence, and while French was the official language in the UK for about 300 years after the Norman Conquest in 1066, a significant percentage of the English vocabulary has French origins also. We believe these factors alongside our effective curriculum will ensure that our pupils have the crucial skills and foundations needed to be confident speakers in a second language and many will choose to develop into multilingual adults.
We have chosen to follow the Primary Languages Network as it builds skills and knowledge in Key stage 2 through a range of engaging activities. The programme and vocabulary have been edited with the support of our local high school to suit the needs of our pupils.
Our engaging curriculum is designed to help languages flourish. We have a staged progressive approach to teaching French using a well-structured model to ensure that substantial progress is made in French, preparing our pupils for the next stage of learning in Key Stage 3. In Year 6, children have the opportunity to begin to explore German. This allows them to make links between languages and them wider experience of languages as they prepare for high school.
At each stage or year of learning, children have opportunities for recall and retrieval, which they will then build on with new language knowledge.
The curriculum has been organised into the substantive knowledge, disciplinary knowledge and vocabulary. This creates our curriculum overview which allows and ensures that pupils are exposed to a clear progression of knowledge and skills and are given the opportunity to build upon their prior knowledge. Birchwood’s bespoke language curriculum reflect our pupils’ ambition and thirst for knowledge. This is because our French curriculum is designed so that pupils cover the logical sequence of their learning in depth which enables our pupils to do more, say more and remember more.
Our pupils and staff look forward to their language lessons which include many games and songs amongst the many acquisition activities that are provided and adapted.
Staff receive specific developmental training for the teaching of languages. Primary Languages Network also provides the opportunity for staff to upskill their own French in preparation for each half term’s unit as well as offering supportive resources to ensure that French is heard and modelled in a native tongue.
Our high-quality languages curriculum is carefully planned and structured to demonstrate progress. The language topics have been chosen to engage the children whilst ensuring that the National Curriculum aims are address and DFE attainment targets are covered. Our collaborative work on transition with The Polesworth School ensures that pupils build on their language skills and vocabulary.
We measure the impact of our languages curriculum through: pupil discussions about their learning; evidence in folders; monitoring and reflection against subject-specific skills defined in each year of study; children applying their knowledge of language to other areas of the curriculum; children applying their cultural understanding and tolerance across society and cultures.
When our pupils leave Birchwood Primary School, they will have developed the necessary vocabulary, knowledge and skills to build on their French language learning or transfer these if they choose to study further languages. They will be equipped with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.