At Westgate Primary School all children, including SEN and disadvantaged learn the following concepts through studying different language based topics throughout the school:
- Development of speech and communication skills so children can explain their ideas and articulate their opinions, clearly with accurate pronunciation.
- Ability to actively listen to spoken language and to respond to and show their understanding.
- Read carefully and show understanding of words and phrases.
- Children to write clearly and accurately for a range of context and purposes.
- Reading – Fluency and comprehension
- Writing grammatically correct phrases and sentences
By connecting our British Values through the teaching of languages, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps inform decisions that will shape our future, for example, mutual respect as children understand the importance and acceptance of different cultures and beliefs.
In Key Stage one, we ensure that the children are exposed to French and other languages and cultures through song, stories and games, and by sharing their home languages. This unstructured approach prepares them well to follow the National Curriculum from Year 3, in which there is clear progression in one language. (French) In KS1 the children learn simple words, for example, colours, days of the week and body parts, and this connects with KS2 as a precursor to learning simple phrases.
In KS2, languages are a curriculum requirement, and children have one 45 minute session of French each week. The programme of study for KS2 languages sets out a range of requirements and a level of intercultural understanding which should be achieved by the end of Year 6, and the following is an outline of how that progression through the school is delivered and represented in the books.
Throughout the school in language lessons, there are many opportunities to celebrate other cultures and traditions, especially from those countries represented in our school community. We learn that language is key in understanding and appreciating how people from other countries live.
In Year 3, children develop their understanding of language acquisition mainly through learning and writing vocabulary. The concept of gender in languages (masculine and feminine nouns) is introduced with a focus to develop accurate pronunciation and intonation using a scheme called 'Physical French Phonics'. Their understanding is embedded through the use of songs, stories and using finger puppets for conversations in French.
In Year 4, connecting to the word level work from Year 3, the children progress to full sentences in spoken and written work. This is supported by the use of a writing frame or a list of prompts. Some basic grammar rules, such as the 'colour comes after the noun' and 'adjectives have to agree' are embedded at this stage and children are challenged to extend their sentences using a greater range of vocabulary. Children learn to express their opinions at this stage, for example, conducting a survey of their class mates. This is carried out completely in the target language. Throughout the year children are developing a greater ability to write complex sentences.
In Year 5 we learn to use a bilingual dictionary effectively. This builds on children’s knowledge of manipulation of nouns and adjectives in Years 3 and 4 and gives them more freedom in reading and writing where they are challenged to build on and develop their enjoyment of using new vocabulary. Wherever possible, we use the CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) nature of this type of learning, for example, extending their knowledge of the Romans via the medium of French Language. In Year 5, we also learn some strategies for 'reading for gist'. By the end of the year children can write a complex sentence which justifies their opinions.
In Year 6, the previous learning is connected with a heavy focus on grammar in preparation for transition to KS3. Where previously children were able to be adventurous with nouns and adjectives using the bilingual dictionary with the basic sentence structure including verbs, prepositions and determiners was scaffolded for them, they are now given the tools to build these sentences without support. The children start by learning terminology which will be useful for KS3, regardless of the language being learned, ie: infinitives/subject pronouns/conjugation. They develop this further through learning how to conjugate regular verbs, and move onto irregular verbs in the present tense. The children add prepositions and learn to create the negative form. When the children have mastered these, they move onto writing a letter, poem or paragraph using all of their new skills.
All these skills are learnt through a range of creative and enjoyable tasks, with the aim of creating a love of learning a language so the children are ready to flourish when they reach secondary school