“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. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.” National Curriculum in England, Languages Programme of Study (DfE 2013)
Our experience of the world is increasingly global and the aim of our foreign languages curriculum is to promote a curiosity about communication and an eagerness to engage with those whose language and cultures are different from our own. Learning another language is the first step towards broadening our understanding of how others think and developing a tolerance of difference.
At Little Sutton we teach a broad and balanced curriculum which goes beyond the statutory requirement to study a language throughout KS2. For one term a year through KS1, the children are taught Spanish by a specialist teacher. From an early age, the children begin to develop their language learning skills through songs and stories. Listening carefully, imitating new sounds and being able to identify differences and similarities with their own language are all crucial to the success of further language development.
In KS2, the children study French, which is delivered in hourly, weekly lessons by a specialist teacher. Our curriculum covers the four core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Grammatical terminology which the children encounter in English is continually reinforced in their language lessons. Having consolidated phonics in their own language, the children are now ready to explore a very different phonic system, which enables them to understand the spoken language and to pronounce new vocabulary themselves. In French lessons, children are encouraged to reflect upon their own languages and their experiences of Spanish in KS1 in order to deepen their understanding of vocabulary and grammar.
Alongside their language study, the curriculum also exploits opportunities to study French culture, through exposure to authentic literature, music, art and food. We look at the main festivals in the French calendar and explore the importance of the French Revolution in determining the characteristics of French thought. Children will leave Little Sutton equipped with the skills needed to progress in whichever language they are offered at secondary school.
By the end of Year Six we aim for all pupils 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