Building confidence in learning languages

“There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning.”

1 Corinthians 14:10

Organisation of French

Children are taught French from Year 1 to Year 6 for 30 minutes per week in Year 1 and 45-60 minutes per week in Years 2-6 by a secondary-trained French specialist. The bespoke SoW ensures that children have the opportunity to achieve the attainment targets set out in the National Curriculum 2014. The Long-Term Scheme of Work is categorised by language content, concepts/skills, songs/stories and other (cultural traditions, festivals, knowledge about France and other Francophonie countries).

Topics have been chosen to be age appropriate and to link with or follow up from the whole school curriculum. Topic vocabulary is taught to enable children to be creative with their ideas and to gain or reinforce topic knowledge however it is core phrases which repeat throughout the Scheme of Work which the children are expected to have greater memorable knowledge of by the end of KS2. Topics are also chosen to support the Christian ethos of our school, paying particular attention to traditions and festivals celebrated in French speaking countries and comparing them to our own. Topics are set over two half terms to allow the topic and resources to be fully exploited and to allow time for intercultural understanding to woven throughout the Scheme of Work.

Children are encouraged to participate in independent study outside of school by using Linguascope and children in Years 5 & 6 can help themselves to weekly French homework sheets.

By Year 6, children have the confidence to ask and answer questions and to listen to pick out key language from a sentence. This is normally further enhanced by a day trip to Arras in the Autumn term where children are able to interact with market stall holders and also supports their English and History learning.

How the components of the curriculum are constructed

The headline components of our languages curriculum are listening, speaking, reading and writing however as many children continue to learn a different language at KS3, it is important that children learn how to learn any language and to build resilience in dealing with unfamiliar language structures, grammar concepts and vocabulary. Language learning skills also include:

  • Ability to use context to deduce meaning
  • Ability to look for cognates and other links (including mother tongue) to deduce meaning
  • Resilience – not being afraid to make mistakes and to bounce back after making them
  • Dictionary skills
  • Phonics of French and the sound-spelling link, with comparisons to English phonics
  • Ability to use phonic language to read aloud accurately and confidently
  • Ability to adapt a model of known language to create something new and often personal
  • Desire to support and be polite to other learners
  • Desire and confidence to “have a go” and get the message across
  • Ability to memorise and recall vocabulary

“As French link Governor I can say that the depth and breadth of the teaching of French at Eltham is surprising given the age of some of the children learning.
It not only gives them a good grounding in a foreign language but is taught in such a way as to also help them understand other cultures and histories”

 Rupert Osborn, Chair of Governors & French Subject Link


We are focussed towards an end product of meeting each End of Key Stage Expectation as defined by the National Curriculum 2014.  We do this by teaching:

  • Gender of nouns
  • Definite and indefinite articles
  • High-frequency verb forms (regular and irregular)
  • High-frequency language such as greetings, colours, days, numbers, months
  • Adjectival agreement and position
  • Opinions
  • Conjugations and intensifiers
  • Phonics

Click here for the French Curriculum overview

Click here to see Progression in French


French Lessons (Years 1-6)

Year 1

Lessons are designed to give children their first introduction to foreign language learning, encouraging the children to make connections to English and any other languages spoken at home. Children join in with well-known songs and stories in French have fun learning the new phonics sounds and have their first experience of masculine and feminine nouns.

Year 2

Children start taking their first steps with writing sentences in French and giving opinions. The children use a word bank to help extend their sentences beyond what has already been taught in the lesson. They also do several surveys across the year to find out what their friends think about certain items, for example; favourite musical instrument or what farm animal do they like. In the Summer term, the Jack and the Beanstalk story links beautifully with their learning in Science about Growth.


“Madame Edwards has given our children a wonderful love for learning French. The lessons are engaging and fun. Our children have particularly enjoyed musical aspects of the lessons as well as rewriting well know stories into French to bring home and read with the family. It’s very special to see the teaching at school inspiring them to take their French outside of the classroom and actively want to learn more. They love reciting the date in French in the mornings and have confidence to practise speaking French on holiday!”

Parent with children in Years 1, 3 & 5


Year 3

Year 3 children sharing their own versions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with our Reception classes.

The main language intention for children in Year 3 in the Autumn term is to be able to say the date, so they use “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” story as a springboard to learn the days of the week and continue to learn the months and numbers to 31. After Christmas, the children are then able to answer questions about today’s date, a date a few days ago and a date a few days in the future. This routine then takes place at the beginning of every French lesson until the end of Year 6.

Which crêpe topping do you like and why?





Religious festivals are quite a feature in Year 3 too as they learn about La Chandeleur (Candlemas) on 2nd February and get to enjoy tasting crêpes with different toppings and then go on to learn about Mardi Gras and how it is celebrated around the world.

Year 4

Description of daily routine including time connectives.

The children begin to learn how to talk about themselves, their families and their daily lives. They use key points in the story of Sleeping Beauty to describe emotions, personality traits and their daily routine. Children practise speaking through repeating the story script and joining in songs. The children further develop their dictionary skills with both book and online versions to add extra adjectives to their word banks.

Children use their language detective skills to unpick the meaning of words in longer reading texts and start to learn how to handle formal listening tasks. They also love describing members of their family.

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages opens every door along the way.”

Frank Smith, Psycholinguist



Year 5

The main theme in Year 5 is “Where I live” as they get creative with designing a dream home and are able to say what there is and is not in their town. They also use art and real websites to explore the architecture and different types of property around France.  Children are encouraged to use their folders when writing to reuse language they have learnt before. This enables the children to be far more expressive with their own ideas.








A special project also takes places linking our school with the Astrid Lindgren Primary School in Leverkusen, Germany. The children write to each other in English about their favourite things, then get to introduce themselves to each other via video link. The children learn that they have far more in common with the German school children that first thought and get to share some of the differences too. For example, children in Germany don’t have to wear school uniform!


Year 6

The date in 3 tenses continues at the beginning of Year 6, but most children can now recall this information from memory. Describing the weather becomes a new part of the lesson routine. The weather is also a feature when describing what you wear. Working with the word order of nouns and adjectives, plus keeping an eye on the gender of nouns so as to add the appropriate endings to the adjectives is also a challenge for year 6 learners. The children also explore verb conjugation and get to grips with matching the correct ending of the verb according to which personal pronoun is being used. All a great introduction to the children’s future language learning as they head off to Year 7 and beyond.


Stop Press!

Some of our children’s work has been published in the Lightbulb Languages publication, “Write Away!”. Please click here for issue 13 and issue 16.


Day trip to Arras

Our Year 6 children made a very early start on the 7th December as we prepared to travel to France for the day. We set off for Folkestone to board the Eurotunnel train to Calais.

All aboard!

We then travelled to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial visitor centre. We learnt about some of the artefacts in the museum and why and how the memorial itself was built. The children also had the opportunity to walk through some preserved allied and enemy trenches.

We stopped and walked around the impressive statue at Vimy Ridge.






Our next stop was the Carrière Wellington (Wellington Quarry), named after the tunnellers from New Zealand, who made the tunnels safe in order to house over 25,000 troops prior to the Battle of Arras on 9th April 1917.

Some of the artefacts found left behind by allied troops in the Wellington Quarry.


The children were split into groups and given a guided tour of the quarry. It was unbelievable to think that so many soldiers were living in this rather unusual place before going into battle.

“I really like the Wellington Quarry because I learnt about WW1 and it was cool being underground.”

– Warren


Our final stop was to the ‘Marché de Noël’ where the children were in a great hurry to find the crêpe and waffle stall. Armed with their vocab booklet and what they’ve learnt in class, the children impressed the stall holders with their manners and questions – all in French!!

“I really enjoyed going around the Christmas Market as there were so many cool things to look at and buy.”

– Theo

We all arrived back at school tired, but full of the most wonderful memories of our French adventure.

“A trip I’ll always remember!”

– Alexandra



Onatti Theatre Production

Children in Years 4 to 6 were treated to a visit from Onatti Productions in the summer term. The performance was performed in French and some English, although it is aimed for beginner learners of the language, so all the children were very engaged and had great fun watching the actors switch from character to character as they encountered a variety of funny situations.

French Day!!

Children across the whole school enjoyed French Day and took part in all kinds of activities including Eiffel Tower building, boules, la marelle (hopscotch counting up to 10), recreating art work in the style of Ben Heine with Parisian landmarks and many more. Lunch was served with a French theme, French bunting was hung around the playground and children were invited to wear their French themed outfits for the day. All of the activities were linked to French stories or books about France.