Building confidence in learning languages

Teaching French at Eltham Church of England

Children are taught French from Year 1 to Year 6 for between 45-60 minutes per week 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 literacy and creative curriculum topics of 1st and 2nd World Wars.

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

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

French Curriculum

Progression in French