French Learning Pathway at St John's
At St John’s school, our French curriculum intends for children in KS2 to develop a strong interest in learning another language that is both stimulating and enriching. We aim to encourage curiosity and courage; children can take risks in their learning whilst feeling supported.
As a school community, we value our cultural diversity, encouraging children to share experiences and knowledge of languages spoken at home. Through the learning of French, we provide children with the confidence to learn another language and foster an interest in other cultures.
Every term, the learning is focused on speaking, listening, learning vocabulary and ultimately constructing sentences. Teachers aim to speak as much as possible in French when giving instructions to make lessons fully immersive. At St John’s our intent is that children are well prepared to embrace learning French and other languages as they begin life in secondary schools.
French lessons are taught weekly in KS2. All classes have access to a high-quality French curriculum based on the Language Angels scheme of work. In addition, authentic French sources and experiences are included to enhance the learning experience: songs, making traditional foods, videos and audio recordings.
Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge, organised around age-appropriate topics and themes. Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge are taught to ensure pupils learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for French. Pupils are also encouraged to draw comparisons with the language they may know from home, focusing on the different rules of grammar and etiquette. In so doing, all pupils develop an interest in and respect for languages and cultures.
French lessons are planned around three levels of units: Early Language, Intermediate and Progressive. The units are introduced when the pupils are ready to move on. Units, where possible, are linked to class topics and cross-curricular themes. Children are gradually taught how to listen to and read longer pieces of text. There are ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write in French. Our school Learning Pathway shows precisely how the knowledge and skills in French are acquired across the year groups.
At St. John’s, learning French can be thought of as using ‘Language Lego’ – whereby blocks of language knowledge are built up over a six-week unit. Pupils are gradually introduced to more sophisticated language structures; we start with a noun and add on descriptive words and actions. During the last lesson of each term, pupils spend time revising before completing an end of unit test. Pupils are able to refer back to their exercise books to help them with the test and have the opportunity to display their new skills- the emphasis is on achievement and looking at how far the pupils have come.
Pupils will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their French journey through KS2. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated.
In Years 3 and 4, the Early Learning units start at a basic noun and article level and teach pupils how to formulate short phrases. By the time pupils reach Year 6, the progressive units introduce pupils to much longer texts and pupils are encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. They will be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and are encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications.
Teachers assess pupil learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the end of each six-week teaching unit. This information is used by teachers to inform their future planning.
Pupils will also gain a general interest in language learning and will have fostered a deeper understanding of their own cultures and those of others. Through enrichment activities, such as running a French café or listening to the best of French songs and poetry, the children will develop their cultural capital.