Modern Foreign Languages

Aims and Objectives

“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.”  (NC 2014)

The aim of MFL teaching here at St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy is to provide a range of opportunities to support our pupils’ early development of the knowledge and skills necessary to become global citizens.  We want to enable our pupils to begin to appreciate the linguistic and cultural diversity of the world in which we live.

We believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.  It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening; it also extends their knowledge about how language works.

At St Mary’s, French has been selected as the principle foreign language to be taught as part of the curriculum.  This ensures coherence with other local primary schools and secures preparation for further study at secondary schools and beyond.  Furthermore, a wealth of varied and high-quality resources and training is available to support the teaching of French.  There is an expectation that pupils make substantial progress in this language.

The objectives of teaching French at St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy are for pupils to:

  • foster an openness to language learning
  • develop an appreciation of life and culture in another country
  • develop an understanding of the grammar of another language and be able to make connections with their own language
  • develop a secure phonic knowledge and an understanding of the rules of spelling and pronunciation to support reading and writing
  • have regular opportunities to practise reading and writing as well as speaking and listening
  • be exposed to a rich diet of authentic texts, songs and finger rhymes to enhance their cultural awareness
  • experience language learning embedded within the creative curriculum
  • make significant progress
  • feel confident and well prepared for further study of languages at High School

How the Subject is Planned

Teaching is planned according to the Programme of Study for KS2 Languages.  ‘Primary French Project’ resources. – endorsed by The Association for Language Learning (ALL), the Network for Languages and L’Institut Français du Royaume-Uni (IFRU)– form the spine of our planning for KS2, with a focus on linguistic progression.  This resource, combined with our MFL Progression Map and KS2 Long Term Plan ensure that pupils:

  • are constantly building on prior learning;
  • have a clear focus for new learning in each half term;
  • are exposed to a wide range of topics, where possible linked to the creative curriculum;
  • have opportunities to explore authentic texts, songs and finger rhymes

Support with planning is provided to class teachers by the Subject Leader as required.

A range of high quality, authentic, engaging and age-appropriate resources (including fiction and non-fiction texts, posters, classroom display materials, CDs, DVDs of traditional songs and dance) have been catalogued and are available for use throughout the school.  The school also has a class set of bilingual dictionaries.

We have a wealth of ICT resources including interactive whiteboards, flip-cameras, digital cameras and netbooks to support pupils’ language learning.

Foundation Stage and KS1

Although foreign language learning is not a statutory requirement in EYFS or KS1, frequent opportunities are provided to develop the children’s openness to and curiosity about language learning at an early age.  This includes responding to or repeating back a few familiar words and phrases such as simple greetings, basic instructions, colours and numbers to 10. Children will also listen to short stories and sing simple songs and finger rhymes in French. A number of native speaker resources are available to support teachers in providing this important foundation for language learning, tuning children’s ‘listening ears’ in to French sounds at an early age.


See KS2 Long Term Plan for overview of themes and topics covered in Key Stage Two.

Weekly lessons of 45 minutes should be timetabled.  Each lesson should follow this  format:

  • revisiting prior learning
  • introducing a small amount of new knowledge (vocabulary / grammar point / spelling rule / knowledge about the country)
  • opportunities to practise using the new knowledge – through whole class games or activities, group work, partner work or an individual activity
  • an opportunity for reflection and where appropriate, making a French journal entry.

Class teachers and teaching assistants will provide opportunities for the children to practise using their French on a regular basis for approximately 5 minutes a day.  They will often use a native-speaker resource, to help provide good and varied models of pronunciation for the children.

Record of Learning

In most lessons, children should be given the opportunity to apply their growing knowledge of French phonics and spelling rules to writing.  However, this is most likely to be on a whiteboard to encourage children to ‘have a go’ and get used to writing in French. Other evidence of French learning may be recorded by Class Language Ambassadors, for example using flip-cameras, cameras or I-pads.

Pupils will take a French exercise book with them through KS2. Once a half term, a piece of work will be included in the children’s book. This should be a piece of independent writing. This book will serve as evidence of the progress that pupils make as they move through the school: In Y3, we would expect to see some basic labelling of nouns, progressing to complex sentences by the end of Y6. Please refer to the progression map for full details.

Pupils will also use a section of their French books for ‘journaling’: eg when children have learnt a new grapheme phoneme correspondence or a new rule for spelling, pronunciation or grammar, they will be encouraged to make a record of this for future reference.

The Learning Environment

Classrooms will provide a stimulating and purposeful learning environment, including displays that include recently acquired knowledge.  These may include knowledge webs, phonics charts and spelling rules, key vocabulary and sentence structures.  Copies of authentic texts and resources are also recommended to be on display.

Marking, feedback and reporting

Children’s writing will be marked according to the whole school marking policy and assessed according to the progression map. Formative assessment should be used to guide the progress of individual pupils and inform future planning.  Teachers should review the progress of pupils in their class by cross-referencing the Progression Map on a termly basis. An assessment tool has been created by the Subject Leader, which can be used by class teachers on a termly basis to assess speaking and listening skills.  The Subject Leader will moderate these assessments in the Pentecost term. End of year assessments will be used to support transition and inform next steps for learning.


Staff are encouraged to develop cross-curricular links with French and other subjects to provide a relevant and meaningful curriculum for pupils.  Examples include:

  • Y3 making French pop-up books about Paris as part of Design Technology
  • Y4 learning about le Canal du Midi during their History topic about the canals and railways of Marple
  • Y5 cooking French mountain food eg tartiflette as part of Design Technology
  • Y6 learning about sporting events including the Tour de France linked to PE.

Links with France /Other Schools

Through our recent Carcassonne Project, a link has been established with a partner school ‘La Fontenille Génibrat’ near Toulouse.  Our aim is to foster and develop this link by exchanging videos, photos, cards and letters.  This link gives our pupils a sense of purpose for learning French and gives them an opportunity to compare their own experiences with those of French children.

Role of the Subject Leader

The Subject Leader is responsible for:

  • Taking the lead in policy development
  • Quality assuring French knowledge webs, resources and planning throughout the school
  • Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning of French throughout the school
  • Supporting colleagues with planning, teaching and assessing French where required, ensuring they receive the training and resources required
  • Monitoring pupils’ progress in French and advising the Senior Leadership Team on action needed
  • Purchasing and organising central resources for French
  • Keeping up-to-date with developments within the subject through research, CPD  and attendance of MFL co-ordinators meetings