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French (MFL)

Our French Curriculum

MFL is the study of modern foreign languages so they can be spoken, written and understood. 

At Scarcliffe Primary School, we have elected to teach French as our modern foreign language.

Our Definition of French

Who leads French and what is their vision?

The French leader at our school is Sarah Wigley - who is also a higher-level teaching assistant.  For further information about the French curriculum, or for other support, she can be contacted via email.

The subject leader's vision for French is that children enjoy the challenge of learning to speak, listen to and understand a new language.  We want children to understand the importance of learning a second language and about other cultures.  We hope to inspire children to want to learn languages beyond primary school and hope that many go on to learn languages beyond Key Stage 4.  The leader would like lessons to be interactive, fun and engaging. 

Links to our core abilities

We have identified seven core abilities that we hope to develop through our curriculum offer.  

  • Questioning and curiosity
  • Critical thinking and open-mindedness
  • Perseverance and resilience
  • Communication
  • Independence
  • Team work
  • Creativity 

We can develop many of these core abilities through effective French teaching, but we particularly focus on developing communication and independence

French Curriculum Intent

French was selected for two main reasons.  Firstly, we know that the main secondary school our pupils move on to (The Bolsover School) offers French in Key Stage 3 and 4.  We also have staff expertise in French. 

The curriculum intent for French is split into four areas:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking 

Learning is progressive across school in each of these areas.  The progression of this learning is detailed below:

SPS French Curriculum Intent V5(PDF)

How is French Implemented?

At Scarcliffe, although French only needs to be taught at Key Stage 2, we make sure all classes get some exposure to learning some of the basics.  We understand that young children can pick up foreign languages quickly and plan to take advantage of this.  We also know that children are often very interested in learning a language and are proud when they are able to use simple greetings or learn numbers, for example.  

In Class 1, learning is based mainly around speaking and listening.  Some reading activities also involve recognising some key vocabulary.  There is no set lesson for French in Class 1.  Instead, activities are built in to the school day - for example, children might be expected to respond to the register in French or might be greeted in the morning using common greetings.  Teachers model speaking the language and the children listen and respond. 

In Class 2, a 30-minute lesson is built into the timetable.  In these lessons, children learn through songs and have flashcard activities. There are no books to record French learning.  Instead, written activities are completed on mini-whiteboards, so children feel more confident to have a go and make mistakes.  

In upper school (Class 3 and 4), the subject leader delivers a weekly French lesson.  Planning for a unit of work is adapted from the Salut scheme of work.  A typical unit is structured in the following way:

  • Introduction of new vocabulary (listening, reading and speaking)
  • Games and activities to embed learning through listening, reading, writing and speaking. 
  • Songs and stories to put the vocabulary in context.
  • Written activities - such as writing simple sentences and using vocabulary to add labels. 
  • Role-play activities - such as shopping or meeting someone. 
  • Conducting surveys in French.  
  • End of unit 'Can you Still?' retrieval activities. 

In upper school, a typical French lesson would:

  • Start with a retrieval activity (Can you Still?) to revisit prior learning (written or oral)
  • Introduction of new vocabulary for the week. 
  • Activity to embed the vocabulary in context. 
  • Question and answer activity with peers. 
  • An activity to apply their learning - such as a written activity or survey. 
  • Interactive games and reflection.  

Our Curriculum Overview

Below are the topics that are covered each term.  Short and medium term planning is held in school for each unit.  

SPS French Curriculum Overview (PDF)

Knowledge Organisers in French

Knowledge organisers are in place in Class 3 and 4.  They are shared at the start of a unit and highlight the key learning children are expected to retain from the unit.  'Can you Still?' activities provide opportunities for the key information on previous and current knowledge organisers to be revisited. 

Below is an example of a 'Can you Still?' activity from a French lesson. 

Children are expected to retain more and more as they move through school.  Children have explained that these retrieval activities 'make them think hard to remember their learning'.

Monitoring the impact of teaching in French

We understand the importance of teaching high quality French lessons to all children and leaders monitor the impact of teaching in a variety of ways. 

Children's responses to retrieval activities give a clear indication of how effective teaching has been. Pupil-led book studies are completed in order to allow the subject leader to understand children's views about French.  It also provides a chance for leaders to monitor how frequently lessons are delivered and how much children are able to remember.  Informal discussions with teachers also provide the leader with important information about the delivery of their subject.   

All monitoring activities provide information about how closely teachers are following the intent document and the curriculum overview. 

Assessment information is gathered by class teachers in line with the assessment policy.  Teachers record which children are working very securely within the subject and which children are not secure.  All other children are assumed to be working at the expected level.  This assessment information means that staff can support and challenge groups as necessary. 

Assessment Data

Staff assess children against the curriculum intent statements each year. 

Information is centred around determining which children are not yet at the expected standard and who are very secure within the expected standard.  This provides us with information to support and challenge individuals and informs our future teaching.   

Useful Weblinks

Here are some great websites to support learning in French:

French at home

We don't set homework for French, however a number of children choose to continue their learning at home.  Typically, this is done through websites, such as BBC Bitesize and Duolingo.