At Bledington Primary School, French is taught to all pupils across the school.
As a staff, we strongly believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.
As well as the joy of being able to communicate in another language, quality language learning is hugely advantageous to many areas of the primary curriculum.
Research repeatedly shows that language learning brings benefits to children's literacy and critical thinking skills. It helps grow self-confidence and broadens children's horizons, encouraging them to understand and celebrate their own cultures and those of others. Additionally, language learning provides a medium for cross-curricular links and reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.
Throughout their time at Bledington, children will be taught to listen, speak, read and write in French. They will amass a range of high-frequency vocabulary, grammatical understanding and phonetic knowledge. Children will also learn about France and French-speaking countries around the world and enjoy a range of enrichment opportunities to embed their learning.
At Bledington Primary School we aim to:
• give children a positive, enthusiastic attitude to Primary Languages learning within a secure and supportive environment
• develop the children’s understanding and awareness of other cultures
• foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils
• stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity
• support oracy and literacy, and develop speaking and listening, and presentation and performance skills
• develop children’s awareness of the structures of languages, and the similarities and differences between different languages
• help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences
• lay the foundations for future language study by pupils.
At Bledington Primary School, we follow the statutory requirements of The National Curriculum Programme of Study and children in KS2 are assessed according to the Attainment Targets at the end of each unit of learning.
Unusually for a primary school, we are able to offer all pupils in EYFS and KS1, as well as KS2, an hour of timetabled language learning each week with a specialist Primary Foreign Languages teacher. There are also opportunities throughout the week to practise and embed learning via our Languages Ambassador and French Friday activities.
The Bledington Languages Skills Progression Grid, The Programme of Study and The KS2 Languages Framework are all referred to in the planning of detailed, progressive teaching and learning throughout the school. French teaching and learning in Owls and Puffins classes is carefully planned to complement the EYFS and KS1 curriculum, whilst at the same time, preparing children for the statutory KS2 Languages curriculum in Year 3. In KS2 the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are practised, alongside the explicit teaching of phonics, vocabulary and grammar. Wherever possible, France and French-speaking countries are referenced in units of work, giving teaching and learning an exciting extra dimension.
Song and performance are important elements of language learning in primary schools and each class learns a termly song which is practised daily through the Languages Ambassador scheme and performed to the school during assembly time and other celebrations.
Primary Languages teaching at Bledington Primary School is fully inclusive. No child is excluded by reason of a learning difficulty, or because they have English as an additional language. SEND and EAL children are actively encouraged to participate fully in French lessons with the necessary support. Language learning activities are planned to encourage the full and active participation of all pupils. Work is differentiated as appropriate to the needs of individual children. Pairs and groups for collaborative work may be made up in different ways, depending on the task. More able learners are deliberately exposed to a wider range of vocabulary and structures and are encouraged to include these in their work.
Each classroom has its own French display area where key unit vocabulary and examples of children’s work are displayed and celebrated. Children are also encouraged to use French routinely around school for greetings and pleasantries.
Enrichment opportunities for language learning are provided as often as possible. Some recent examples include the setting up of a French café in the summer term where pupils are encouraged to order and serve entirely in French, the European Day of Languages, celebration of French and Francophone festivals eg. la Chandeleur and Mardi Gras and an after-school French Puppet Theatre Club. Assemblies on aspects of French and Francophone culture are presented on a termly basis.
At Bledington Primary School children are taught to:
• develop resilience in language learning as well as enjoyment of it through a challenging scheme of work
• acquire language learning strategies for memorisation and retrieval as well as for listening, reading and understanding
• develop the skill of how to use a bi-lingual dictionary to understand unfamiliar language
• manipulate language to speak or write sentences creatively using prior knowledge of grammar and key features; with and without a dictionary
• have a sound grasp of the key sounds of the French language and their corresponding graphemes and be able to apply this knowledge when speaking, listening and reading aloud
• recognise some of the language patterns of French and how these differ from or are similar to English
• appreciate songs, stories and rhymes
• have a deeper understanding of cultural differences and similarities.
As a result of our French teaching at Bledington Primary School, pupils demonstrate substantial progress in learning French and meet the targets of the National Curriculum KS2 Programme of Study for Languages.
In 2022 we were delighted to receive the Linguamarque Bronze Award which recognises commitment to and excellence in the teaching and learning of Foreign Languages in primary schools.
Our pupils become confident, curious, competent linguists who go on to approach language learning at KS3 with a positive attitude and a set of essential skills that will enable them to succeed in secondary school and beyond.
Through the teaching and learning of French, as well as their linguistic achievements, our children demonstrate increased empathy, especially towards those who might not have English as a first language, and have an awareness of different countries and their cultures.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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