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Modern Foreign Languages


Intent: Our intent is to develop students’ communication skills and broaden their linguistic horizons academically. We aim to inspire, engage and challenge students to communicate spontaneously and develop their self-efficacy in preparation for the GCSE exam but also for using languages for life.  In the current climate of falling MFL uptake nationally and due to our rural location, our aim is to break down some of the barriers to language learning and develop our students’ cultural capital to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries.

 Our philosophy is ‘Less is more’ with a focus on systematic recycling through effective sequencing of material to ensure retention.  Nevertheless, we aim to ensure that the KS3 curriculum is as broad and as rich as possible, with a balance between language acquisition and cultural knowledge.

Cross-curricular links with English and literacy are strong.  Both subjects have a skills based approach and follow a similar sequential building of skills for success with a continuation of KS2 grammatical terminology.  In Year 7 the study of Francophone countries links with locations in Geography and Art through other cultures.  We also aim to develop enrichment opportunities with Music, using other languages (including sign language) in the formation of a choir.

We continue to develop pen pal correspondence with three French schools and hope to recommence language/cultural trips to France.

Implementation: The three main bodies of knowledge are Phonics, Vocabulary and Grammatical/Communicative Functions.  However, tightly topic-based vocabulary is not at the fore of our schemes but, rather, an overt recognition that grammar is one of the key markers of progression, as well as increasing breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge.  In KS3 we cover a clear range of Grammatical/Communicative Functions, which are based on the real world but also linked to the GCSE Exams.

KS3 French

Our pedagogy in KS3 is to ‘flood’ students with as much spoken target language as possible as Listening is the most crucial skill for survival in a target language country and our brain is ‘wired’ to learn languages through aural input.  This target language is carefully selected and adapted to avoid confusion and demotivation – moving between a comfort zone and a learning zone.  We encourage them, through repetition and phonics, to speak as much as possible.  We aim to follow two routes, Implicit and Explicit, which will run alongside each other and often intersect.  The Implicit Route refers to chunks and patterns of language (e.g. High Frequency Structures) that we are not teaching explicitly, but that students should pick up through recycling and repetition nearly every lesson alongside the items we teach explicitly.  The Explicit Route refers to grammar, lexical and phonological items we are planning to teach explicitly.

In Year 7, students develop the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.  In order to develop the skill of retention - and consequently become more confident - repeated classroom routines, songs, online tools, pair work Listening and Speaking tasks are used.

In Year 8, students consolidate and build upon the skills acquired in Year 7, developing their ability to manipulate the language more creatively and ambitiously.  They develop grammatical knowledge more explicitly to express themselves with developing accuracy and precision.  Our aim is to teach the students two tenses explicitly (Present and Immediate Future) by the end of Year 8.  Again, the manipulation of verbs and tenses will have been practised through repeated classroom routines, etc. to ensure retention.  In addition to these two tenses, a range of H.F.S. in a wider range of tenses will have been covered more implicitly.

Assessments in KS3 (Y7 and Y8) are mainly based around low stake testing of specific ‘End Points’ after a sequence of teaching.

KS4 French - Assessment objectives

Paper 1 (AO1) – Listening: understand and respond to spoken language - (FINAL EXAM – worth 25% of final GCSE grade)

Paper 2 (AO2) – Speaking: communicate and interact in speech. - (FINAL EXAM – worth 25% of final GCSE grade)

Paper 3 (AO3) – Reading: understand and respond to written language.-  (FINAL EXAM – worth 25% of final GCSE grade)

Paper 4 (AO4) – Writing: communicate in writing - (FINAL EXAM – worth 25% of final GCSE grade)

Language contexts are organised in a specified number of broad themes, addressing relevant matters relating to: 

•          identity and culture 

•          local, national, international and global areas of interest 

•          current and future study and employment

When students begin the French course in Year 9, they continue to harness and develop the skills they learnt in KS3.  They develop and use their knowledge and understanding of grammar progressively throughout their course.  The Perfect and Conditional Tenses are taught explicitly, with systematic recycling of the tenses taught in KS3.  As Year 9 is the foundation year for the GCSE course, they are assessed in a more GCSE style, with more oral presentations, more open-ended tasks and extended free writing, for example.  The Y9 Exam is based on Reading and Writing GCSE style tasks

In Year 10, students become more and more familiar with the demands and expectations of the GCSE Exam with an application of knowledge to new contexts to develop automatisation.  There is a continuation in authentic texts analysis.  The Imperfect and Simple Future Tenses are taught explicitly and the manipulation of Complex tenses is encouraged, such as the Conditional Perfect.  The Y10 Exam is based on Listening, Reading and Writing GCSE style tasks, as well as a ‘watered-down’ Mock Speaking Exam.   Systematic recycling and careful sequencing of content enable students to transfer key knowledge to long-term memory.  Naturally, all content is underpinned by the four key assessment objectives

In Year 11, creative retrieval practice of all tenses and grammatical/communicative functions is the focus.  Past Paper Listening, Reading and Writing tasks are practised to develop timing and resilience under exam conditions.  The Year 11 Mock Exam incorporates all skills with a full Mock Speaking Exam in January, with detailed feedback for improvement.  A second Mock Speaking is held before the Easter holidays as a final preparation for the actual exam in April/May


The expectation for the average student, across all types of schools, is to reach a step 4 (on the flight path) by the end of Year 7.  70% of our Year 7 students reached a step 4 or above in 2019In 2019, the second year of the new exam, 85% of Y11 students received grades 4 and above.  This is 15% higher than the national average for that year.