‘To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world’
French Lead: Miss Sayer
Governor Lead: Martin Paton
At Heath, we believe that the learning of a language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our children. It helps them to develop communication skills, including key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Learning an additional language gives children a new and broader perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others. We aim to develop and extend children’s knowledge of how language works. We aim to provide children with the confidence and independence to explore and be able to attempt manipulation of the structure of language, and in doing so, develop the linguistic skills needed to assist and lay the foundations for further language learning.
Our Approach to French
Our French curriculum is built on four key strands:
- Understanding the culture of France and other French speaking countries
There is a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics, vocabulary and grammar. Content is revised and revisited over the course of the year and over subsequent years to help embed new knowledge:
- There is a focus on the teaching of high frequency verbs (in the first person) in Year Three - for example, j'ai, je suis and je voudrais. This is revisited throughout the year and then again in Year Four before moving onto the third person verb form (e.g. il/elle est and il/elle a). These are built upon in Year Five (e.g. using 'nous') and the future tense is introduced. Year Six moves towards the full conjugation of verbs and the perfect past tense is used.
- The concept of article/noun gender agreement is introduced early on in Year Three. This can then be built upon in Year Four when looking at adjectival agreement.
- We follow the principles of synthetic phonics, with careful planning and sequencing (for example, early on, there is an emphasis on the high frequency phonemes that differ from English and key phonemes are revisited regularly).
- The teaching of vocabulary is sequenced so that vocabulary is built upon over time. For example, in Year Three, numbers are taught, revisited and built upon over the course of the year; simple opinions are taught in Year Three and developed as they move through KS2.
- The children explore the patterns and sounds of the French language (e.g. through songs and rhymes).
- There is an emphasis on developing accurate pronunciation and intonation.
The target is for children to be able to participate in simple conversations by the end of Key Stage Two, in which they are able to understand the questions being asked, are able to reply, and can talk about a variety of different topics that they have covered during their time at the school. We also believe that it is important that the children learn about the culture, traditions and rich diversity of French speaking countries.
Supporting Your Child at Home
There is a language builder app that sits alongside our curriculum that can be used at home to support learning. The app includes sections on vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling and sentence building as well as games designed to improve language proficiency.
The app can be downloaded from the iTunes Store here.