Swalecliffe has chosen French as the foreign language to focus on, mainly because of France’s close proximity to our part of the world. Although MFL is not compulsory in Key Stage 1, the children do have informal opportunities to develop some vocabulary both in French and other languages (at times such as registration etc.) so as to introduce and raise their awareness to the fact that English is not the only language spoken in the world.
In Key Stage 2 the children have a more structured approach with regular lessons in French throughout the year and key stage. Again, opportunities are seized across the curriculum to introduce both French and other languages so children become more familiar with different words and pronunciation. In Year 5, the children complete a passport in French and learn the words and phrases to enable them to go on a virtual holiday of their choice; learning about other French speaking countries. French is linked to other subjects like Art where children are asked to design, label and describe their ideal home. In Year 6, French is connected to Geography. The children produce a map of Whitstable using their mapping skills, all in French! They also plan and open a café to the younger children where they can practise real life language skills. We try wherever possible to link French to other subjects in our connected curriculum.
We use a variety of materials and activities, including songs, games and role play to develop speaking and listening skills. These are consolidated with simple reading and writing skills. The children have access to online language activities at school and home via the schools subscription to Education City and Linguistics.
We have, for many years, had a link with a primary school in Dainville, France. This provides us with an opportunity to send Year 6 children to visit the school for the day and immerse themselves in the language and culture. There is then a reciprocal visit when the French children visit our school. It’s a worthwhile link as the children get to meet each other and learn to communicate, having been pen-pals during the academic year. We are also developing more regular links throughout the year with the use of technology.