French Intent Statement
Backwell Junior School intends to use the Language Angels scheme of work and resources to ensure we offer a relevant, broad, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that will inspire and excite our pupils using a wide variety of topics and themes. As a school, we have chosen to teach French as our foreign language. All pupils will be expected to achieve their full potential by encouraging high expectations and excellent standards in their foreign language learning - the ultimate aim being that pupils will feel willing and able to continue studying languages beyond key stage 2.
The intent is that all content will be continuously updated and reviewed annually, creating a dynamic programme of study that will be clearly outlined in both long-term and short-term planning. This will ensure that the foreign language knowledge of our pupils progresses within each academic year and is extended year upon year throughout the primary phase and, in so doing, will always be relevant and in line with meeting or exceeding national DfE requirements.
The four key language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing will be taught and all necessary grammar will be covered in an age-appropriate way across the primary phase. This will enable pupils to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas. In addition, the children will be taught how to look up and research language they are unsure of and they will have a bank of reference materials to help them with their spoken and written tasks going forward. This bank of reference materials will develop into a reference library to help pupils recall and build on previous knowledge throughout their primary school language learning journey.
The intent is that all pupils will develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. Learning a second language will also offer pupils the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences. The intention is that they will be working towards becoming life-long language learners.
All classes will have access to a very high-quality foreign languages curriculum using the Language Angels scheme of work and resources. This will progressively develop pupil skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned weekly lessons in Key Stage 2 that will be taught by class teachers.
Children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes - building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language.
All teachers will know where every child is at any point in their foreign language learning journey.
The planning of different levels of challenge (as demonstrated in the various Language Angels Teaching Type categories) and which units to teach at each stage of the academic year will be addressed dynamically and will be reviewed in detail annually as units are updated and added to the scheme. Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge and stretch will be taught at all times to ensure pupils learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language(s) they are learning.
Language Angels are categorised by ‘Teaching Type’ to make it easier for teachers to choose units that will offer the appropriate level of challenge and stretch for the classes they are teaching.
Early Language units are entry level units and are most appropriate for KS1 and Year 3 pupils or pupils with little or no previous foreign language learning. Intermediate units increase the level of challenge by increasing the amount and complexity (including foreign language grammar concepts) of the foreign language presented to pupils. Intermediate units are suitable for Year 4-5 pupils or pupils with embedded basic knowledge of the foreign language. Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are the most challenging units and are suitable for Year 6 pupils or pupils with a good understanding of the basics of the language they are learning. Grouping units into these Teaching Type categories ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children will be taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they will have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Early Language Units (entry level) and Core Vocabulary lessons are designed to run for approximately 30 minutes. Intermediate, Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are designed to run for approximately 45 minutes.
Units, where possible and appropriate, will be linked to class topics and cross curricular themes. Children will build on previous knowledge gradually as their foreign language lessons continue to recycle, revise and consolidate previously learnt language whilst building on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Knowledge and awareness of required and appropriate grammar concepts will be taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge. Teachers are provided with a Progression Map and Grammar Grid (downloadable from the “Curriculum Guidance” area of the Language Angels website) to ensure all children are progressing their foreign language learning skills and are taught the appropriate grammar at the right time in their foreign language learning journey. Grammar rules and patterns will be taught by level of challenge:
- We start with nouns and articles and 1st person singular of high frequency verbs in Early Learning units.
- We move on to the use of the possessive, the concept of adjectives, use of the negative form, conjunctions/connectives and introduce the concept of whole regular verb conjugation in Intermediate units.
- We end with opinions and introduce the concept of whole high frequency irregular verb conjugation in Progressive units.
Grammar is integrated and taught discreetly throughout all appropriate units. Teachers can also use the specific Grammar Explained units to ensure pupils are exposed to all of the appropriate grammar so they are able to create their own accurate and personalised responses to complex authentic foreign language questions by the end of the primary phase.
The Progression Map shows precisely how pupil foreign language learning across the key skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar progresses within each Language Angels ‘Teaching Type’ and also how the level of learning and progression of each pupil is increased as pupils move across each subsequently more challenging Language Angels ‘Teaching Type’. It is a visual demonstration of the progression that takes place WITHIN a ‘Teaching Type’ and also ACROSS each ‘Teaching Type’.
The school has a unit planner in place which will serve as an overall ‘teaching map’ outlining for all teachers within the school what each class in each year group will be taught and when it will be taught. Each class in each year group will have an overview of units to be taught during the academic year to ensure substantial progress and learning is achieved. Each teaching unit is divided into 6 fully planned lessons.
- Each unit and lesson will have clearly defined objectives and aims.
- Each lesson will incorporate interactive whiteboard materials to include ample speaking and listening tasks within a lesson.
- Lessons will incorporate challenge sections and desk-based activities that will be offered will three levels of stretch and differentiation. These may be sent home as homework if not completed in class.
- Reading and writing activities will be offered in all units. Some extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers can also be catered for.
- Every unit will include a grammar concept which will increase in complexity as pupils move from Early Language units, through Intermediate units and into Progressive units.
- Extending writing activities are provided to ensure that pupils are recalling previously learnt language and, by reusing it, will be able to recall it and use it with greater ease and accuracy. These tasks will help to link units together and show that pupils are retaining and recalling the language taught with increased fluency and ease.
Units are progressive within themselves as subsequent lessons within a unit build on the language and knowledge taught in previous lessons. As pupils progress though the lessons in a unit they will build their knowledge and develop the complexity of the language they use. We think of the progression within the 6 lessons in a unit as ‘language Lego’. We provide blocks of language knowledge and, over the course of a 6-week unit, encourage pupils to build more complex and sophisticated language structures with their blocks of language knowledge.
Pupil learning and progression will be assessed at regular intervals in line with school policy. Teachers will aim to assess each language skill (speaking, listening, reading and writing) twice throughout each scholastic year to be able to provide reference points against which learning and progression in each skill can be demonstrated.
In addition to following the lessons provided in the Language Angels scheme of work and resources, teachers are encouraged to also do some of the following:
- Foreign language celebration assemblies and enrichment days.
- Cookery sessions of traditional foods from the country of the language being studied.
- Fashion shows demonstrating typical / traditional clothing from the country of the language being studied.
- Weather forecasts based on maps from the country of the language being studied.
- School celebrations of national feast days from the country of the language being studied when appropriate to facilitate a whole school approach to foreign language learning along with improved cultural awareness.
As well as each subsequent lesson within a unit being progressive, the teaching type organisation of Language Angels units also directs, drives and guarantees progressive learning and challenge. Units increase in level of challenge, stretch and linguistic and grammatical complexity as pupils move from Early Learning units through Intermediate units and into the most challenging Progressive units. Units in each subsequent level of the teaching type categories require more knowledge and application of skills than the previous teaching type. Activities contain progressively more text (both in English and the foreign language being studied) and lessons will have more content as the children become more confident and ambitious with the foreign language they are learning.
Early Learning units will start at basic noun and article level and will teach pupils how to formulate short phrases. By the time pupils reach Progressive units they will be exposed to much longer text and will be encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. They will be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and are encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications.
Pupils will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their foreign language learning journey through the primary phase. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate.
Teachers will have a clear overview of what they are working towards and if they are meeting these criteria. They will use the long-term planning documents provided in the form of Language Angels unit planners to ensure the correct units are being taught to the correct classes at each stage of the scholastic year. Short-term planning is also provided in the form of unit overviews (covering the learning targets for each 6-week unit) and individual lesson plans laying out the learning aims and intentions of each individual lesson within a unit. These planning documents ensure that teachers know what to teach and how to teach it in each lesson, across whole units and across each scholastic term.
Pupils will be aware of their own learning goals and progression as each unit offers a pupil friendly overview so that all pupils can review their own learning at the start and at the end of each unit. They will know and will be able to articulate if they have or have not met their learning objectives and can keep their unit learning intention sheets and unit core vocabulary sheets as a record of what they have learnt from unit to unit and from year to year.
The opportunity to assess pupil learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and against the 12 DfE Languages Programme of Study for Key Stage 2 attainment targets is provided at the end of each 6-week teaching unit. This information will be recorded and will be monitored by the Foreign Language Subject Leader who can use this data to ensure teaching is targeted and appropriate for each pupil, class and year group as well as to feedback on progress to SLT and stakeholders. Teachers will be able to record, analyse and access this data easily using the Tracking and Progression Tool that will monitor school, class and individual progress in the foreign language. Pupils will also be offered self-assessment grids to ensure they are also aware of their own progress which they can keep as a record of their progress.
Children are expected to make good or better than good progress in their foreign language learning and their individual progress is tracked and reported to pupils and parents / carers in line with school recommendations.
If pupils are not progressing in line with expectations, this will be identified in the End of Unit Skills Assessments provided in the Language Angels Tracking & Progression Tool. This will enable teachers to put in place an early intervention programme to address any areas that require attention in any of the language learning skills.