Modern Foreign Languages are very important to us at Victoria Road Primary School. We believe that they provide a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for all children. Language learning can help support all sorts of skills that the children use across the curriculum; especially speaking and listening, social skills and self-esteem. Learning a foreign language at primary school awakens the child’s interest in other languages and cultures, and lays the foundations for learning other languages later in life. This will be so important to our children who will live and work in a multicultural, multilingual global community.
The main language learnt is French. This is because of our close links with France, as a school and city, and because French is offered locally at KS3. We have a strong friendship with our partner school in Brest, holding a weekly video-conference, and every other year, a French trip for Years 5 and 6. Experience of other world languages is gained during special days, such as European or Africa Day.
Every child receives a discrete weekly lesson, which ranges from 25-50 minutes in length depending on their age. Children learn language that covers themes that appeal to them and engage their interest, such as colours, numbers, family, animals and hobbies. This may also include topics that link to work in other curriculum areas, such as the weather in geography. In KS2 this extends to learning the phonics and grammar of the language and developing reading and writing skills. Much of what we do in the foreign language is based firmly on the skills development that underlies the rest of the curriculum, such as, listening attentively, picking up new patterns or memorising.
In language lessons the children are active and they involve, singing, playing games or performing whenever possible. We use colourful resources, puppets, music, rhymes, stories and ICT. Activities and games also encourage the development of key skills, such as turn taking or confident communicating. In Foundation and KS1, the aim is a ‘training of the ear’ and we focus mainly on listening and then speaking skills. As the children progress through KS2 there is an increasing focus on reading and then writing skills.