Modern Foreign Languages
Mr A Pickford
Head of Department
Miss S Gorin
Teacher of French and Spanish
Mrs L Hardwick
Teacher of French
Part-time teacher of French and German
Mrs V Budden
Part-time teacher of German
In Modern Foreign Languages at St Mary’s we aim to develop inquisitive confident and ambitious language learners who are curious and interested in the wider world. Our students enjoy learning to communicate with others; developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of other foreign cultures. Our curriculum aims to develop students’ ability to communicate confidently and coherently in the target language in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say with increasing accuracy, to express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently. Students are exposed to a wide range of authentic spoken and written material including literary texts and given the skills to be able to read, understand and deduce meaning; listen and respond to, clearly articulated, standard speech spoken at near normal speed. Through the acquisition and application of grammar and vocabulary students will deepen their knowledge about how language works in order to creatively experiment with the foreign language and write or speak at length independently. We recognise the importance of language learning in today’s modern society and provide our students with maximum opportunities in lessons, trips and visits to turn our students into real linguists; allowing them the opportunity to achieve success that opens doors to future language learning and aspirational and exciting career opportunities.
The MFL department work together well as a team, developing shared resources and expertise – we have recently redeveloped the Yr8 French curriculum and are introducing a new curriculum in Yr7 French (2021-22)
In Years 7 and 8 the foundations are set for the KS4 French curriculum which all students start working towards in Yr9. Similarly in Spanish and German (which students start studying in Yr9) the foundations are set in the first term of study and GCSE style work is introduced in the second and third term ready for the GCSE course in Yr10.
The courses taught in all years are designed to gradually cover key grammatical constructions, which are periodically revisited, so that knowledge is retained fully. The acquisition of grammatical structures underpins the topic based development of the language. The curriculum is designed so that topic areas covered in KS3 in all languages are then revisited and expanded upon at KS4. The curriculum is designed in this way in order for students to access the work seamlessly at KS4 and ensure that they are able to make fast, effective and sustainable progress. Similarly the grammar structures covered at KS3 provide the starting point for those at KS4, again enabling students to develop their understanding of key structures whilst knowing the start points of each construction well.
Please see Year overviews in the Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 page.
In addition, in order to ensure the full implementation of our languages curriculum:
- Teachers within the MFL Department have a passion and excellent subject knowledge (three of whom are native speakers).
- Three members of the department are examiners for GCSE languages and share expertise to aid students exam preparation
- Teachers provide a safe, engaging environment for learning through classroom management
- Teachers blend all four language skills into lessons and teach using the target language where appropriate to ensure maximum language immersion
- All lessons include elements of interleaving and retrieval to enable learners to reflect on what they have learnt
- Teachers mark and check learning and understanding, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback. Teachers respond and adapt their teaching as necessary.
- Assessment is focussed on speaking, reading and writing, skills which are learnt, practised and embedded into language lesson routine.
- Teachers will have high expectations of all students to ensure students are independent learners who take pride in their work
- To back up learning in the classroom trips in both German and French take place in both Key Stages in each year. During these trips students practice key transactional language and are exposed to further language and culture. Please see Trips page.
In languages, we assess student’s progress formatively in lessons following all activities, this is through a variety ways – questioning, students performing speaking tasks, and in smaller listening and reading tasks teachers use various strategies to gauge how well tasks have been understood immediately after each activitity and alter teaching approach accordingly. Formative assessment also occurs through homework when pupils demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge and understanding more independently. If necessary, subsequent lessons are adapted to respond fully to any misconceptions.
In languages we summatively measure the impact of the curriculum at the end of each unit with tests which are marked using agreed mark schemes. Over the course of the year, all the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking will be assessed. The results from the end of unit tests are averaged in order to produce a full picture of each students progress. This progress is measured and compared to pupil’s end of year target grades and at KS3, which in turn informs next steps for learning if any gaps are identified. GCSE results in all languages have showed a positive progression in recent years and recruitment in to languages at KS4, is improving year on year.