Modern Foreign Language (MFL)
The MFL curriculum at Armfield Academy aims to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to develop into confident, competent and articulate linguists. We strive to develop enthusiastic language learners who have high aspirations, positivity and pride in their learning and a resilient work ethic as well as nurturing in all students a greater awareness, tolerance and curiosity of the world around them as responsible, global citizens.
We are continually developing our all-through French curriculum to be able to deliver one that is ambitious, coherent and well sequenced and by which all students are encouraged to excel. Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the 3 pillars of phonics, vocabulary and grammar and will develop competence in the 4 key skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The French classroom provides a positive, engaging, inclusive environment. Students are challenged to work hard via sustained effort and being the best that they can be, whether working remotely or in the classroom. Learning is not limited to the French language, as students broaden their cultural understanding and strengthen and improve knowledge of their own language. The curriculum enables children to acquire and extend essential skills in literacy, numeracy and communication and there is a strong focus on developing students’ listening skills using authentic materials.
Programmes of Study
The MFL Schemes of Learning cross-phase follow the National Curriculum and learning focuses on developing students’ understanding and ability to manipulate the key building blocks of phonics, vocabulary and grammar from an early age. Age appropriate learning opportunities aim to nurture a love of language learning and to broaden students’ cultural capital. Schemes are structured to support students on their journey to GCSE and beyond and it is the expectation that the majority of our students will continue learning a language to GCSE. Students are encouraged to communicate with their peers and teacher in French and it is our vision that students use their new learning outside of the classroom with confidence and enthusiasm.
Key Stage 2
Students at the start of their language learning journey and beyond are challenged to be curious and confident learners. Our goal is for our younger learners to feel excited and inspired to learn a different language and to enjoy their learning. Through careful curriculum planning, in-line with the Languages Programmes of Study, we aim to support students to make substantial progress by the end of the key stage in the 4 key skills necessary for successfully learning a language. Students of all abilities are supported to develop solid foundations in these skills, preparing them fully for their continued language learning journey into KS3. Alongside the language itself, students from year 3 onwards learn where French is spoken, the geography of France and the French speaking world and are challenged to consider both differences and similarities linguistically and culturally.
In year 3 the two communication skills of listening and speaking are prioritised, however students learn to read and write in the language from this early age and grammar is taught from the outset. Learners progressively develop their understanding of phonology and core vocabulary which is then developed across a range of contexts year on year, becoming increasingly more sophisticated. Students will continuously build on their previous knowledge and previous language is retrieved, recycled and practised until it is committed to memory.
Key Stage 3
Our aim is to build on language learning from KS2. Learning is contextualised around themes that have been chosen to be real world, engaging and age appropriate topics. For example students explore the world around them in year 7; family and friends, school, their home. In year 8 students build on this to develop their ability to discuss and give their opinions about technology and healthy lifestyles and in year 9 we look insightfully at topics such as the world of work and teenage issues allowing students to present detailed and balanced arguments. This gives us the context in which to gradually introduce increasingly complex levels of vocabulary and structures, starting with high frequency vocabulary. Students learn to understand how grammatical concepts underpin language learning and this is carefully planned for and interleaved and competence in using differing tenses is gradually embedded. Throughout the key stage, students also master new skills-for example ways to decode new language, how to describe photographs, narration and translating which provide a seamless transition to continued study at GCSE.
Key Stage 4
Students build on the language skills and knowledge developed in the first years of French and continue seamlessly into the 2 year AQA GCSE course, studying the following three broad themes:
Theme 1: Identity and culture;
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest; and
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.
There is a greater emphasis on the cross-over of topic-related vocabulary and frequent opportunities to revisit and deepen knowledge of key structures and language are provided , helping students to work from memory with developing competence. Grammar topics covered in KS3 are revisited and broadened significantly in KS4. There is no course work and all exams are taken at the end of Year 11. AQA French is a tiered subject and students are supported to make the most appropriate choice of entry.
Cross curricular links
As specialist MFL teachers, we endeavour to encourage a real passion for language learning and we embrace opportunities to promote the value of language learning beyond the classroom. Skills developed in MFL are highly transferable and we have close and developing links with the English department in particular.
Links with post 16 providers are being explored and aspirations are high. As students prepare to transition to life beyond Armfield, our aim in MFL is that they do so with the skills and enthusiasm to continue learning a language or to use the enhanced skills that learning a language brings, in the wider workplace.