Learning a foreign language has never been more important as our international links expand and internet technology enables global communication. At Bishops Down we teach French as our curriculum subject in Key Stage 2, however our enriching curriculum enables us to study many other languages and cultures along the school journey. French is taught to all children throughout Key Stage 2 for a minimum of 30 minutes per week of focused teaching as well as daily practise of relevant vocabulary. Lessons are delivered with progression in mind: through songs, games, rhymes and stories. As the children progress through Years 3-6, more written French is introduced and lessons are more structured. This allows more emphasis to be put on understanding the similarities and differences between English and French and looking more closely at phonics, structure and grammar. Children are given opportunities to take part in short conversations, read authentic texts and form sentences using basic verbs and correct word order. Time is also spent looking at aspects of French culture and French speaking countries.
At Bishops Down we follow the scheme of work from the ‘twinkl’ website. This gives us 6 units of work for each year group in KS2 taught in a linear fashion – this means that we are building on previous knowledge as well as having the flexibility to revisit past learning. As well as a lesson presentation each unit offers different activities to encourage speaking, listening and recording ensuring steady progression to meet the language expectations at the end of year 6.
Can learning a language have other benefits? Yes, speaking another language has been found to improve the functionality of the brain by challenging it to recognise, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems. This skill can boost your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well. Learning a language involves memorising rules and vocabulary, which helps strengthen that mental “muscle".
With regular lessons throughout the year and making French part of the daily routine in school, it is hoped that children develop an interest in languages and life in other countries, which will continue into secondary school and beyond.