At Puss Bank School, French is taught at KS2 to excite learners about the possibilities that arise from being able to speak another language. Our young linguists therefore develop aspirations beyond their own community and begin to identify themselves as future global citizens.
Children are immersed in engaging and interactive lessons which promote an enjoyment of the subject. Through making connections between languages that children already speak and the French they learn, pupils enrich their knowledge about language and develop metacognitive skills.
Our French curriculum fosters a breadth and depth of language acquisition, through building knowledge across key strands. This exposure provides a secure foundation, from which our pupils can progress confidently to the secondary curriculum.
We begin to teach French formally at KS2, when children participate in a weekly timetabled French lesson. Lessons are based on the Brilliant Publications “Luc et Sophie” scheme of work, which links strongly to the National Curriculum and incorporates a short story within each unit so that children experience the target language in context. This also links with our school reading ethos. French is taught as a discrete subject and we follow the sequence of units from the scheme, to ensure a progressive sequence of vocabulary, skills and knowledge.
In lessons, the children will have the opportunity to: recap known vocabulary through bridging back (for example through an initial “cinq minutes français” section of the lesson); learn new vocabulary; practise their spoken French and build their awareness of sounds and language patterns; sing songs and use actions and gestures as an aide memoir. As the children progress through the school, they also develop their ability to read and write in French.
Outside of the French lesson, class teachers take opportunities to reinforce the target language of the unit as well as the “sticky knowledge” we want children to acquire over time; e.g. basics such as numbers, days of the week, greetings and simple instructions.
To enrich the MFL curriculum, across the school, we hold a celebration of language and culture through the European Day of Languages and World Languages Day, raising awareness about diversity in the world and in our own school. In each Year group, there are opportunities within some of the units to compare French customs or ways of life with our own.
Our Curriculum is designed to:
- Promote and develop language learning skills
- Make links between pupils’ own language and other languages
- Ensure progression of skills and knowledge in speaking, reading, writing and grammar.
- Present language learning as an enjoyable pursuit.
- Involve pupils in monitoring and reflecting on their progress at the end of each unit.
In Year 3, children will listen to and understand classroom instructions, say and respond to greetings, be able to introduce themselves and ask others their names. They will say how they are feeling and ask this of someone else. They will be introduced to numbers to twenty, be able to tell someone their age or ask someone theirs.
Some forms of the verb avoir will be introduced, through usage of j’ai/ tu as/Luc a, Sophie a in phrases learnt in the context of a story. They will also meet the verb vouloir, using the phrase je voudrais. They will encounter and understand basic possessive pronouns such as mon and ma.
Children will be introduced to the idea that all nouns in French are identified as masculine or feminine and that the determiners le and la or un and une will indicate the gender. They will learn that cognates is a term for words that are alike in both English and French. They will learn how intonation of the voice is changed to ask a question.
Whilst the emphasis will be on acquiring accurate pronunciation of the target language and building vocabulary, the children will also have opportunities to see written French texts and notice features such as accents. They will begin to write simple words, captions and phrases using supporting resources.
In year 4, children will revisit classroom commands and extend the range of these they can recognise and use. They will learn the vocabulary for eight colours. They will understand and respond when asked if they have a pet and also ask if someone else has a pet. They will learn to name the days of the week and recognise that, unlike in English, these do not have a capital letter.
They will express a simple opinion: j’aime, je déteste, j’adore and they will meet for the first time a negative form: je n’aime pas. Using the verb aimer, they will learn through usage, forms other than the first person.
Further common verbs such as aller and faire will be introduced e.g. through memorising a song.
Children will develop their knowledge of French syntax/grammar by being exposed to phrases with the adjective following the noun, where both the noun and adjective are masculine. They will also learn that the plural ending “s” is not pronounced.
Children will take part in role playing longer sections of a familiar story, using language that they have internalised, with prompts to support them. They will begin to write in short sentences using sentence scaffolds for support and begin to read with more confidence from French texts, where the target language has been modelled and rehearsed.
In Year 5, children will learn to name body parts. Then they will use this vocabulary to speak in sentences/answer questions about where it hurts. They will revisit commands in the formal/plural form and move on to explore how commands are given in the informal/singular form, so that the teacher can direct some instructions to individuals rather the whole class. Children will describe the weather in response to the question “Quel temps fait-il?” and extend sentences by expressing preferences using “Ma saison preferée.” They will also continue to learn the French for numbers, moving on from previous learning, to memorise numbers 31 – 60. Children will use their knowledge of numbers to read/say a telephone number in the “French” way, as a series of two-digit numbers. They will speak in sentences to give descriptions of physical appearance mainly in first person using j’ai and je suis to record a short, written description using the target language.
The grammar covered in Year 5 will recap on and extend children’s experience of common verbs including faire, avoir, être, porter and pouvoir. They will extend their understanding of adjectival agreement by learning how endings relate to gender and singularity/plurality. Negative verb formations will be used in the context of il y a /il n’y a pas and ça ne va pas.
Children will start to create short texts by creating and combining sentences , e.g. about their appearance. They will have the opportunity to use French/English dictionaries to find vocab that they would like to use, within a simple and familiar sentence structure. Scaffolds will continue be provided for support. They will continue to use role play to embed target language from the stimulus story.
In Year 6, pupils will further their skills in expressing preferences and opinions in relation to school subjects and also with regards to food. They will learn increasingly complex sentence structures to state whether they like a subject and begin to form comparative sentences. When talking about leisure activities, they will explore phrases that include an infinitive verb and a noun. (J’aime regarder la télé.) Children will extend the range of questions they ask and be encouraged to use this way to ask to do things outside of French lessons. (E.g. Je peux aller au...) Having previously in Y5 given descriptions of their physical appearance in first person, now they will do the same in the third person.
In grammar, present tense verb forms will be used in different topics in a range of forms – ie in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, and children will also be exposed to the immediate future tense. (Je vais rester dans un hôtel.) Children will manipulate sentences in writing, changing them from positive to negative with ne and pas. They will orally practise possessives: e.g. C’est la trousse de Kate? Non c’est la trousse de Sarah. When speaking and writing, children will be expected to manipulate sentences more, making adaptations through the bank of language they have acquired through the school. There will be opportunities to write longer pieces of text.
Due to the impact of the COVID19 school closures, Year 6 are currently covering the same units of work as Year 5. For other year groups, the planned units have been adapted to incorporate any missed learning.