Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. The 2014 National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages aims to ensure that all children:
- Understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources.
- Are able to speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and that they are continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation.
- Can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt.
- Discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
A high-quality languages education should foster children’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. At St Gerard’s, we are committed to ensuring that teaching enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. We recognise that competence in another language enables children to interpret, create and exchange meaning within and across cultures.
At St Gerard’s Catholic Primary & Nursery School we are committed to ensuring our MFL teaching provides the foundation for learning further languages, as well as the means to access international opportunities for study and work later in life. The teaching of Spanish in Key Stage 2 provides an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and lays the foundations for further foreign language teaching at KS3.
Since September 2014, the new National Curriculum has made learning a language compulsory in Key Stage 2. With Primary Languages Network’s team’s history, knowledge, and background, we were impressed with their standards, curriculum, and teaching style. The majority of schools only offer the language that teachers feel most able to cope with, however, with Primary Languages Network, our teachers are able to learn on-the-go, teach interactively, attend CPD events, have the opportunity to practice conversationally and use of DVDs and online resources during class. They also provide the opportunity for staff upskilling and contracting their specialist language teachers to come into school. Primary Languages Network has given our teachers and pupils confidence to speak another language and our teachers to support the children’s language-learning at home.
Lessons across the Key Stages support the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing:
- Through the use of Primary Language Network children are taught to listen attentively to spoken language and respond, joining in with songs, rhymes and games.
- Children have an international link with children in Tenerife, with regular correspondence taking place. This supports the school’s commitment to providing opportunities for children to communicate for practical purposes. Our Year 6 children have visited Tenerife (pre-COVID)
- Children develop an appreciation of a variety of stories, songs, poems and rhymes in Spanish that are delivered through the curriculum content, as well as by native Spanish speakers within the wider school community.
Knowledge and skills in Spanish are progressive from one year to the next and are mapped across the school, in line with the National Curriculum. Cross curricular links have been identified and St Gerard’s own context is considered as part of curriculum planning, including, for example, how the grounds of the school and local resources can be used to enhance and enrich Spanish learning.
Our MFL curriculum ensures that children develop their knowledge of where different languages, including the range of home languages spoken by the families of the school, as well as Spanish, are spoken in the world. Varied learning experiences, including ‘Language of the Month’ and ‘Hispanic Week’ also ensure that languages are celebrated throughout the school community whilst providing a context for language learning and develop the children’s understanding of different cultures.