To foster students’ curiosity about different cultures and to encourage them to become citizens of the world by being open-minded and respectful of others.
To allow them to communicate with people in another language to widen their study and work perspectives.
In both French and Spanish, we have implemented a new curriculum following the guidance of NCELP (National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy).
The NCELP Scheme of Learning is in line with:
(a) the Review of MFL Pedagogy, a report published by the Teaching Schools Council, which drew on research into foreign language learning and teaching and on the knowledge and experience of a wide range of experienced practitioners;
(b) Ofsted’s current aspirations for curriculum intent, implementation, and impact;
(c) preparing a solid foundation for the new GCSE content and examinations (first teaching September 2024), which builds on the core grammar and vocabulary outlined in the programmes of study for Key Stages 2 and 3.
At its core, our curriculum aims to ensure that knowledge and practice are sequenced and re-visited systematically to support progression in the early stages of language development within a low exposure foreign language setting.
In year 7, students will study both French and Spanish for a whole term in order to discover the languages through their phonics, grammar and vocabulary. From January, they will continue with one language which they will continue until their GCSE, at the end of year 11.
Phonics feature initially in the curriculum as regular and frequent short bursts of practice of one or two SSC. This knowledge is then developed through integration with other activities. This might be as it arises in lessons (e.g., encouraging pupils to read aloud, especially unfamiliar words) or in planned aspects of vocabulary and grammar tasks. For example, many of the grammar activities draw on phonics knowledge (e.g., the difference in meaning between ‘ai’ and ‘a’ in French).
NCELP Curriculum addresses the what and the how of vocabulary learning. Vocabulary selection is based on word frequency and informed additionally by a meticulous scrutiny of the awarding body vocabulary lists. Small sets of words from different parts of speech, including the most common verbs, allow students to manipulate verbs and regularly create their own sentences. Our curriculum aims to maximise the number of encounters with new language to establish it first, and therefore emphasise the importance of ‘out of class’ vocabulary learning and pre-learning, using the most reliable online tools. In class, students often work in pairs or small groups to consolidate and extend their word knowledge. Structured opportunities for learners to personalise their vocabulary and make meaning are also an important feature.
The grammar spine is not driven by traditional ‘paradigms’ (e.g., full sets of verb, article or adjectival agreements, all at once). However, in its totality the grammar spine will cover the full range of features for persons, subjects, tenses, and aspectual functions (‘complete’ versus ‘ongoing’), and a range of key syntax (word order and relations between words) over time. For example, after the introduction of high frequency verbs (in their infinitive and ‘short’ forms), small sets of meaningful grammatical features will be introduced and practised (such as expressing the present versus the past in the first person singular). Sets of grammatical functions are brought together every so often. For example, after a number of practice sequences have been undertaken, each focusing on pairs of features, a slightly wider planned set of features might be drawn together as required for some activities.
4) Meaningful practice
Opportunities are built into the Curriculum to provide plenty of practice, at different levels of control (structure and support) and spontaneity, in all modes and modalities. The aim of practice is to establish the knowledge of phonics, vocabulary and grammar that is required to understand or express meaning. First, this requires plentiful practice in understanding the new language. These practice activities are carefully designed to ensure that students pay close attention to the meaning and function of words, parts of words (morphology), and relations between words (syntax). Gradually, practice extends to production, which requires learners to recall language and manipulate it to communicate where there is a genuine ‘information gap’.
Students are embarking on their GCSE journey and deepening their knowledge of the language. New resources will be used as we will be teaching to a new specification from September 2024.
We are currently preparing our years 9-11 to the existing GCSE which encompasses 4 papers:
Further details about the content learned can be found in the Learning Journey Map.
KS5 (Year 12/13)
Students are strongly encouraged to continue with a language in year 12-13 as it is a real asset in our current economy.
Students will take the language to the next level and not only continue to learn the language but use that language to discuss in much depth the cultural and social issues faced by the French and Hispanic-speaking worlds. Students will become immersed in the culture thanks to various media and will have a chance to study a film (“La Haine” by Matthieu Kascurriculumitz for French, “Volver” by Pedro Almodovar for Spanish) and a novel (“No et moi” Delphine de Vigan in French, “La casa de Bernarda Alba” by Federico García Lorca in Spanish) in the target language.
As part of their final assessment, students have to complete a research project, culminating in a presentation during their speaking examination. This Individual Research Project is a great opportunity for them to explore a particular aspect of the culture they’re interested in.
As our intent is to foster students’ curiosity about different cultures and to encourage them to become citizens of the world by being open-minded and respectful of others, our lessons are completed by opportunities to experience the culture outside of the curriculum, through clubs, events and visits, as well as trips whenever possible. Examples include:
- French cinema club after school
- Pen pal system (writing to French and Spanish schools to make new friends)
- Trips to Lille and to Barcelona (KS4)
- Trips to London BFI for all-day events, immersion trips to Montpellier (KS5)
CAREERS IN MFL
French is a facilitating subject, meaning that even if you don’t want to study a language at university, it will be useful to have a Language GCSE! For example, the Russell Group (which represents the 24 leading UK universities) requires all its students to have a facilitating subject to enrol any course.
What Are Facilitating Subjects? | List of Facilitating Subjects (successatschool.org)
Studying a language also has multiple benefits such as:
- making you really stand out when applying to college, university or a job
- making you competitive if you want to work abroad (in the UK only 32% of students can speak or write a foreign language vs. 79% in France and 90% in Germany)
- increasing your brain capacity, improving your memory
- using a language at work could raise your salary from 8-20%
- improving your communication skills
Having a Language GCSE will be helpful regardless of the career path you’re set upon but will be particularly
for the following careers:
For more information regarding MFL please contact the following:
- Mrs Luce Debiais (Head of MFL) - email@example.com
- Miss Marta Toro Sanchez (Second in Department) - firstname.lastname@example.org