• French


"Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom." - Roger Bacon

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." - Nelson Mandela


What we believe:

At Hayton C of E Primary School, we know that the study of a modern foreign language enhances children’s literacy, self-confidence and broader cultural understanding. Our ambition to embed language learning within our curriculum is born of the statutory commitment in the National Curriculum to give every child between the ages of 7 and 11 the opportunity to learn a new language. With over 220 million speakers internationally, French is the second most widely learnt language after English. French is also the second most widely taught language after English- the only two languages spoken on every continent. The importance of outstanding modern foreign language provision is embodied in our 'Hayton Curriculum Compass' drivers:

Knowledge is our North: a knowledge-rich curriculum

As Hirsch writes, knowledge should be thought of as ‘mental Velcro’.

The knowledge of another language gives more meaning to our own as well as opening up a world of possibilities in terms of communicating with such a wider and more varied audience across the globe. The morphology and etymology of our own language becomes more understood when we study other languages as we can see where our language originated from. As children’s brains are so much more ’pliable’ than that of an adult, the learning of another language and the ‘stickability’ or ‘Velcro effect’ has the potential to stay with children for longer – can you remember any of the French you were taught at school? I an still remember how to ask where the swimming pool is and how to buy bread from the bakers!

People who have lots of subject-specific knowledge find that new knowledge ‘sticks’ to it, helping them commit the new information to long-term memory. In the same vein, a lack of subject-specific knowledge can mean that new concepts slip past you or that you make mistakes. The outcome of this is completely predictable: those with more prior knowledge learn more than those with limited prior knowledge, and therefore the gap between these two groups widens.

In ‘The Schools We Need And Why We Don’t Have Them’, Hirsch describes this as the ‘Matthew Effect’, drawing on Matthew Chapter 25:

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away”.

Skills are our South: understanding our place in the world

Given that 60-70% of the world’s population is bilingual, acquiring another language is a crucial asset in the global economy, an advantage for finding a job with the many multinational companies, in a wide range of sectors: retailing, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc. Simultaneously, children gain a better perspective of their own country and locality, making comparisons and contrasts.

Excellence is our East: aspiring to achieve

Learning French provides a satisfying, enjoyable and intellectually challenging experience for children in coping with a different linguistic medium. The study of a language involves the practice of observational and study skills, and committing to memory useful material for subsequent recall: essential skills for higher education.

Worldliness is our West: broadening horizons

Thanks to the development of computing and the Internet, we can improve and deepen our connections with the world, celebrate languages and the diversity of cultures and promote international and intercultural experiences. By taking children out of a pervasively English context, we ensure they can explore the life-style and culture of another land through the medium of its language.

Our curriculum aims to found progress throughout a child’s school career by developing a secure understanding of grammar, vocabulary and culture at the relevant stage. Insecure, superficial understanding prevents genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key stage transitions, amass damaging misconceptions, or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.

What do we do?

Our French curriculum sets out to foster “ambition for all” and enables “languages to flourish” (Ofsted Review- Languages- 2021).

In French, children will learn to:

  • read fluently;
  • write imaginatively;
  • speak confidently;
  • and understand the culture of the countries in which the language is spoken.

We aim to ensure that children:

  • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources;
  • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking
  • questions, and 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;
  • and discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the French language.

Subject Content

At Hayton C of E Primary School, we follow the National Curriculum for French. The aims of which are outlined below:

Key Stage 2: Foreign Language

The teaching of a foreign language should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at Key Stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary. The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding;
  • explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words;
  • engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help;
  • speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures;
  • develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases;
  • present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences;
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing;
  • appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language;
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary;
  • write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly;
  • describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing;
  • understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.

French at Hayton - Elements

Long Term Planning - French

How do we know if we are having an impact?

The children will develop a love of learning a foreign language. They will see the benefits from starting a possible life-long 'bi-lingual' journey where they will have extended opportunities and life-chances, as well as a deeper cross-cultural understanding as a result.

Our MFL curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Observing children speaking and listening in another language
  • Marking of written work 
  • Images and videos of children completing speaking and listening activities
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning 
  • Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum to parents
  • Learning walks

The MFL subject leader will continually monitor the impact MFL teaching is having on the children’s learning through work scrutinies to ensure the progress of knowledge and skills is being taught. They will also ensure the knowledge taught is retained by the children and continually revisited and that the learners are able to apply the skills they have been taught to a variety of different settings, showing independence with their learning.