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Languages

Subject Leader Mrs J Spencer-Hall
Teacher Miss E Garland
Teacher Miss K Patrick

 

 

The languages curriculum aims to develop students’ linguistic competence and understanding to enable them to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing.

Alongside the evident linguistic developments, language learning allows students to broaden their cultural knowledge and understanding, and supports in their development of a deeper understanding of the wider world around them. 

Across the key stages, students will develop their understanding and be able to respond to spoken and written language with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, whilst continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation through understanding of phonics and decoding skills. Students will also develop their skills in writing at varying length, for different purposes and audiences using the variety of grammatical structures and vocabulary that they have learnt, and discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied. 

The key grammatical structures and vocabulary introduced at KS3 are seen as building blocks for more in-depth learning and re-visiting at KS4 (& routes beyond). The use of online websites such as Quizlet are well-established for reinforcing newly acquired knowledge or for setting tasks to support longer term memory and recall. 

Lessons are structured with the intention of building student knowledge, and recalling and retrieving previously learnt vocabulary and grammar throughout the course of the lesson. The usual structure includes a retrieval starter task followed by new content delivery/recall of previous content which is modelled and explained. Students then complete a series of short tasks designed to build student confidence and avoid cognitive overload. These could include, but are not limited to, teacher-led tasks with mini-whiteboards including dictation, grammar recall and translation, peer and teacher-led speaking tasks, and other listening/reading/writing tasks followed by whole-class feedback to address any misconceptions. Larger writing tasks take place once it is ascertained through formative assessment and reflection that particular demonstrable vocabulary and grammar is becoming ‘mastered’ which may be at the end of a series of lessons.

Students who decide to take languages post-16 will usually complete an A Level in their chosen language which will enable them to progress onto higher education routes. For students aiming to take languages post-16, we have developed links with two local sixth form college language departments and have taken part in other higher education language-based outreach to experience languages in a post-16 setting.

The subject content contained within our curriculum is fully compliant with the statutory content outlined in the Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum. 

All students are introduced to the grammatical foundations of the language, which is built upon as they progress throughout the key stages. This knowledge is then applicable to new contexts as grammatical structures are revisited and consolidated. 

Students are given the opportunity to master the four key skills:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

Students also study a range of topics that offer them an insight into other cultures and customs. They will learn how to manipulate language for their own purpose to be able to communicate orally and through written means whilst expressing their opinions, using a variety of tenses and using a variety of vocabulary including that considered to be more complex.

Students who excel in languages have the opportunity to:

  • Extend their knowledge and competences by learning languages independently using the skills acquired in language lessons at the academy e.g. via apps (Duolingo, Quizlet, Memrise)
  • Participate in language events via the NLEC such as European Day of Languages and University visits. 
  • Explore the linguistic links that exist between subject vocabulary through etymology of words e.g. science, music, English.

Students are encouraged to develop employability skills by:

  • engaging in a variety of language tasks which require them to work alone and with others
  • engaging in team-work activities in the language classroom
  • working with others in their class with whom they wouldn’t normally work with
  • taking part in problem solving activities such as thinking skills tasks and escape room challenges
  • learning skills that enable them to self-manage their language learning at home e.g revision skills
  • learning coping strategies and how to use their initiative when working independently in class, for instance to carry on with work they can do if stuck on an activity in class and to think of other resources they can use if the teacher cannot help them immediately. 
  • being encouraged to use a variety of internet based tools for language learning for example Word Reference, Duolingo, Quizizz
  • being asked to reflect on their work and learning and think of improvements that could be made
  • learning how to accept constructive criticism from their peers and teacher as a way of improving their language skills.
  • being encouraged to meet deadlines e.g. for tasks set within a lesson or for ILT. 
  • developing their listening and communication skills in language lessons

We ensure that Year 7 effectively builds upon content delivered during Key Stage 2 by revisiting core vocabulary and grammar from the KS2 programme of study within the KS3 schemes of learning. Learners from our main feeder schools learn French as part of their language learning but those from other primaries may have less knowledge/exposure to French. This means that the first module at year 7 is considered a ‘bridging module’ in order to both support and challenge learners irregardless of their starting point. We also ensure that we meet as many of our feeder primary students both prior to and during their transition phase to the academy to begin building the links between the two settings.

The languages curriculum has links with the following subject areas: 

  • Maths - Ordinal/cardinal numbers, dates, times, number, concept of regular vs. irregular.
  • Food - International cuisine.
  • Art - Dia de los Muertos.
  • Science - Terminology used via Latin, climate change and environment.
  • Literacy - Structure of language.
  • RE - Festivals and celebrations.
  • Computer Science/ICT - Advantages and disadvantages of technology (bullying, mental health, danger).
  • Geography - climate change and environment.

We develop students’ Cultural Capital whilst studying languages and exploring the cultures presented by those speaking the languages. We also offer additional language learning opportunities in clubs such as Spanish club, French film club and additionally taster sessions in languages spoken by our students. Students have had opportunities to visit universities to experience language learning outside of the classroom as well as a taster of a local further and higher education environment. Additionally, a bi-annual trip to France takes place for students in years 8 and 9 which has included visits to the battlefields and Northern France, and Paris. The trip to France has enabled students to develop their intercultural understanding with their need to adapt to a different culture during the visit e.g. language, currency, food.

Students are encouraged to engage in wider opportunities in languages such as:

  • reading relevant to French such as newspaper articles and news bulletins. 
  • the opportunity to borrow short stories in other languages or ask for literary reading recommendations.
  • using online resources such as YouTube and Netflix to access appropriate media in other languages or about other cultures.
  • using apps to extend their language learning such as DuoLingo.