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“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages opens every door along the way.” Frank Smith


MFL Curriculum Intent

As Essa, we value the impact language learning can have. We know that lots of our children already speak a second language at home and we aim to build on the knowledge and skills they already have to become confident French linguists, with a greater awareness of life in the French-speaking world. Our well-planned curriculum allows the children to develop a rich knowledge of vocabulary, introduces them to a vast cultural knowledge to establish a meaningful context for learning, and exposes them to the key language learning skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. We aim for the children to develop enthusiasm for language learning, including seeing their value in later life, increase the children’s global awareness, awaken an interest in different cultures and give children more confidence communicating in another language. Language learning at Essa gives children a solid foundation for further study at KS3; the majority of our children transfer to Essa Academy, where they can continue to learn French or transfer their language learning skills to a different language.


The children develop their understanding of the French language through learning key facts about the French speaking world and key vocabulary linked to the content of the unit (substantive knowledge). They also develop the linguistic skills, grammar and phonics necessary to use their substantive knowledge effectively (disciplinary knowledge).


The knowledge and skills that the children develop are progressive from Year 3 to Year 6 and language is learnt on a loop. Lessons allow children to constantly revisit and build on prior knowledge, with each year’s substantive and disciplinary knowledge building on previous learning. Regular opportunities for recall enable children to build knowledge over time. When selecting the content of the curriculum, teachers have taken into account what the children need based on their prior knowledge and experiences. Although formal language learning only begins in Year 3, the foundations for language learning are started in Reception and continue through Key stage One, where children are exposed to French vocabulary and begin to develop listening and speaking skills that will be needed to access language learning in Key stage 2.

To ensure that this progression is embedded, we use ‘Big Ideas’ as ‘golden threads’.

The ‘Big Ideas’ for MFL are:

·       Listening

·       Speaking

·       Reading

·       Writing

·       Culture​​


These golden threads run through our curriculum planning and each big idea is taught in each unit to allow children to be exposed to all the important elements of language learning at the same time. Careful consideration is given to building a scheme a of vocabulary but our curriculum is not about learning vocabulary in isolation, but about developing children’s understanding of language learning through a blended approach of knowledge and skills.

Regular opportunities are built in throughout our whole curriculum for retrieval practice and this is particularly important in MFL as research shows that children need to be exposed to a word up to 15 times before it is internalised. Our MFL curriculum is built on the premise of keep up, not catch up and there are regular opportunities for children to revisit and summarise their learning throughout a unit and over time. We recognise that with a high proportion of EAL children, there are challenges to language learning for all. Although research has shown that language learning can actually aid acquisition of English skills, we recognise that some children may still need adaptations to access the MFL curriculum. These adaptations might include:

- use alternative methods of recording such as speech to text technology

- has extra time to help with processing and organising ideas

- has a scribe to support with recording


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MFL Curriculum Implementation

The curriculum is built on the foundation of three ‘Es’:

Entitlement or core curriculum offer

Whilst children’s formal MFL education begins in KS2, the development of language skills begins in EYFS and KS1. Children in this stage of their education learn simple vocabulary and begin their language learning journey through being exposed to songs, rhymes and stories with familiar themes.


In KS2, MFL is delivered weekly and elements of each big idea are featured in every lesson. The elements are progressive across each stage o learning. All teachers are non-native speakers and a scheme of work ‘Primary Languages Network’ is used to support teachers’ subject knowledge and delivery. For non-language speakers, the scheme provides video lessons which enable exposure to native speakers who model correct pronunciation and support less confident teachers. For those teachers with some knowledge of the French language, sound files and comprehensive presentations help them to structure lessons and ensure high quality teaching and learning. The scheme also offers online CPD and an upskilling app to support staff with language teaching. A variety of high quality books, songs and resources are available to support language learning.



Children who demonstrate a love of languages have the opportunity to develop this in a number of ways:

·       Mother Tongue day each year gives the children the opportunity to share their home languages

·       Termly language club allows children to meet and talk in other languages



Children who excel in languages have the opportunity to pursue their talents in a number of ways:

·       Links with the language department at Essa Academy

·       Culture department forms part of the pupil leadership team

·       Opportunity to run a student-led club

·       Opportunity to have their work featured at our weekly ‘Proud’



All of our school community (staff, senior leaders, governors and children are involved in measuring the impact of our Science curriculum in different ways. This is planned for through the School Development Plan, and using our annual monitoring cycle and termly development plan to map out monitoring and review over the year.


Impact is measured by:

-       Collecting data from formative assessments (whole-class quizzes, assessment cups, exit tickets)

-       Pupil voice to determine what children have remembered over time 

-       Staff voice to determine effectiveness of provided planning and the impact of professional development

-       Parent voice in our annual survey

-       Reviewing learning in sketch books

-       Reviewing progress made against steps to success each lesson and across a sequence of lessons

-       Governor visits to evaluate different areas of Art


An impact statement is written each term by subject leaders to assess effectiveness of current provision, progress against objectives on action plans and inform and identify next steps.

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