Languages at Blakehill
At Blakehill Primary School, we have designed our Modern Foreign Languages (MFLs) curriculum around our children so that it excites and engages our pupils, opening their eyes to the amazing possibilities that learning a second language provides. The intent, our ambition, is that all pupils at Blakehill, in every class, in every year group, will develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity around learning a language, finding it enjoyable, stimulating and purposeful.
We understand that whilst some of our children have the opportunity to listen, speak, read and write a second language, either at home or abroad, a large majority do not. We aim to overcome this barrier, providing each and every child with the chance to learn a second language. To achieve this, we have developed an incremental, step-by-step curriculum offer, teaching key linguistic skills over time across Key Stage 2. To support teachers, here at Blakehill we use 'Language Angels' a sequenced, fully resourced scheme of learning which can be adapted to the needs of our pupils. Learning a second language will offer our pupils the opportunity to explore the relationships that exist between language and identity, developing a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them. By doing so, it is our firm belief that, over time, our pupils will develop a better awareness of themselves, others and the cultural bonds, the similarities and differences, that exist throughout our communities. The intention is that the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages for our pupils is the beginning of a journey; a journey to become a life-long language learner.
All classes throughout Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) have access to a high-quality, enriching Modern Foreign Languages curriculum using the ‘Language Angels’ scheme of work and resources. Lessons are taught by Class Teachers / Higher Level Teaching Assistants and / or the school’s Language Specialist, Mrs. Brown. Lessons provided by 'Language Angels' act as a guide for teachers and are easily adaptable in light of pupil responses or specific pupil needs. Our focus language throughout Key Stage 2 is Spanish.
Here at Blakehill, we have a unit planner in place which serves as an overall ‘teaching map’ outlining what each class in each year group will be taught and when.
- Each teaching unit is divided into 6 fully planned lessons.
- Each unit and lesson has clearly defined objectives and aims.
- Each lesson incorporates interactive whiteboard materials, including ample speaking and listening tasks.
- Each lesson incorporates challenge sections, with different levels of differentiation.
- Reading and writing activities are offered in all units. Some extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers can also be catered for.
- Every unit will include a grammar concept.
Pupils at Blakehill progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes, building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic written and oral pieces.
The planning of different levels of challenge (as demonstrated in the various ‘Language Angels’ Teaching Type categories) and which units to teach at each stage of the academic year are addressed dynamically and are reviewed in detail annually as units are updated and added to the scheme. Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge and stretch are taught at all times to ensure pupils learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language they are learning. Teachers will use pre and post task exercises to check pupil understanding, providing support and challenge where necessary.
Our teachers and teaching assistants receive regular training and support from subject leaders and 'Language Angels' so that their daily teaching reflects evidence based, successful best practice. To ensure consistency and progression from year group to year group, Blakehill uses 'Language Angel' scheme as a spine which is then adapted by teachers to meet the needs of children in their class.
At Blakehill, we regularly listen and adapt our approach based on the needs and viewpoints of our children. Subject leaders regularly 'check in' with pupils through the dedicated Modern Foreign Languages Subject Council, as well as, more widely. For example, pupils had commented that they would like more time to learn Spanish. As a result, the decision was made to provide discrete, daily Spanish lessons, rather than carousel based activities. As a school, we also regularly 'enrich' our curriculum, providing our children with opportunities to expand and broaden their understanding of Spanish life and culture For example, a whole school 'Spanish day' is scheduled to take place in the Summer term, bringing to life the wonderful colours, sounds and tastes of Spain.
We celebrate success in Modern Foreign Languages in a variety of different ways including whole school celebration awards and individualized 'Marvellous Me' messages to parents.
As part of our recovery curriculum, we have adapted our Modern Foreign Languages curriculum at Blakehill Primary School for the 2020 / 2021 academic year. Teachers will recap key themes / ideas that pupils may have missed as a result of lockdown from their previous year group. This will ensure all pupils build up the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to succeed in their current year group.
In addition to our weekly Spanish lessons, Blakehill also offers two after school clubs for pupils. The first, for pupils in Key Stage 1, introduces pupils to language learning and basic Spanish phrases. The second, for pupils in Key Stage 2, builds upon pupil’s initial language skills. These two clubs are ran by our external Spanish teacher.
Our pupils also show a rapidly widening repertoire of language skills, developed during their language teaching throughout Key Stage 2 (focusing on reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening) which they use to communicate increasingly effectively. They develop a linguistic understanding underpinned by a knowledge of how language ‘works’ and how they can begin to link their language learning to that of English (or their native language) and other languages.