Our languages coordinator is Madame Ponts (Mrs Bridges), an experienced primary school teacher with a degree in French and Spanish and a background in teaching languages. She spends every summer travelling to France to brush up on her French skills! We also have an enthusiastic team of teachers who are keen to develop their language skills and embed languages across the curriculum, having travelled to Spain in February 2016 to experience a bilingual teaching programme.
We use the Language Angels scheme of work to deliver French. Pupils receive one lesson a week, which is consolidated by practising language learnt in small chunks. We emphasize fun, enjoyment and active involvement to promote children's natural enthusiasm for language acquisition. Children start lessons in Year 3 and we follow the new Programme of Study for Languages at KS2, which addresses skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Phonics is introduced early on so that children become independent readers and develop accurate pronunciation. We believe that language learning reinforces literacy skills and we aim to prepare our pupils for confident and competent transition to KS3. Learning a language opens up an exciting new world of customs, culture and opportunities, as the poem below by Olivia McMahon so aptly describes:
Learning a language
Is like doing a jigsaw puzzle
Of a million pieces
With a picture that keeps changing.
It's like getting lost in a foreign city without a map.
It's like playing tennis without a ball,
like being an ant in a field of grasshoppers.
It's like being an acrobat with a broken leg,
An actor without a script,
A carpenter without a saw,
A storyteller without a middle or an end.
But then gradually
It's like being out in the early morning
with the mists lifting.
It's like a chink of light under a door,
like finding the glove you were looking for,
Catching the train you thought you were going to miss,
Getting an unlooked-for present,
Exchanging a smile.
And then one day it's like riding a bicycle
Very fast downhill.