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Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

We are multilingual communicators...

'One language sets you in the corridor of life. Two languages open every door along the way.' Frank Smith 


'A different language is a different vision of life.' Federico Fellini

French Statement of Curriculum Intent



Bonjour! bienvenue au coeur du bois  (Hello! welcome to Heartwood)


At Heartwood CE VC Primary School, we want to promote a love of learning languages and a fascination for how language works. We teach MFL in Key Stage 2 as the entitlement set out in the National Curriculum 2014. We also intend to provide rich and engaging extra-curricular learning in MFL  that may include EYFS and Key Stage 1. Our focus language is French because Swaffham is twinned with the town of Couhe in France and as a Swaffham school we believe it is important to share a role in fostering the friendships and understanding of twinned towns.


We use the programme Rigalo to effectively teach French.


Modern Foreign Languages is passionately led by Ali Raybould who teaches French across KS2. Ali's teaching specialism is in MFL. 


Reading and Writing

Our intent is for all children to leave Heartwood with a good understanding of how to read words in French with accurate pronunciation. This is implemented through formal and explicit teaching through a deliberate and systematic approach to French phonics, vocabulary, and grammar. All teachers, even if they are not teaching the main language lesson, ensure that French is used where appropriate throughout the school day, providing further opportunities for language development and consolidation. Whenever we teach a group of words or a list of vocabulary, we focus pupils’ attention on the sound-spelling link, so that pupils become increasingly confident at decoding as they move through Key Stage 2. In teaching grapheme-phoneme correspondence, we focus on both individual letters (particularly those with accents that affect pronunciation) and on common graphemes (e.g oi – noir, au revoir, bon soir, trois). These are introduced gradually across four years of study with teaching identifying common sounds across rhyme or through song.


We want our children to know that the word order in French may be different to the word order in English and be able to use a bilingual dictionary. Our children should be confident in learning vocabulary and understanding how to commit words to memory. Children appreciate the importance of learning high-frequency language at Heartwood and the French curriculum encourages this by fostering the love of reading and cultivating opportunities to read and appreciate stories, poems and rhymes in French.


Our children will have the opportunity to understand and respond to language from authentic sources and will be confident to write in French, integrating new language into previously learned language. They will be partnered as pen pals with children of similar ages and interests in Sark. Children in Upper KS2 will practice writing the day and date in French throughout the week to ensure regular use and relevance of the language and respond to their daily register in French.


 It is intended that pupils will confidently be able to apply their phonic knowledge by the end of Year 6 and attempt to read unfamiliar vocabulary with increasing accuracy. This ensures that pupils join Key Stage 3 with a good ‘grounding’ in key pronunciation rules, which supports very effective transition to further language study. Good links with local high schools are made to ensure that children transitioning from Heartwood are eager to continue learning languages with high levels of skill and ambition.


Speaking and Listening

We want our children to be confident in pronouncing common graphemes, developing confidence with pronunciation and intonation. They will listen to a variety of French materials both during French lessons and during class reading times. The Rigolo programme offers listening opportunities to children in every French lesson.


Developing Grammatical Understanding

We want our children to understand the key concepts of gender and adjectival agreement and appreciate how language works, recognising the relationship between subject and verb. We want our children to have fluency in using high frequency verbs to form sentences e.g. when describing family – J’ai un frère, il a 8 ans. Je suis petite. Our children need to understand how gender affects other words within a sentence: une grande maison. The programme carefully maps these skills to build upon the procedural knowledge that children need to move into the next stages of learning French.


The Future

We are ambitious for our children to become linguists who are curious to understand the language and keen to explore French and other languages as they move to Key Stage 3. We have exciting opportunities planned to enrich our children's French learning and enhance their cultural experiences as they progress through KS2.

French is taught across KS2 by a teacher who has a specialism in Modern Foreign Languages and French.

The 2014 Primary National Curriculum once again made learning a foreign language compulsory at Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6). Schools are free to choose whether to teach an ancient or a modern language; it is much more about language learning skills than the particular language on offer. Your child could therefore learn French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Arabic or even Latin — the choices are endless! However, once your child begins secondary school the teaching of a modern foreign language is compulsory. 


By studying a foreign language, children are given the opportunity not only to learn about other cultures but, more importantly, to communicate with others too. It is also a thoroughly enjoyable subject to learn, with less emphasis on the written word and more on practical tasks, such as drama, story-telling, role-play, speaking and listening.


Key Stage 2

All children in Key Stage 2 are expected to be given opportunities to learn how to:

  • communicate orally
  • share their ideas and feelings using speech
  • compare their use of English grammar and spelling to another language
  • express some ideas in writing

The curriculum no longer sets out topics or units of work to cover; instead it outlines what children should be taught under more general headings. Some of these include:

  • Listening to a language and joining in to learn everyday words and phrases
  • Learning how to have conversations in another language to share ideas and opinions as well as being able to ask and answer questions
  • Reading texts and stories in another language, carrying out basic comprehension tasks
  • Learning songs, poems, rhymes and stories in another language to help with vocabulary but also with cultural understanding
  • Writing some words and phrases from memory as well as describing people and places with basic sentences

Each school is free to teach this content however it chooses but most will choose a range of everyday and routine topics such as numbers, colours, greetings, family, animals, school, travel, or other similar subjects that seem appropriate. Year 3 can often be the first time a child will learn a foreign language and in this year group they might just use speech and limited written tasks to learn the basics. As they move up from Year 3 children will see much more of the written language and build on their early skills, allowing them to speak, write and listen with much more skill.

How do we ensure all children can access French lessons?


French, through the Rigolo programme, is taught using a range of strategies to support children with SEND. These include adopting a multisensory approach, engaging kinaesthetic as well as visual and auditory learning styles; presenting subject matter in a structured and explicit manner; dividing lessons into digestible “bite-size chunks” with slower learning steps; providing opportunities for “over-learning” key points through a variety of follow-up activities; deploying memory strategies to assist vocabulary and grammar retention; making allowances for shorter concentration spans; showing sensitivity when eliciting student responses; encouraging metacognitive – “learning how to learn” – strategies and thinking skills to promote student autonomy; and dispensing praise and rewards to maintain motivation and self-esteem.