At Berwick Middle School in Key Stage 2, pupils study one lesson of French per week. In Year 5, pupils study the topic of ‘Moi’ where they study greetings, personal descriptions, numbers, family and animals. Pupils develop intercultural understanding throughout the course, in particular when studying about other nationalities. Pupils are given the opportunities to compare and contrast their own language and culture with others, developing their knowledge of language and also language-learning strategies. Pupils learn through role plays, songs, conversations and games. In Year 6, topics studied are ‘A la Maison’ and ‘L’Année.’ In this, pupils develop intercultural understanding through gaining an insight into the main events celebrated in France. Pupils study about where they live, food and drink and the weather. Pupils have the opportunity to perform in front of others and record their own conversations, building on their knowledge about the language and also continuing to develop language-learning strategies.
In Key Stage 2, pupils work individually, in pairs and in groups and are regularly encouraged to peer and self-assess their work. Pupils are taught in the target language and are encouraged to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens in accordance with our school ethos which is ‘Be involved, Make a difference and Strive to succeed.’ ICT is used within the department to enhance pupils’ learning. Assessment opportunities are planned throughout the year and data is used to track the progress of the individual and inform future planning.
In Key Stage 3, pupils study two lessons of French per week. Topic areas studied in Year 7 are ‘En Ville,’ ‘À l’Ecole,’ ‘Le Sport’ and ‘Au Boulot.’ In this, pupils develop intercultural understanding through gaining an insight into the Geography of France and developing an awareness as to where in the world French is spoken. Pupils study all about the town including directions, at the tourist office and asking for food and drinks. Pupils also study sport and leisure activities as well as the world of work. Pupils have the opportunity to perform and record their own conversations, building on their prior linguistic competence and developing their communication skills. Topic areas covered in Year 8 are ‘Le Corps,’ ‘Temps Libre,’ ‘Les Sorties,’ ‘Manger et Boire’ and ‘En Vacances.’ In this, pupils study all about free time activities, going out, food and drink and holidays. In the summer term, pupils work on a group ‘Cultures and Traditions’ project to help them develop their research skills. They also have sample lessons in Spanish and German to prepare them for those all-important next steps and understand the links in languages.
In Key Stage 3, there is an emphasis on developing communication strategies to increase pupils’ ability to cope successfully with unknown words. Strategies include using the context to deduce the meaning, using grammatical knowledge (to identify a tense for example), looking for word patterns or looking for cognates and near-cognates. Pupils also work on a variety of non-verbal strategies.
In addition to lessons, all pupils have access to Linguascope. This is an online platform of activities designed to reinforce language in a fun way. Pupils can work on all skill areas as well as taking online tests and printing their own worksheets.