Lead Teacher – Mrs S East

Purpose of study

Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster student’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable students to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping students to study and work in other countries.


Our curriculum aims to ensure that all students:

  • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
  • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied


When students join Settlebeck School in Year 7, they have had differing experience of language learning at KS2. Some will have had specialist language teachers in primary school and some will have had non-specialist MFL teachers. Therefore, students arrive with wide ranging experiences, knowledge, understanding and skills. Furthermore, the languages offered at our feeder primary schools vary but the majority of students start secondary school with some knowledge and understanding about how a language works and how to learn a modern foreign language. Lack of cultural diversity within our rural community means that the languages curriculum plays a significant role in broadening their horizons and ensuring that they learn about other cultures.


In order to succeed in French, they need to learn to;


  • Become enthusiastic but adaptable languages learners who can transfer the many skills they learn in MFL into other areas/subjects. The understanding of language structures and grammar can be helpful in all subjects where essay writing is key
  • Develop into learners who can think for themselves and can work independently and who are confident linguists.
  • Have an understanding of and respect for other cultures and places.
  • Progressively develop skills in languages. Their knowledge of the language will increase and this knowledge will help to problem solve new language syntax and grammar.


  • Acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics but focused around opinions and justifications. For example, when they learn a new topic, they will use their knowledge of opinions and justifications to talk about the topic.


  • Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding with accuracy and confidence.
  • Explore the patterns and sounds of language through reading aloud and repeating pronunciation and make the connection between the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • Understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine and masculine forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English

Students learn French in a wide range of ways. Students begin by learning vocabulary and how to use it within basic sentences. They learn to give opinions and justify them around a range of topic areas. As students progress through the curriculum, they learn and use a wider range of vocabulary and apply it within more complex written and spoken responses, using a range of tenses. An expert in languages is able to use their knowledge to deal effectively with unknown content or situations.


Students learn topic-based content in the form of sentences and then build up their skills by adding opinions and justifications. From Year 7 onwards they use the concept of CROISSANT and ‘Big Gains for Little Effort’. As they progress through their language learning these concepts will have added complexity as we introduce more in-depth vocabulary and also the idea of a ‘Phrase of the Day’. They learn to talk in the past and future tense at an early stage in their learning with the past tense coming close after the present tense. We have recognised that the past tense is the tense that we use most frequently to communicate when speaking to a range of audiences.

In Year 7 and 8 students develop their knowledge of topic-based vocabulary, apply their understanding by using the vocabulary in sentences and to give opinions and justifications. Students learn to use the mnemonic CROISSANT, to develop the accuracy of their written French through the use of Connectives, Reasons, Opinions, Intensifiers, Sophisticated structures, Sentence starters, Adjectives, Negative Structures and Tenses. As students progress through the curriculum, they can use increasingly more complex connectives, reasons, opinions, intensifiers, sophisticated structures, sentence starters, adjectives, negative structures and tenses. Students learn to talk and write in the past and future tenses from Year 7, as the past tense is most frequently used when speaking to a range of audiences. In KS4 students learn to accurately and confidently speak, read and write using the perfect, imperfect, future and complex future tenses. It is important that students understand and know how the language works and should be able to formulate phrases and sentences. They should be confident with the formation of opinions and justifications in order to access the assessments.


Students should also have a working knowledge of the basics of grammar, for example correct word order, gender, plurality, prepositions, definite and indefinite articles. The curriculum is designed and sequenced so it allows students to develop their knowledge and skills in all these areas. The curriculum develops the four key skills involved in language learning. Listening skills are developed by listening to authentic French speakers, the teacher and other students. Their speaking skills are developed through answering and asking questions in the target language. They have the opportunity to read a variety of texts in French and show their understanding in a range of ways. These reading activities link to the development of their writing skills as this helps with spelling and modelling of written French.


When designing our curriculum, we have considered the individual needs of our students. To ensure that students with SEND have the opportunity to develop the same knowledge and skills as their peers, we adopt a range of strategies within the classroom such as scaffolding and tiered questioning. This enables them to develop confidence as well as the knowledge and skills they need to progress.

Student’s knowledge, skills and understanding are assessed in a variety of ways in French. All lessons have an element of formative assessment to ensure that students are progressing and so any misconceptions can be addressed quickly. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are assessed throughout each topic, through targeted questioning, skill-based tasks and written tasks with summative assessments 3 times a year. Where necessary the curriculum is adapted as a result of the assessment outcomes.