St Joseph's Catholic Primary Academy, Healds Road, Dewsbury, WF13 4HY

01924 462053

St Josephs Catholic Primary Academy

We are proud to work with all the Catholic schools across our two local authority areas, particularly as the Trust grows and benefits from the expertise and knowledge that other schools joining in the future will bring.

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Languages - French

'Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.'

Roger Bacon

Our Vision for MFL at St Joseph's

At St Joseph's it is our vision that languages are for life. We believe that the learning of a foreign language should foster children’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. It provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for pupils. Studying languages is seen as a vital part of our pupils' education as languages are part of the cultural richness of our society. Learning French contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Pupil's at St Joseph's are encouraged to learn and appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. Being able to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education and employment in this country. Through participating in French lessons, pupils raise their awareness of our multicultural and multilingual world and gives them an insight into their own culture and that of others. Learning a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links within other subjects across school. 

Curriculum Intent for MFL

The teaching of MFL is inspired by the Salut! scheme of work and long term plan to support the teaching and learning of French which matches the National Curriculum, however we adapt our curriculum as necessary. Topics have been carefully sequenced to build upon the knowledge and skills needed to speak French. Through KS2, MFL is taught in discrete lessons with every opportunity taken to develop French knowledge and skills.  The teaching of French in KS2 provides an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and lays the foundations for further foreign language teaching at KS3. Children are also given regular opportunities to revisit prior knowledge from previous year groups and within year groups to embed knowledge into their long term memory (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014).

Even though teaching a modern foreign language is not statutory in EYFS, pupils will experience MFL through the 'Understand the World' strand. When looking at 'The World' and 'People and their Communities' pupils may learn key spoken phrases of different places. Pupils are also encouraged to answer the register using a language of their choice and can be exposed to languages through songs. EYFS pupils will also have the opportunity to learn about the French culture through our French theme days. 

In Key Stage 1 teaching MFL is also not statutory however, pupils will experience MFL through spoken phrases through the areas that they study. Again, pupils are encouraged to answer the register using a language of their choice and can be exposed to languages through songs. Pupils will begin to learn French phrases and words that will help introduce them to a new language. KS1 pupils will also have the opportunity to learn about the French culture through our French theme days. 

In Lower Key Stage 2 (Stage 1&2), the principal focus of MFL teaching is to revisit basic French phrases such as 'hello' and 'goodbye' and introduce them to basic language like colours, numbers and simple topic based units in Year 3 (Phase 1). Once children move into Year 4 (Phase 2), they progress onto learning some more varied language and sentence structures, including sentences in the third person. Children in Year 4 will also be encouraged to start writing the date in French in their French books and will continue to do so throughout the rest of their French lessons during their time at St Joseph's. 

In Upper Key Stage 2 (Stage 3&4), Stage 3 contains more complex vocabulary and sentence structures. Children will learn to use adjectives to add detail to their sentences, and talk about their environment, holidays and jobs for the future. Stage 4 gives children a taste of other tenses. Using the perfect and near future tenses, children will talk about what they've seen and done, and what they're going to do in the future. 

The Long Term planning for MFL can be found below:

Long Term plan for MFL

The importance of Culture and Vocabulary

Culture is important in language learning. In the 21st century, MFL is about intercultural inquiry through learned languages. Culture is important in language learning and language is important in culture-learning. Both are enhanced by a critical appreciation of what the language is and why it is so.  (

Talk is the underlying key factor in the development of MFL. In learning a new language, pupils reproduce sounds, create phrases and sentences, and engage in simple conversations. Learning a new language helps pupils with numerous skills and makes pupils aware that different languages have different sounds. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication - listening, speaking, reading and writing. Vocabulary is critical to a child's success for these reasons. In every KS2 classroom at St Joseph's, key French vocabulary will be displayed throughout the year with key words they have studied or are currently studying in both French and English. Classroom equipment will also be labelled. Pupils throughout school will learn all about the French culture during our French themed day - Bastille Day which takes place during the Summer term.

Curriculum Implementation for MFL

The six-part lesson for MFL

MFL topics are taught once a term alternating with Art in KS2. Our MFL curriculum is on a 2 year rolling cycle.  MFL lessons are delivered over six lessons. The structure of a typical MFL lesson at St Joseph's follows a six-part lesson which includes:

  1. Retrieval practise: Pupils will practice key knowledge from the previous unit of work (or the previous lesson if in Year 3). This is to help move this knowledge into the long term memory. It is also an assessment tool for teachers. This activity can be practical or written and can be completed independently, in pairs or in a group. 

  2. Learn new words: Children are given a copy of the 'New Word List' at the beginning of each lesson to copy out the new French phrases they will be learning during that lesson. Each lesson includes two different screens for teaching the key vocabulary - 'Present Vocab' and 'Review Vocab'. During the 'Present Vocab' part of the lesson, children get to grips with the new vocabulary. The screen displays each item of vocabulary individually on its own page and you can click 'listen' to hear the word being spoken in French, in which the children repeat the phrase using 'My Turn, Your Turn'.  The 'Review Vocab' screen allows children to work with all the words for the lesson at once and works like a set of flashcards. The cards have a 'Flipmode' and children can test their new French knowledge by looking at the picture and repeating the word in French. 

  3. Games: Each lesson in Salut! has a selection of games that draw on listening, reading and memory skills. The listening games include; 'Beat that Bee!', 'Hit It!' and 'Trolley Dash'. Word games include; 'Spell it!', 'Hangman', 'Noughts and Crosses', 'Snap' and 'Pick a Pair'. 

  4. Now put them in a sentence: Speaking and writing in sentences is a key part of the Programme of Study. So in each lesson, there's a 'Question & Answer' screen where the new vocabulary is put in a conversational context. 

  5. Independent task: Pupils may work independently, in pairs or small groups to complete a task or tasks linked to the Key Learning. Activities may be scaffolded for different groups of learners. Children are also challenged to further their learning during an 'Extension' tasked, linked with the days lesson. 

  6. Plenary: Pupils will have the chance to reflect on their learning that day work may be celebrated. A discussion question may be used. Reference to our Global Driver word for the half term may also be used (where appropriate). 

As an additional lesson, each unit has a song lesson which involves singing along with songs in French using the karaoke screen. This is usually the first lesson of the unit. Song lessons have all the same features as a normal lesson, plus a song. 

At the end of each unit, there is a story lesson. This story draws together some of the vocabulary learnt earlier in the unit. 


It is important that we are exposing children to concepts (words) within subjects and studying them in more depth in order to strengthen their understanding of topics and allow them to build on knowledge acquired in previous year groups. The stronger a child’s understanding of a certain word is, the more likely they will be able to attach new vocabulary and knowledge on top (Marcus Jones, Huntington Research School).

Vocabulary is the foundation of language. 'Vocabulary is important because it is the basis of all language. It's the raw building blocks that we can use to express our thoughts and ideas, share information, understand others and grow personal relationships' (textinspector)

At St. Joseph’s, key vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each lesson. This will include Tier 2 (vocabulary linked to the subject area) and Tier 3 (specific vocabulary for that lesson or unit) vocabulary. New words are discussed and potentially modelled within the lesson. There is an expectation that all pupils use the correct vocabulary within full sentences. 

As this is a new language for our pupils as they enter Key Stage 2, there is a lot of new vocabulary for the pupils to learn. Please see the Tier 2 vocabulary list below:

Tier 2 Vocabulary list


The importance of Knowledge in MFL

‘Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.’ (Amanda Spielman)

Studying French helps us to understand different languages and cultures from around the world. Units/topics in MFL have been carefully sequenced to build upon prior knowledge as well as developing new knowledge in a succinct way. Teachers are familiar with where the units/topics fit in pupils’ educational journey at St Joseph’s and refer to progression grids when planning a unit of work. When using Salut! to inform planning, teachers highlight key knowledge that they want pupils to learn and create bespoke knowledge organisers to support the development of this knowledge across the unit. Knowledge organisers include: previous knowledge that relates to the unit; key knowledge for the topic; aspirations for the future relating to the unit studied; glossary and key vocabulary needed for the topic. These are available in every French lesson for pupils to refer back to..

Pupils demonstrate their knowledge through a depth of understanding. Where appropriate, a depth of understanding can be evoked through a bank of questions which teachers can quickly and effectively incorporate into their lessons, as done with core subjects e.g. What's the same/what's different about...? Explain why/how... What's the misconception with this statement about...?

Find below the progression of Knowledge in MFL:

Knowledge Progression grid for MFL

Assessment in MFL

Teachers use Assessment for Learning throughout their lessons through questioning. Teachers will formatively assess pupils against the Key Learning using pupils' Key Learning stickers. If a pupil has met the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with a green highlighter. If a pupil is working towards the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with orange and green. If a pupil needs further work against the Key Learning, the teachers will highlight the Key Learning orange and there will be further evidence of an intervention before the next lesson. Teachers will also note on the Key Learning whether the pupil has had teacher/teaching assistant support to inform formative assessment. At the end of the unit, teachers will make a judgement whether the pupil is working at, below or above the National Curriculum expectations for their year group and this will be logged throughout the year on Insight. Subject leaders will then analyse the data from these assessments to track the progress of pupils and spot any patterns between groups.

Curriculum Impact for MFL

Through the high quality first teaching of French taking place, we will see the impact of the subject in the following ways:

  • Children will become aware that a language has structure, and that the structure differs from one language to another. 

  • Children will develop their language and communication through development of the four key skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. 

  • Children will enrich their language learning by developing an understanding of the French culture.

  • Children will transfer to KS3 effectively and successfully and will be well prepared to continue and develop their language skills. 

The MFL subject leader will continually monitor the impact MFL teaching is having on the children’s learning, through work scrutinies, to ensure the progress of knowledge and skills is being taught.  They will also ensure the knowledge taught is retained by the children through pupil voice and is continually revisited and that the learners are able to apply the skills they have been taught to a variety of different settings, showing independence with their learning. 

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