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Our Context

Our children live close to Bournemouth, a vibrant multicultural town which plays host to many tourists, students and residents who speak other languages. Within our school community we are lucky to have staff and children who speak more than one language.   Our curriculum is designed to develop children’s understanding of, and respect for, other cultures and languages both within the United Kingdom and abroad.


At Ferndown First School we believe learning a foreign language gives children an understanding of the world and an opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the cultures around them. This links with our school values of Respect and Community. We believe children should have the opportunity to communicate in another language in both speech and in writing, for practical purposes. This links with our school value of Aspiration. Language teaching aims to provide a foundation for further language study, and to enable children to eventually have the skills and confidence to visit, work and study in another country. At Ferndown First School, our children focus on learning French in Key Stage 2.

In a nutshell, ‘Learning a foreign language provides an opening to other cultures.’


Big Ideas and Progression

  • Modern Foreign Languages is taught through the big ideas Phonics, Vocabulary, Grammar and Intercultural Understanding.
  • The interplay of these big ideas form the progression children need to understand and produce language.
  • The four modalities that bring these big ideas together are the regular practice of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Progression in language knowledge and skills is evident in our progression document.
  • Lessons are delivered in a number of different ways. Some lessons are shorter and more oral practice discussion based, whereas some are longer with evidence recorded in French books. Lessons involve paired, group and independent learning.
  • Conversations and speaking practice play a large part in the lessons.
  • A long term plan has been created which provides opportunities for progression and repetition of skills and knowledge. Our long term plan fits in with coverage in Ferndown Middle School.
  • Medium term planning is given to all staff which has been developed by the MFL lead using the Catherine Cheater scheme as a guide. This scheme was chosen to tie in with the same scheme being used at Ferndown Middle School.
  • Medium term planning identifies key knowledge and skills that are taught and assessed at the end of a unit.

Metacognition and Pedagogy

  • Research shows that children do not learn another language at school in the same way they learnt their first language as a toddler. Explicit instruction and practice is required.
  • Language teaching should not be rote learning of vocabulary. Children are encouraged to use and generate their own language using the knowledge and skills they are taught.
  • French lessons are taught weekly with opportunities for brief practice through songs and games throughout the week.
  • A spiral approach to the curriculum is followed, with regular opportunities for retrieval and spaced practice. This helps children retain their learning in their long term memory.
  • Lessons are made accessible for all. As a school we use professional judgement as to whether a minority of our SEND learners are ready for French phonics. Where there is a risk that this will negatively impact their English phonics, a decision may be made to reduce exposure to that specific part of the French lesson.

Developing Early Language Skills KS1

Through Geography lessons in Year 1 and Year 2, children begin to learn about our place in the world. They contrast our local area with another country and use maps to learn about different locations. This supports children to understand that different places have different people and cultures, which underpins the Intercultural Understanding in MFL. Children are exposed to, and encouraged to celebrate, different cultures throughout the year. This could be through whole school events like assembly themes and subject themed days. Through RE lessons in Year 1 and Year 2, children learn about different religions and cultures. They learn about respect and tolerance. This forms a foundation for studying another language with maturity and understanding


At Ferndown First School we aim to develop linguists who:

  • Are confident to speak with good intonation and pronunciation.
  • Are Fluent in reading.
  • Show Fluency and imagination in their writing.
  • Have a strong awareness of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken.
  • Show passion for languages and a commitment to the subject.
  • Are able to use language creatively and spontaneously.
  • Are independent in their studies and are able to draw upon a wide range of resources.