National Curriculum aims and purpose
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils 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.
- 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
- write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using a variety of grammatical structures
discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied
School curriculum aims
Learning a new language opens doors and broadens our outlook on the world. It helps us to move a step closer to understanding what it would like to walk in the shoes of others, and to develop a more rounded view of both the world and our place within it. For our children, in particular, it helps us all to understand the challenges that those in our class and our community for whom English is not the first language face everyday - and to better appreciate those around us who are fluent in multiple languages.
Language learning also, of course, has an obvious practical value for 21st century citizens who live in ever-more interlinked world. Whilst it is easy to sit in the UK and believe that ‘everyone’ speaks English, the process of learning another language and discovering more about other cultures reminds us that around 80% of the world do not speak the same language as us (and only about 5% speak it as their first language). By the time they leave our school, we want our children to be able to sustain simple conversations, to carry out simple tasks and to respond to texts in another language. We have chosen to focus on French, as this is the language most commonly taught in local secondary schools, and therefore provides a solid platform for future learning.
Finally, learning another language is invaluable for moving beyond stereotypical views of the culture of a country, and discovering that the similarities are as striking as the differences. It provides opportunities to look at shared values and aspirations, such as personal liberty, democracy and the rule of law, and to discover that, while British Values are not universal, they are mirrored in the ideals and values of many other countries