Mrs Z Weatherley: Subject Lead for MFL

Miss J Heitmuller: KS3 and KS4 German and French
JasminHeitmuller@alcesteracademy.org.uk


MFL

Key Stage 3

Curriculum Intent

The aim of the KS3 MFL curriculum at Alcester Academy is to:

  • Enable students to effectively communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas on topics which are relevant to them in the Target Language. 
  • Ensure students are exposed to and use Target Language regularly as a purposeful means of communication within the classroom. 
  • Ensure challenge and rigour through the recycling of previous knowledge in every lesson to model and practise complex, more fluent production of the Target Language in new and different contexts. 
  • Offer enrichment activities which broaden students' horizons enabling them to flourish as global citizens. 
  • Fulfil the requirements of the NC at KS3. 
  • Teach grammatical knowledge with key structures to each topic, such as adjectives and time, alongside a study of knowledge which is transferable and relevant for future learning such as opinions and verb conjugation. 
  • Continual skill development will occur through the inclusion of the four key areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will make links between these areas to develop their understanding of how languages work. 
  • A range of skills within these key areas will be developed throughout each unit with repeated practice. Each assessment will be used to inform future learning in the next unit, allowing teachers to focus on areas of knowledge and understanding which may need more practice. 
  • Literacy is taught continually in French and German and the HOF liaises with the English HOF as regards to what terms students should be comfortable with. Numeracy is highlighted at every possibility. Numbers and dates are learnt as well as students having exposure of Venn diagrams, bar charts and statistics. Key words are used in each lesson. These are repeated in subsequent lessons to ensure they are committed to long-term memory. In both French and German, a word of the week and idiom of the week are displayed weekly and are alluded to in lessons.
  • Staff are encouraged to keep abreast of current issues and research in the field of MFL. At Faculty meetings, any course notes are disseminated and new initiatives discussed. 
  • Class teachers must ensure that the provided resources are differentiated for their classes and any suitable interventions for their students are put in place.

In a society with an ever-growing demand on communication skills, this subject is essential to the students at Alcester Academy. The department’s primary aims are to enable growth and confidence in learners whilst at the same time encouraging a love for languages and inquisitiveness.

The challenge within a supportive and encouraging environment where students can take risks and make mistakes as part of the learning process are at the forefront of recent changes to the KS3 curriculum, with a view to fully embrace the ethos and standards of the rest of the school. Year 7 and 8 students can then learn to become more resilient and effectively adopt coping techniques when challenges arise.

The curriculum is structured using sequences of lessons which allow for scaffolding, differentiation, spaced learning and retrieval. Grammar is built up through a series of topics which complement each other. All 4 key skills are monitored regularly through lessons which are fun and engaging. The skills that are learned at KS3 are transferred and built on at KS4. The majority of students study both French and German in year 7 and they continue with both languages until the end of year 8. They then have the opportunity to continue with one or both at KS4. The vast majority of students are encouraged and expected to take a language at GCSE. 

The discipline in learning a language compliments other subjects within the curriculum, for example retaining new vocabulary and the practise and patience needed to build resilience. Pace and challenge within lessons encourages learners to move forward with optimum support and students will receive guidance and feedback through verbal and written forms by staff and peers. 

The early part of the year 7 curriculum is predominantly concerned with speaking skills. By reflecting on how they learned their mother tongue, students are able to concentrate more effectively on pronunciation at a stage which can then allow better and more confident conversational skills at this and future levels. 

In order for students to make more informed choices when considering French and German at GCSE level we aim to provide the students with as much information as possible. Talks are delivered to the students in year 8, which provide up-to-date knowledge on the course. Experiences are offered to students throughout KS3 such as a Paris trip, a visit to the Birmingham German Christmas market, foreign plays and involvement in competitions run by Routes into Languages. In addition to this, key dates are celebrated such as European Day of Languages, Mardi Gras and Le 14 juillet. 

Curriculum Implementation (see also Long Term Plans)

KS4 topics are restricted by the exam board and therefore KS3 topics are chosen to reflect these. Topics are interleaved throughout the 5 year learning journey.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Google classroom has been used to set and mark work and to deliver online lessons. We have retained Google classroom for setting homework and for communicating with students. Those who are self-isolating continue to have daily work set here.

Students’ progress is measured in many different ways. The department follows the academy policy of reporting. There are assessments every term which test the four key skills. Key stage 3 students are assessed in many of the same ways as those studying GCSE to provide some guidance to the expectations at the next level. As a result of these assessments, intervention groups are formed and sessions implemented. Within lessons, seating plans can be adapted to allow more confident, lead learners to work closely with those needing support. Students also complete set marked tasks once per half term, which allow for more structured feedback on their progress. Students are also exposed to a variety of reading opportunities around festival days such as La Fête Nationale and Hanukkah. Newspaper articles are used as and when appropriate.

Curriculum Impact

By the end of KS3, all learners will have been exposed to two years of learning at least one language. This will supply them with the necessary tools needed to be successful at KS4. By the start of Year 9, they will have a good understanding of basic vocabulary, grammar and cultural knowledge.


Key Stage 4

Students in years 9-11 can opt to study one or both languages at GCSE. We currently teach to the AQA examination. We recommend that all students purchase a bilingual dictionary and a revision guide prior to starting the course. As a sult of lost teaching time throughout the pandemic, we have built in a bridging unit into Year 9 to ensure that students are equipped with the correct skills to be successful at GCSE. Vocabulary is tested at least fortnightly and key words and phrases are noted each lesson and are re-visited by using retrieval activities.

Curriculum Intent

The aim of the KS4 MFL curriculum at Alcester Academy is to: 

  • Enable students to effectively communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas on topics which are relevant to them in the Target Language.  
  • Ensure students are exposed to and use Target Language regularly as a purposeful means of communication within the classroom.  
  • Ensure challenge and rigour through the recycling of previous knowledge in every lesson to model and practise complex, more fluent production of the Target Language in new and different contexts.  
  • Offer enrichment activities which broaden students' horizons enabling them to flourish as global citizens. 
  • Teach grammatical knowledge with key structures to each topic, such as adjectives and time, alongside a study of knowledge which is transferable and relevant for future learning such as opinions and verb conjugation.  
  • Continual skill development will occur through the inclusion of the four key areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will make links between these areas to develop their understanding of how languages work.
  • A range of skills within these key areas will be developed throughout each unit with repeated practice. Each assessment will be used to inform future learning in the next unit, allowing teachers to focus on areas of knowledge and understanding which may need more practice.  
  • Literacy is taught continually in French and German and the HOF liaises with the English HOF as regards to what terms students should be comfortable with. Numeracy is highlighted at every possibility. Numbers and dates are revisited, money is discussed as well as students having exposure of Venn diagrams, bar charts and statistics.  
  • Staff are encouraged to keep abreast of current issues and research in the field of MFL. At Faculty meetings, any course notes are disseminated and new initiatives discussed.  
  • Class teachers must ensure that the provided resources are differentiated for their classes and any suitable interventions for their students are put in place.

The intent of the year 11 curriculum: 

    • to prepare students for the revised GCSE exam 
    • to consolidate important topics that were taught during lockdown 
    • to ensure complete coverage of topics taught by non-specialist staff 
    • to complete the AQA course to complete retrieval activities on topics from years 9 and 10 
    • to consider the new AQA resources (Fundamental skills, The Learning Gap, Rediscover Learning) 

    Class teachers will assess whether topics that have been taught during lockdown need re-visiting during revision time at the end of year 11.

Curriculum Implementation (see also Long Term Plans)

We have followed and implemented the 3 year programme suggested by AQA.  

French Curriculum Overview

Useful websites:

Curriculum impact

As a result of improved teaching and a re-vitalised faculty, the number of students continuing with a language at KS4 has more than doubled for the year 2021-2022 and we now have 2 option groups for both French and German. TAG for 2020-2021 showed improvements for both subjects with Grade 9s being achieved. A number of students have progressed to A Level MFL at local providers. Trips are slowly being re-introduced with the Paris trip booked for 2023, German marked trip running December 2021 and German exchange students visiting Alcester in 2022.

MFL Long Term Plans

French LTP Year 7 
French LTP Year 8
French LTP Year 9
French LTP Year 10
French LTP Year 11

German LTP Year 7 
German LTP Year 8
German LTP Year 9
German LTP Year 10
German LTP Year 11

Curriculum Review 

Curriculum review undertaken on Thursday 18 March 2021 by David Turner - School Improvement Director and Senior Advisor, Secondary.

'New leadership has refreshed the department, invigorated the staff and marshalled considerable talents to re-establish a very promising area of the curriculum.'

'The new subject leader and existing language specialist teacher have firmly improved the quality of curriculum planning, delivery and impact.'

'The scale and quality of change has been very impressive.'

'Pupil morale and engagement is much improved.'