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Modern Foreign Languages


Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.

Nelson Mandela

Curriculum Rationale: MFL

Powerful knowledge in MFL – Why do we teach these concepts?

Modern languages allow students to view their world from a different viewpoint. It prompts them to question what is “normal” and enables them to embrace that fact the world is a rich and diverse place filled with different customs, landscapes, perspectives, history, arts, literature and ways of communicating.

It lets students understand the codes which exist behind languages and how these might interplay, or be at odds with English. They will be able to recognise that rules and patterns exist throughout languages and that these may well be influenced by culture. Students can start to build a more powerful understanding of their own language through how we put together words, sentences and text.

One particular skill which is developed in language learning is the ability to speak spontaneously. Students are challenged to respond without preparation in discussions and this leads to them forming strong oracy skills. Such activities increase their confidence in speaking in front of groups and prepares them to communicate in a wide range of situations in the future. During year 9 all students learn and practise transactional language which means that the small number of them who do not continue their language study beyond KS3 will leave with a knowledge of how to get along if they visit a country where the taught language is spoken.

Important transferable skills such as organisation, self-discipline, problem solving, good listening and strong communication are developed through language learning. These skills are useful to students whatever their future path!

Curriculum Features - How do we embed the learning?

Speaking –Through the direct teaching and embedding of phonics, students will build up a level of confidence so they feel comfortable using the taught language and can achieve excellent pronunciation even with previously unseen vocabulary.

Familiar contexts – students learn new language within contexts which are familiar to them and learn to use the foreign language to talk about topics which are relevant to them and which interest them.

Scaffolding the Learning – Language does not exist in Isolation. Students must understand how language is built, and connected together, and the foundations they do this on must be firm. The curriculum in languages has been carefully devised so that grammar is sequenced according to prior learning so that the students are given the ability to master key concepts at every stage of their journey.

Spiral teaching – previously studied vocabulary and grammar are often revisited within new topics so students can apply similar structures to a range of different situations.

Curriculum Enrichment – How do we link with other subjects and offer experiences?

It is vital that students see the benefits of learning languages and appreciate the opportunities that this offers them. We frequently refer to the advantages of learning languages in terms of opening doors to a wider range of post-16 choices, the knowledge they are gaining of other cultures and the transferable skills which they develop. We teach most students two different languages during key stage 3 to allow them to experience the similarities and differences between the structures of the languages themselves and in the cultures of countries where the taught languages are spoken. We will introduce opportunities for students to visit these countries during their studies to experience life there first hand and try out their language skills in real situations. Additionally, we will offer some students the chance to visit universities and experience taster sessions in other languages. Where possible in class, we link the foreign language with English and draw parallels with what they are taught in English language lessons.