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Russell Lower School

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

Our French lead is Mrs A Kett.
The aims and intent for our French curriculum

The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied

Russell Lower School's rich and varied French curriculum is rooted in the National Curriculum. Our teaching aims to capture the children’s enthusiasm for a new subject area, inspiring and nurturing a lifelong love of languages and laying the foundations for progression onto further study at Key Stage 3 and beyond.

The Russell values of Challenge, Enjoy, Respect and Succeed are embedded into the intention of our French curriculum.  With enjoyable and vibrant teaching methods including the use of songs, games, educational French programmes, role play and written activities our children are engaged,  challenged and motivated, having fun and enjoying their learning.

With a flourishing bank of vocabulary and a strong focus on developing accurate pronunciation and an understanding of basic grammar, the children gain increasing confidence and success in their use of the language.

Through our use of real life examples, children develop an appreciation, respect and understanding of cultural differences, promoting questions and interest in other cultures.


During 2019-2020 our French curriculum has been carefully redesigned focussing on curriculum sequencing to ensure skill progression from lesson to lesson and year to year with a focus on deepening and embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. Year group milestone documents have been created in order to support the above and assessment within the subject.

We have developed year group and subject specific curriculum plans which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. All of our subjects are taught discretely.

Within French we focus our teaching on the subject content outlined within the National Curriculum; Introductions, Colours, Classroom Instructions, French foods, Days of the week, Months of the year, Body parts, Animal names, Clothing, Family members, leisure activities and likes & dislikes. These areas of learning are revisited over the pupil’s primary journey and pupils progressively build their skills and knowledge and vocabulary.

For example,

Year 3 – children learn a variety of classroom instructions which can then be enjoyed in games and used in daily classroom life.

Year 4 – Children combine their knowledge of a variety of leisure activities and how to express their likes and dislikes to discuss their own preferences.

Within all lessons we are working towards Rosenshine’s 17 Principles of Effective Instruction and use of the Great Teaching Toolkit. Short-term plans set out the learning objectives and success criteria for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. In French we use a wide variety of games, stories, songs and poems to capture and encourage the children’s enthusiasm for learning another language.

This year both Years 3 and 4 have been very excited to begin exchanging greetings with the pupils at a school in Ampthill's twin town of Nissan le enserune in France.

Children are taught skills such as Practical Communication, Phonics, Intercultural Understanding and Grammar.

Within the lessons prior learning from the unit and previous units is consolidated through re-cap and reinforcement to ensure children can make links between skills/knowledge and previously learnt skills/knowledge. For example, in Year 3 the children are introduced to numbers 0 to 10 and colour names are introduced. In Year 4 these numbers and colour names are re-capped and numbers 11-30 are introduced along with using colour names to add description to clothing items.

Questioning, modelling and feedback are used to support the teaching and learning process, ensure progression within every lesson and aid assessment.

Pupils participate in one French lesson a week, covering two areas of learning every half term.

Staff are also supported and encouraged to include French within other subjects and daily classroom life, for example in register greetings, the day’s date on the board in French or a variety of classroom instructions.


More so than ever we provide flexibility within French lessons to meet children’s needs and understanding due to the impact of Covid 19.

Use of French continued over the Lockdown periods with many teachers using French games in their remote learning or as fun activities within classroom provisions.

Post Lockdowns we have focussed on Barry Carpenter’s 5 levers; routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom which has resulted in various adaptions and restructuring of the curriculum over the last two years to ensure children are still accessing a well-rounded and rich French curriculum whilst tackling some of the above. This has meant a welcome return to singing in French lessons as well as more active group class games.

As we move forward with our French curriculum we will continue to identify gaps in learning and address these through changes to planning and unit sequencing to ensure the best possible progress is made such as revisiting the areas with more vocabulary to allow more practice.

During 2022/23 all medium term plans have been re-written to support specific teaching and learning within the classroom and to include more cultural learning and varying learning styles such as songs, stories & games.

Long and medium term plans
Milestone example
Further milestone documents for all year groups are available, on request, to demonstrate our skill progression.

In order to measure the impact of our French curriculum we use a range of formative and summative assessment in all lessons such as:

  • Questioning
  • Pupil, parent, staff voice/questionnaires
  • Observations/learning walks/drop ins
  • Analysis of our assessment tool linked to milestone documents/National Curriculum for each year

Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring of teaching and learning cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in French as well as indicating areas for development.

From this information we are able to identify those areas that have not been taught or have limited coverage and will plan accordingly for these moving forward.