Spanish at Plymouth Grove Primary School
Our Spanish Leader is Mrs Heap
Article 29 of the UNCRC: a child or young person's education should help their mind, body and talents be the best they can
Global Goal 4: Quality Education
The study of languages opens pupils’ minds and opens doors of opportunity. It develops a deep cultural awareness that is difficult to grasp without an understanding of the linguistic heritage of countries…[it will] broaden their horizons, converse with others, explore cultures and strengthen their economic prospects. - OFSTED 2021
Plymouth Grove Primary School is committed to protecting children’s right to learn through the introduction of a modern foreign language (Spanish) in KS2. Most children have no prior knowledge of this language, and so MFL provides an opportunity to deepen learning in new and exciting ways. Children also have the right to speak their home language, and we ensure that this is celebrated at school. Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. We aim to foster confidence and curiosity, whilst deepening knowledge and understanding of the world.
Children should be able to express themselves through another language, and to understand and respond to a language in speech and writing. We aim for our children to communicate practically, learn new ways of thinking and be able to frame the world around them through the lens of a new language. We strive to embed the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing necessary to enable children to use and apply their Spanish learning in a variety of contexts and lay the foundations for future language learning.
Our curriculum is based on the thematic structure of the Primary Languages Network, which meets the National Curriculum objectives. The children cover Stages 1 and 2 through weekly lessons, with the opportunity to consolidate the initial stage before moving on to the next. Years 3 and 4 covers Stage 1, with Year 4 developing and deepening the learning undertaken in Year 3. Years 5 and 6 cover Stage 2 in the same fashion. This ensures that the basics of language are reinforced, and our children are ready for the challenges of learning a modern foreign language at secondary level. Our Year 2 learners start ‘taster’ Spanish lessons in their Summer term, with pre-teaching of the Year 3 Autumn term content. This spiral model also supports our context - we have a high level of transience and many children leave and join at different points within KS2. It also gives our disadvantaged learners the opportunity to consolidate their learning to a much greater degree than would be usually possible.
Children are encouraged to listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding. Conversations, asking and answering questions, expressing opinions and responding to prompts form the basis of our lessons. Children are taught to read and write carefully, and speak accurately using the correct pronunciation and intonation, and in full sentences wherever possible. Children listen to, speak, read and write Spanish in every single lesson, from the beginning of MFL learning in Year 3.
Our curriculum has a solid grounding in phonics, grammar and practical application of new language. Children learn how to construct sentences, manipulate tense and understand grammatical concepts such as masculine and feminine nouns. They also learn how to use a bilingual dictionary. This solid base gives them a good starting point for further language learning in KS3. Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics. We introduce a great deal of specific vocabulary, from family and school words, to the transactional language of everyday life - greetings, ordering food, classroom instructions, expressing feelings to describing what they like or don’t like. We include Spanish songs, rhymes and stories to bring our language learning to life.
At Plymouth Grove we believe that it is important that the children have access to Spanish cultural experiences alongside language learning. These include celebrating the European Day of Languages, Spanish food tasting and picnic, Spanish Christmas and Carnival celebrations with traditional dancing, talking to members of native Spanish speaking families, and a Spanish ‘ice cream parlour’ in our dining room, with the opportunity to order a frozen treat in another language. We also expose the children to the Spanish language through stories, Spanish-language film and drama. These experiences help to create a real buzz and excitement for learning another language, and bring Spanish to life. We also have a curriculum and transition link with the MFL Faculty at Dean Trust Ardwick, the destination high school for the majority of our children.
Assessment takes the form of continuous AfL during lessons, mini-quizzes and language learning challenges to provide a rounded picture of children as linguists. Our knowledge organisers include Blanks questioning grids, and these are used constantly for ongoing assessment in lessons. Our online VLE, developed by the Primary Languages Network, has built in opportunities for retrieval practice and end of unit assessments. Children self-assess using ‘assessment clouds’ and this helps to build up a picture of developing knowledge and understanding over the year. End of unit assessment, in the form of low stakes quizzing, helps to inform our teachers’ understanding of progress. Fischer Family Trust is used to record the progress that pupils are making in terms of knowing more, remembering more and being able to do more at the end of each academic year. This will record whether the children are working towards the age related expectations, at the age related expectations or exceeding the age related expectations.
At Plymouth Grove, our aim in Spanish is not to just produce fluent speakers, but to prepare children for their lifelong language learning journey. Being successful in MFL is more than just learning a language, although we aim for all children to be able to engage in simple conversations, understand key terms and phrases, and have a solid language learning base by the end of Year 6.
The impact of a successfully implemented MFL teaching is that children:
- Develop oracy and literacy skills at an appropriate level for their age
- Communicate confidently and understand the importance of being understood
- Have a genuine interest in the language and culture of Spanish people
- Demonstrate understanding of and respect for cultural diversity
- Understand the importance of developing tolerance and understanding for others
- Apply their knowledge of language rules and conventions to new situations
- Plan, analyse and evaluate ways of learning
- Appreciate the foundations that language learning forms for later life, such as secondary school, careers, leisure activities and as global citizens
- Foster a sense of belonging to the global community and how language learning contributes with that goal
- Engage with global issues beyond language learning