Languages at Hillmorton Primary School
Hillmorton Primary School uses the Language Angels scheme of work and resources to ensure we offer a relevant, broad, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that will inspire and excite our children using a wide variety of topics and themes. All children are expected to achieve their full potential by encouraging high expectations and excellent standards in their foreign language learning - the ultimate aim being that children will feel willing and able to continue studying languages beyond key stage 2.
All content is continuously updated and reviewed annually, creating a dynamic programme of study that is clearly outlined in both long-term and short-term planning. This ensures that the foreign language knowledge of our children progresses within each academic year and is extended year upon year throughout the primary phase and, in so doing, will always be relevant and in line with meeting or exceeding national DfE requirements.
The four key language learning skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing alongside all necessary grammar are covered in an age-appropriate way across the primary phase. This enable children to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas. In addition, children are taught how to look up and research unfamiliar language and they will have a bank of reference materials to help them with their spoken and written tasks going forward. This bank of reference materials will develop into a reference library to help children's recall and build on previous knowledge throughout their primary school language learning journey.
Our aim is that all children will develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. Learning a second language also offers children the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences. The intention is that they will be working towards becoming life-long language learners.
All classes have access to a very high quality foreign languages curriculum using the Language Angels scheme of work and resources. This progressively develops children’s skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned fortnightly lessons in Key Stage 1 and weekly lessons in Key Stage 2, which will be taught by class teachers in Key Stage 1 and a language specialist teacher in Key Stage 2.
Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes - building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language.
The planning of different levels of challenge (as demonstrated in the various Language Angels Teaching Type categories) and which units to teach at each stage of the academic year are addressed dynamically and are reviewed in detail annually as units are updated and added to the scheme. Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge and stretch are taught at all times to ensure children learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language(s) they are learning.
Language Angels are categorised by ‘Teaching Type’ to make it easier for teachers to choose units that offer the appropriate level of challenge and stretch for the classes they are teaching.
In KS1, and Year 3, teachers use the Early Language units which are entry level units most appropriate for children with little or no previous foreign language learning. In Years 4 and 5, when basic knowledge of the foreign language is embedded, Intermediate units are used to increase the level of challenge by increasing the amount and complexity (including foreign language grammar concepts) of the foreign language presented to children. Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are the most challenging units and are used with Year 6 children or children with a good understanding of the basics of the language they are learning. Grouping units into these Teaching Type categories ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children are taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Early Language Units (entry level) and Core Vocabulary lessons run for approximately 30 minutes. Intermediate, Progressive and Creative Curriculum units run for approximately 45 minutes.
Units, where possible and appropriate, are linked to class topics and cross curricular themes. Children build on previous knowledge gradually as their foreign language lessons continue to recycle, revise and consolidate previously learnt language whilst building on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Knowledge and awareness of required and appropriate grammar concepts is taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge.
Teachers are provided with a Progression Map and Grammar Grid (downloadable from the “Curriculum Guidance” area of the Language Angels website) to ensure all children are progressing with their foreign language learning skills and are taught the appropriate grammar at the right time in their foreign language learning journey. Grammar rules and patterns are taught by level of challenge:
- We start with nouns and articles and 1st person singular of high frequency verbs in Early Learning units.
- We move on to the use of the possessive, the concept of adjectives, use of the negative form, conjunctions/connectives and introduce the concept of whole regular verb conjugation in Intermediate units.
- We end with opinions and introduce the concept of whole high frequency irregular verb conjugation in Progressive units.
Grammar is integrated and taught discreetly throughout all appropriate units. Teachers can also use the specific Grammar Explained units to ensure children are exposed to all of the appropriate grammar so they are able to create their own accurate and personalised responses to complex authentic foreign language questions by the end of the primary phase.
The Progression Map shows precisely how pupil foreign language learning across the key skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar progresses within each Language Angels ‘Teaching Type’ and also how the level of learning and progression of each pupil is increased as children move across each subsequently more challenging Language Angels ‘Teaching Type’. It is a visual demonstration of the progression that takes place WITHIN a ‘Teaching Type’ and also ACROSS each ‘Teaching Type’.
The school has a unit planner in place which serves as an overall ‘teaching map’ outlining for all teachers within the school what each class in each year group will be taught and when it will be taught. Each class in each year group has an overview of units to be taught during the academic year to ensure substantial progress and learning is achieved. Each teaching unit is divided into 6 fully planned lessons.
- Each unit and lesson has clearly defined objectives and aims.
- Each lesson incorporates interactive whiteboard materials to include ample speaking and listening tasks within a lesson.
- Lessons incorporate challenge sections and desk-based activities that are offered with three levels of stretch and differentiation. These may be sent home as homework if not completed in class.
- Reading and writing activities are included in all units. Some extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers can also be catered for.
- Every unit includes a grammar concept which increases in complexity as children move from Early Language units, through Intermediate units and into Progressive units.
- Extending writing activities are provided to ensure that children are recalling previously learnt language and, by reusing it, are able to recall it and use it with greater ease and accuracy. These tasks help to link units together and show that children are retaining and recalling the language taught with increased fluency and ease.
Units are progressive within themselves as subsequent lessons within a unit build on the language and knowledge taught in previous lessons. As children progress though the lessons in a unit they will build their knowledge and develop the complexity of the language they use. We think of the progression within the 6 lessons in a unit as ‘Language Lego’. We provide blocks of language knowledge and, over the course of a 6-week unit, encourage children to build more complex and sophisticated language structures with their blocks of language knowledge.
Pupil learning and progression is assessed at regular intervals in line with school policy. Teachers aim to assess each language skill (speaking, listening, reading and writing) twice throughout each school year to provide reference points against which learning and progression in each skill can be demonstrated.
In addition to following the lessons provided in the Language Angels scheme of work and resources, Whole School celebrations such as, “European Day of Languages, Christmas Around the World, and Spanish enrichment days enable the whole school to be immersed in the inclusion of the culture and use the language meaningfully in context.
As well as each subsequent lesson within a unit being progressive, the teaching -type organisation of Language Angels units also directs, drives and guarantees progressive learning and challenge. Units increase in level of challenge, stretch and linguistic and grammatical complexity as pupils move from Early Learning units through Intermediate units and into the most challenging Progressive units. Units in each subsequent level of the teaching type categories require more knowledge and application of skills than the previous teaching type. Activities contain progressively more text (both in English and the foreign language being studied) and lessons have more content as the children become more confident and ambitious with the foreign language they are learning.
Early Learning units start at basic noun and article level and teach children how to formulate short phrases. By the time children reach Progressive units they are exposed to much longer text and are encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. We aim for children to be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and they are encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications.
Children will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their foreign language learning journey through the school. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate.
Teachers have a clear overview of what they are working towards and if they are meeting these criteria. We use the long-term planning documents provided in the form of Language Angels unit planners to ensure the correct units are being taught to the correct classes at each stage of the school year. Short-term planning is provided in the form of unit overviews (covering the learning targets for each 6-week unit) and individual lesson plans laying out the learning aims and intentions of each individual lesson within a unit. These planning documents ensure that teachers know what to teach and how to teach it in each lesson, across whole units and across each scholastic term.
Children are aware of their own learning goals and progression as each unit offers a child-friendly overview so that all children can review their own learning at the start and at the end of each unit. They will know and will be able to articulate if they have or have not met their learning objectives and can keep their unit learning intention sheets and unit core vocabulary sheets as a record of what they have learnt from unit to unit and from year to year.
The opportunity to assess children's learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and against the 12 DfE Languages Programme of Study for Key Stage 2 attainment targets is provided at the end of each 6-week teaching unit. This information is recorded and monitored by the Foreign Language Subject Leader who can use this data to ensure teaching is targeted and appropriate for each pupil, class and year group as well as to feedback on progress to SLT and stakeholders. Teachers will be able to record, analyse and access this data easily using the Tracking and Progression Tool that will monitor school, class and individual progress in the foreign language. Children will also be offered self-assessment grids to ensure they are also aware of their own progress which they can keep as a record of their progress.
Children are expected to make good or better than good progress in their foreign language learning and their individual progress is tracked and reported to parents and carers in line with school recommendations.
If children are not progressing in line with expectations, this will be identified in the End of Unit Skills Assessments provided in the Language Angels Tracking & Progression Tool. This will enable teachers to put in place an early intervention programme to address any areas that require attention in any of the language learning skills.