Fairmead School

Making memories


Statement of Intent: Modern Foreign Languages


Modern Foreign Languages in Fairmead School offers an opportunity to expand the horizons and experiences of our young people in Key Stage 3, giving them an insight into the wider global community and sparking ideas about their place within it.  For many, travel beyond our country or even our county may not be something they have yet experienced.  For many, travelling abroad - either now or as an independent adult in the future - does not feel like a tangible vision.  We feel that it should be.  This is why we deliver an MFL curriculum that not only targets the acquisition of new language skills, but that also familiarises our students with different cultures, lifestyles and environments and fosters positive attitudes towards diversity. 


    Currently, we deliver a 2 year programme in French.  This, however, is just one in a broad range of the modern foreign languages our students may experience through work, travel and activities across our community locally, nationally and internationally.  In the time available to us, our intent is not, therefore, to bring our students to a point of fluency in French.  Rather, we give them the opportunity to experience the challenge of - and establish the skills to manage - the process of acquiring vocabulary, expressions and phrases that would enable them to engage with the community at a basic and essential level within a foreign speaking country. 


    The language programme itself focuses on conversational language and has been constructed around:


    • key language and phrases we would need to know to interact (understand and respond to spoken and written language) at a simple level during a visit to another country;
    • topics and themes that young people are interested in learning that could have relevance if travelling abroad. 


    In order to promote positive attitudes to language learning, we deliver our MFL curriculum at Fairmead through practical approaches and provide students with engaging and memorable experiences that help to make learning last.  Where practicable, our programmes of learning are therefore built around practical, role-play based scenarios through which students' learning builds towards a predefined goal. 


    Example: students learning to introduce themselves - including name, where they live, siblings and pets - were set a mission to develop a secret French identity in order to join the French branch of the MI6 team.  Through a series of activities supported by bespoke resources and interactive experiences, students were able to create a new secret identity which they were challenged to present to an assessor as a climax to their programme.


    As well as making learning more engaging, we have found that this added dynamic of role play can support our learners in overcoming the challenges they face around self confidence and self belief, enabling them to build learning resilience.  In some cases, we have also found that the use of these experiential approaches has enabled young people with speech and language difficulties to exceed the progress of their peers as they apply their strategies developed over a number of years in learning a new language in an exciting, low pressure manner.