Languages at Nine Acres Primary School
All pupils in Key Stage One and Two at Nine Acres have the right to learn an additional language, the study of which liberates children from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. Language lessons give children opportunities to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both verbally and in writing. They also provide opportunities to read age-appropriate literature and learn songs in the target language. Ultimately, Language lessons at Nine Acres aim to provide a firm foundation for further language-learning, equipping children with the skills that they need in order to become life-long language learners, both for the pleasure that can be derived from doing so, and for the practical purpose of equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
We teach a curriculum that enables our pupils to become effective users of language and show an understanding and respect of different cultures in our local, national and global communities. Through the teaching of high-quality German lessons at Nine Acres, we aim to:
- Ensure that each child in Key Stage One and Two has the opportunity to study German as a foreign language over five years, fostering their interest in the culture of German.
- Teach vocabulary and linguistic structures informed by the National Curriculum and the skills expressed therein: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (as well as Cultural Understanding).
- Enable children to ask and answer a range of questions about themselves, which would allow them to confidently address a German speaker and exchange simple, personal information.
- Create opportunities for children to manipulate language for their own purposes, drawing on their knowledge of increasingly complex sentence structures.
- Teach children the basics of phonics in German to allow them to spell in a phonetically plausible way and read and speak with increased confidence and improved pronunciation.
- Enable children to draw comparisons between German and English vocabulary, using their knowledge of cognates and near-cognates to decode unfamiliar texts of increasing complexity.
- Encourage children to draw comparisons between German and English grammar, syntax and sentence structure, both as a tool for developing their understanding of the German language and their understanding of English.
- Give children opportunities to make, and learn from, mistakes in the target language, thereby building resilience.
- Develop children’s understanding of German as a global language and the language of business and economy, and the reasons why it is spoken in countries other than Germany.
- Enable children to understand their place in the wider world and the concept of interdependence.
German is taught by a member of staff who is fluent in German and lived for a period of time within Germany and who has undergone extensive additional training in ML pedagogy. Lessons, of roughly 60 minutes, happen weekly in Years one to six.
The current programme of study has been developed by the ML specialist teacher, ensuring coverage of reading, writing, speaking and listening and building in opportunities for children to revisit knowledge at varying degrees of complexity at a variety of points throughout the five years of study. Lessons are intended to be active and highly focused, with children working as a whole class, in small groups, or in mixed-ability pairs to complete tasks at their individual level. Activities consist of games, stories, songs, phonics, grammar and sentence-building activities, rhymes, role-play and dictionary work, to name but a few.
Nine Acres ML curriculum ensures that all children are provided with high expectations and encourages them to set themselves inspiring aspirations, as well as developing their confidence and ability to achieve these. Children are provided with high-quality scaffolds and supports in ML lessons but are encouraged, particularly as they progress through the school, to take on the challenge of speaking and writing increasingly from memory.
The curriculum offers a ‘no ceilings’ approach, meaning that children are all accessing similar work, although visual supports, pre-teaching or specific scaffolds may be needed to ensure that pupils with SEND can access learning. This allows children who are working at a range of levels in other subjects, to have opportunities to grow in confidence, develop their skills and knowledge and excel in ML lessons. The curriculum is designed to include plenty of opportunities for retrieval practice to ensure that children retain key the vocabulary and grammatical concepts, which will prepare them for a successful transition into Key Stage 3.
The school has fostered a range of links with partner institutions in Germany. Children have opportunities to engage with pupils in German schools through letter and email writing, video calls and project work, thereby bringing practical meaning to the skill of learning another language and providing children with real opportunities to engage with others from different cultures and backgrounds.
In addition to the study of German, children have access to Latin lessons in Year Five and Six. These lessons focus on the link between Latin and English and enables children to develop their fluency in other languages and draw linguistic comparisons to deepen their understanding of English.
Formative assessment is used during German lessons, allowing the teacher to determine the knowledge that pupils already have, as well as which children will need more support in terms of knowledge and understanding and who will need stretching further. This formative assessment is used to inform individual lessons, ensuring that they are adapted to meet the needs of all learners and that challenge is always provided. Summative assessment takes the form of a final written piece at the end of each unit and a short learning quiz to assess reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Data gathered from both of these sources, as well as shorter tasks undertaken during a unit of work, is recorded with the help of tracking documentation to demonstrate both attainment and progress over time as well as to identify gaps in knowledge in order to inform the planning of future lessons and units.
Transition to Secondary School
We want all of our children to be confident when using their verbal and written ability within a range of languages so that they are ready to either extend their language knowledge and skills or tackle a new language at secondary school. By focusing on linguistics and the ability to phonetically decode and decipher words from another language, our children can apply these skills in Year Seven and beyond. We work closely with all secondary skills and make strong links with their Modern Language teachers to plan sessions during the summer term where they come and speak to the children of Nine Acres about the range of Languages they could study at secondary school. We find that this inspires children to carry on their Modern Language learning at secondary school successfully.