Languages

Our Directors of Learning design sequences of lessons which combine with our Personal Development Programme delivered by Form Tutors. These closely align with our mission to ‘Teach What Matters’, a deliberate approach to ensure we address challenges that our students are likely to face and to give them the best possible chance of meeting their limitless potential. 
We want all Holyhead students to be able to;

  • Solve problems
  • Apply knowledge to the real world
  • Adapt to change and be resilient to failure
  • Be aware of their own thought processes and memory (metacognition)
  • Be articulate and express themselves
  • Think critically

We want all students at Holyhead to be strong in relation to the following attributes;

  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Resilience
  • Initiative
  • Communication

We also want them to recognise the best of human thinking and appreciate the fundamental British Values.

Miss J Williams

Director of Learning for Modern Foreign Languages

Mrs V Grego

Assistant Director of Learning and Subject Lead for French

AAt Holyhead School we aspire to provide a broad, ambitious and engaging curriculum for all pupils who are taught MFL. Our journey through the key stages builds on pupils’ prior knowledge at KS2 and develops them into effective linguists by Teaching What Matters. Our French and Spanish curricula expose pupils to the linguistic skills and knowledge they need, whilst also providing them with character and value driven personal development. We instil a lasting interest in language learning and an understanding and tolerance of other countries and cultures. Our intent is to create multifaceted pupils who have been exposed to a wealth of enrichment activities and ultimately are masters in their chosen language.

We believe that the essential skills of a high performing linguist that we hope to promote through our curriculum are that they:

  • Develop their ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say with increasing accuracy
  • Express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently
  • Listen to and understand clearly articulated, standard speech at near normal speed
  • Deepen their knowledge about how language works and enrich their vocabulary to increase their independent use and understanding of extended language in a range of contexts
  • Acquire new knowledge, skills and ways of thinking through the ability to understand and respond to authentic spoken and written material, adapted and abridged, as appropriate, including literary texts
  • Develop awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries and communities where French is spoken
  • Make appropriate links to other areas of the curriculum to enable bilingual and deeper learning, where the language may become a medium for constructing and applying knowledge
  • Develop language learning skills both for immediate use and prepare them for further language study in school, higher education or employment
  • Develop language strategies, including repair strategies

Key Stage 3

Overview of the KS3 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 7• Who am I? 
• My school 
• My family and friends 
• Culture
• My routine / free time 
• Sport
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Grammar 
• Recognise present tense verbs 
• Conjugation of regular and some irregular verbs 
• Sentence structure 
• Adjective agreement 
• Question words 
• Connectives 
• False friends 
• Subject pronouns 
• Noun gender 
• Phonics 
• Negatives 
• Translation
• European day of languages 
• Cross curricular links 
• Dancing lessons in the target language 
• Termly cultural homework 
• Choir club 
• Film club 
• Homework club 
• Termly quizzes 
• Reward trips KS3 
• Linguist of the month with prizes 
• Language ambassadors 
• Termly music, reading and film suggestions 
• Intervention
Year 8• Technology 
• Healthy lifestyle 
• My ambitions 
• A past weekend 
• My town / holidays 
• A trip abroad
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Grammar 
• Recognise present, past and future tense verbs 
• Conjugation of regular and some irregular verbs 
• Sentence structure 
• Adjective agreement 
• Question words 
• Connectives 
• False friends 
• Subject pronouns 
• Noun gender 
• Phonics 
• Negatives 
• Translation 
• Giving an opinion with justification 
• Broadening of vocabulary
• European day of languages 
• Cross curricular links 
• Dancing lessons in the target language 
• Termly cultural homework 
• Choir club 
• Film club 
• Homework club 
• Termly quizzes 
• Reward trips KS3 
• Linguist of the month with prizes 
• Language ambassadors 
• Termly music, reading and film suggestions 
• Intervention
Year 9• My life so far 
• Influential people 
• Road trip 
• Role models 
• Cinema 
• GCSE speaking skills
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Grammar 
• Recognise a winder range of tenses, including the imperfect, condition and future 
• Conjugation of regular and irregular verbs
• Sentence structure 
• Adjective agreement 
• Question words 
• Connectives 
• False friends 
• Subject pronouns 
• Noun gender 
• Phonics 
• Negatives 
• Translation 
• Giving an opinion with justification 
• Broadening of vocabulary 
• Providing detail
• European day of languages 
• Cross curricular links 
• Dancing lessons in the target language 
• Termly cultural homework 
• Choir club 
• Film club 
• Homework club 
• Termly quizzes 
• Reward trips KS3 
• Linguist of the month with prizes 
• Language ambassadors 
• Termly music, reading and film suggestions 
• Intervention

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in MFL?

Students must be able to understand a continually widening range of vocabulary and how to structure sentences effectively. This vocabulary must be effectively used in line with the conjugation of verbs which is at the heart of all language learning. Students must grasp the idea of regular and irregular verbs and spot the patterns which emerge when using them. Furthermore, students must understand the context of subject pronouns and how this translates into the target language. Students must be able to translate effectively between English and the target language in all 4 skills.

What have you started off with in Year 7 and why? 

Students enter Year 7 with a wide range of prior knowledge and skills, having either studied a language at KS2 in depth or not at all. Therefore in order to ensure a purposeful transition, in Year 7 we diagnose and identify which students in our groups who need additional support or provide more challenging material. With all pupils we start at word level with basic introductions and work through to sentence level within the first 3 weeks. For those few students who are already at sentence level, they are provided with additional material to ensure they receive the breadth and depth of the curriculum they require at this stage. We begin with the topic “all about me” as it is a gentle introduction to some of the most frequently used verbs and vocabulary.

What key steps will be taken to ensure that students gain a broad and balanced knowledge within MFL by building on what they have already learnt (carefully sequenced and effectively delivered)?

  • Throughout the KS3 curriculum students are building knowledge and skills incrementally which means that content is regularly revisited and interleaved between all modules – students are repeatedly having to draw upon long term schemas to support learning current knowledge.
  • Students are exposed to a mixture of language and cultural knowledge to draw from
  • Each module has been carefully selected so that it is directly linked to the prior
  • The journey that pupils take in MFL is related to the different stages in their own personal and academic lives

Year 7

The topics chosen in Year 7 are done so on the basis that they expose pupils to the necessary fundamental vocabulary and grammar. Such as frequently used verbs and vocabulary, this includes numbers, introductions, colours, family members and schools. The topics are also focused around each individual’s own life experiences making the material highly engaging and pertinent. Regular retrieval is part of every lesson in MFL as each new topic uses vocabulary and grammatical structures from the previous. Towards the end of Year 7 pupils learn how to talk about other people and explain why they like or dislike certain aspects of their life. This links directly to topics studied in Year 8.

Year 8

Year 8 builds directly on the skills and knowledge learnt in Year 7, students begin with the topic of technology which recaps the skills of expressing opinions and justifications. They then move onto the study of 3 tenses, past, present and future, which are the fundamentals of communicating. Students begin with regular verbs in the 3 tenses with the use of irregular verbs if needed. Students also begin to look at their career pathways and are introduced to where languages could take them if they chose to study them at GCSE or A-level. This area is revisited in Year 9 as students are choosing their options. By the end of Year 8 students have a widening range of vocabulary and can recognise and understand in the target language written in 3 tenses.

Year 9

Year 9 consolidates the skill of writing in three tenses and introduces pupils to the use of 3 more complex tenses. Students are exposed to a range of regular and irregular verbs which they are now able to manipulate and use in a range of scenarios. The topic of role models in Year 9 relates directly to students’ dreams and ambitions and they can effectively discuss what they would like to do during their future study and work. Year 9 accumulates with the highly engaging study of a film in the TL using speaking skills linked to the GCSE to express their ideas and thoughts on the film.

Key Stage 4

Overview of the KS4 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 10Theme 1 
• Me my family and friends 
• My free time 
• Celebrations 
Theme 2 
• My town and local area 
• Holidays 
• The environment
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Production of syntactically correct sentences in the TL
• Making the transition from an infinitive to a conjugated verb independently (forming paradigms)
• Ability to turn an infinitive verb into the past, present and future tenses
• Using correct forms of definite/indefinite articles, adjectives, nouns, verbs, and pronouns depending on gender
• Accurate pronunciation and intonation and advanced listenings skills
• Speaking accurately and fluently with good pronunciation, accent and intonation. 
• Producing written language fit for purpose. 
• Rephrasing and repairing language. Adapting to the realities of real-life communication.
• Application of connectives, lexical structures, and opinion/reason/justification phrases
• Ability to comprehend, interpret and discern key points from given text/extract
• Taking into account “triggers” and coping with “red herrings” to answer questions and form conclusions accordingly
• Ability to recall and apply vocabulary to a range of cross thematic stimuli. 
• Differentiating between time frames for the purposes of responding to comprehension tasks on a range of texts and extracts (literary/authentic/cultural)
• Defining and describing the key cultural aspects of the TL countries.
• Comparing and contrasting the cultures of the TL countries and England/the UK.
• Understanding, appreciating and evaluating the key features of TL film, literature, art and music.
• Deconstructing stereotypes about the TL countries and their peoples. 
• Considering and evaluating opportunities for us beyond our local area.
• Pinpointing the relative location of countries where the TL language and culture are prevalent.
• European day of languages 
• Cross curricular links 
• Dancing lessons in the target language 
• Termly cultural homework 
• Choir club 
• Film club 
• Homework club 
• Termly quizzes 
• Reward trips KS3 
• Linguist of the month with prizes 
• Language ambassadors 
• Termly music, reading and film suggestions 
• Intervention
Year 11Theme 3
• My school
• Jobs
• Future ambitions
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Production of syntactically correct sentences in the TL
• Making the transition from an infinitive to a conjugated verb independently (forming paradigms)
• Ability to turn an infinitive verb into the past, present and future tenses
• Using correct forms of definite/indefinite articles, adjectives, nouns, verbs, and pronouns depending on gender
• Accurate pronunciation and intonation and advanced listenings skills
• Speaking accurately and fluently with good pronunciation, accent and intonation. 
• Producing written language fit for purpose. 
• Rephrasing and repairing language. Adapting to the realities of real-life communication.
• Application of connectives, lexical structures, and opinion/reason/justification phrases
• Ability to comprehend, interpret and discern key points from given text/extract
• Taking into account “triggers” and coping with “red herrings” to answer questions and form conclusions accordingly
• Ability to recall and apply vocabulary to a range of cross thematic stimuli. 
• Differentiating between time frames for the purposes of responding to comprehension tasks on a range of texts and extracts (literary/authentic/cultural)
• Defining and describing the key cultural aspects of the TL countries.
• Comparing and contrasting the cultures of the TL countries and England/the UK.
• Understanding, appreciating and evaluating the key features of TL film, literature, art and music.
• Deconstructing stereotypes about the TL countries and their peoples. 
• Considering and evaluating opportunities for us beyond our local area.
• Pinpointing the relative location of countries where the TL language and culture are prevalent.
• European day of languages 
• Cross curricular links 
• Dancing lessons in the target language 
• Termly cultural homework 
• Choir club 
• Film club 
• Homework club 
• Termly quizzes 
• Reward trips KS3 
• Linguist of the month with prizes 
• Language ambassadors 
• Termly music, reading and film suggestions 
• Intervention

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in GCSE French and Spanish?

Students must be able to understand a continually widening range of vocabulary and how to structure sentences effectively. This vocabulary must be effectively used in line with the conjugation of verbs across a range of tenses. Students must grasp the idea of regular and irregular verbs and spot the patterns which emerge when using them. Students must be able to translate effectively between English and the target language in all 4 skills. Students must be proficient in the use of various grammatical structures, understand and respond to a range of questions. Be able to discuss and justify their ideas. Fundamentally understand the role that the target language plays in the wider world around them.

What have you started off with in Year 10 and why?

Year 10 begins with the topic me, my friends and family, it revists the most commonly used verbs both regular and irregular and revists the 3 main tenses taught at KS3. Students are then introduced to regular reflexive verbs, a new concept for pupils but which has links to prior verb conjugation. Students then progress through the themes broadening their vocabulary and grammatical skills.

Year 10

Year 10 begins with a topic which reviews prior learning in KS3, it revisits the fundamental grammar and vocabulary needed at this level of study. The topics throughout Year 10 progressively become more challenging, introducing students to new vocabulary and grammar, whilst also linking back to prior learning. Towards the end of year 10, students will have a good idea of whether they will be completing the Foundation or Higher assessment. Lesson content and assessment is tailored to this.

Year 11

Year 11 finalises the most difficult context of the GCSE and dedicates 3 half terms to revision prior to exams. All skills seen above are covered throughout the course of Year 10 and 11, they are revisited on a regular basis ensuring retrieval and interleaving knowledge is present within each lesson.

Students are exposed to high quality, well planned and sequenced lessons. The timing and delivery for each module has been explicitly linked to the stage in language learning that the students are at. Vocabulary is built upon within each module with overlapping knowledge evident in students’ work. Grammar is taught in context with the module students are learning, so that they learn to apply the grammatical rules across contexts and not simply learn them by rote. Cultural references are taught explicitly and implicitly through the 5 year journey within MFL and students are able to regularly make references to these in their learning. The fundamentals of MFL are taught in KS2 and are continually and purposefully revisited in KS3 and KS4.

Key Stage 5

Overview of the KS5 Curriculum:

KnowledgeAttributes/CharacterSkillsExperiences
Year 12Theme 1
• Social issues and trends
• Study of the film
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Enhance their linguistic skills and promote and develop their capacity for critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of the country or countries where the language is spoken 
• Develop control of the language system to convey meaning, using spoken and written skills, including an extended range of vocabulary, for both practical and intellectual purposes as increasingly confident, accurate and independent users of the language 
• Develop their ability to interact effectively with users of the language in speech and in writing, including through online media 
• Develop language learning skills and strategies, including communication strategies to sustain communication and build fluency and confidence
• Engage critically with intellectually stimulating texts, films and other materials in the original language, developing an appreciation of sophisticated and creative uses of the language and understanding them within their cultural and social context 
• Develop knowledge about matters central to the society and culture, past and present, of the country or countries where the language is spoken 
• Mediate between cultures and between speakers of the language and speakers of English 
• Foster their ability to learn other languages 
• Equip themselves with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to further study or to employment 
• Develop their capacity for critical and analytical thinking through the language of study 
• Develop as independent researchers through the language of study
Year 13Theme 2
• Political and artistic culture
• Study of literature
• SMSC
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Empathy
• Communication
• Enhance their linguistic skills and promote and develop their capacity for critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of the country or countries where the language is spoken 
• Develop control of the language system to convey meaning, using spoken and written skills, including an extended range of vocabulary, for both practical and intellectual purposes as increasingly confident, accurate and independent users of the language 
• Develop their ability to interact effectively with users of the language in speech and in writing, including through online media 
• Develop language learning skills and strategies, including communication strategies to sustain communication and build fluency and confidence
• Engage critically with intellectually stimulating texts, films and other materials in the original language, developing an appreciation of sophisticated and creative uses of the language and understanding them within their cultural and social context 
• Develop knowledge about matters central to the society and culture, past and present, of the country or countries where the language is spoken 
• Mediate between cultures and between speakers of the language and speakers of English 
• Foster their ability to learn other languages 
• Equip themselves with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to further study or to employment 
• Develop their capacity for critical and analytical thinking through the language of study 
• Develop as independent researchers through the language of study

What are the fundamental principles and concepts that students need to acquire in order to progress successfully through the curriculum in MFL?

Students need to have a good grasp of verb tenses studied at GCSE in addition to being able to express themselves confidently in past, present and future time frames. Students need to be aware of the main characteristics of the history, politics and culture of the Target Language country (French and/or Spanish).
Students need to recall the vocabulary covered in the AQA GCSE themes with additional A-level vocabulary as a fundamental requirement. Students need to demonstrate an interest in exploring the cultures and identities of the wider Francophone/ Hispanic speaking world through music, film and the arts.

What have you started off with in Year 12 and why?

The topic areas and grammatical structures which are introduced at KS3 and 4 are seen as building blocks for more in depth learning at KS5. There is continuity of development of knowledge through effective interleaving. Students begin with the topic of family which was introduced at KS3 and then consolidated at KS4. There is progression from describing their own family to expressing their views on the importance of having a family. A language A-level is often seen as a challenge therefore it is important to build on previous knowledge and ensure a smooth transition.

Year 12

Students begin with the study of the changing image of the family, technological and social change and look at diversity and the benefits it brings. They also study highlights of the artistic culture of the Target Language country through the topics of heritage, music and film. Students are familiar with those topics from their KS4 study and through retrieval practice, will reinforce their vocabulary, allowing them to develop their own views further. Through the study of the movie, they start the study of the political background of the Target language country focusing on issues such as multiculturalism, which is a smooth transition into Year 13 study.

Year 13

In Year 13, students study aspects of the political landscape including the future of political life in the French/ Hispanic world. The topics are more challenging as students are introduced to a wider range of knowledge which goes beyond their own cultural experience, but which sets them up as intercultural citizens. Students have the opportunity to consolidate their grammatical skills in context through the study of literature.

Whilst studying new topics, Year 12 content will also be revisited through exam building tasks.  Students will have the opportunity to improve their essay writing skills. Students will also get support for the preparation of their research project. The course fosters a range of transferable skills including communication, critical skills, research skills and creativity which are valuable to the individual and society.  The study of a language at KS5 therefore provides a broad and balanced curriculum that will serve students wanting to further study the language at university, including a modern language degree.