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Building a culturally rich curriculum, which supports all learnersEllie Chettle CullyLanguages and International LeadHazel Community Primary School

Progression in the primary languages classroom:


  • Teacher and Languages and International Lead at Hazel Community Primary School, Leicester.
  • Primary qualified with a degree in French and Hispanic Studies.
  • Teach French to the whole of KS2 (8 classes).
  • Run extra-curricular Spanish.
  • Lead the Association for Language Learning Leicester Primary Hub.
  • To discuss planning in MFL which supports progression over time.
  • To consider different ways of assessing and how subject leads can support staff to gather information about how their pupils are getting on in MFL.
  • To explore how pupils might demonstrate and record what they have learnt in MFL.
  • To consider how we might ensure that all pupils (including those with SEND) are making progress in MFL across the school.
  • To consider the role of culture and cross-curricular learning in language learning.
  • To signpost resources and sources of support.


Statutory Guidance

What does the National Curriculum MFL Programme of Study say?

Teaching may be of any modern or ancient foreign language and should focus on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language. The teaching should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at key stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures andvocabulary.Languages Programme of Study Key Stage Two (Subject Content)

60 minutes a week considered best practice. How can we get that?

Progress is key!

  • a specialist teacher is brought into school to teach languages
  • a teacher or TA in school takes responsibility for its organisation and delivery (often during PPA time).
  • a native speaker member of staff is asked to lead the subject

Models of implementation

What issues might we encounter when using the above to measure progression in the languages classroom?
By the end of 4 years of study...
Subject Content: KS2 MFL Programme of Study
  • listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
  • explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help*
  • speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
  • develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases*
  • present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences*
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
  • appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
  • write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
  • describe people, places, things and actions orally* and in writing
  • understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English
  • Targets not broken down into smaller steps.
  • Without smaller marker points we can't evidence progression over time.

This is one example. Your scheme may have something similar or you may have created your own. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution.


Discussing Curriculum Design

How can we design a curriculum which ensures progress over time?

Speaking, listening, reading and writing





Foundations of Language Learning

  • Should be taught discretely.
  • Improves pronunciation.
  • Helps children "crack the code" of the new language.
  • Increases independence when encountering unfamilar words in the target language.


Supporting less confident teachers in the primary languages classroom.


  • Not just increasing pupils' stock of nouns.
  • How has the vocabulary been selected? High-frequency? Of interest to pupils? Of practical use? If there is too much, could these questions guide your thinking as a lead?
  • Vocabulary will grow and become more complex as pupils progress through the Key Stage.
  • Taught through songs, games, stories and sentence-building.


Our aim is always to move on from single words to phrases and sentences.

  • Pictionary
  • Tarsia puzzles (lots of these ready-made on ‘Lightbulb Languages’)
  • Bingo (normal and line bingo)
  • Noughts and crosses (pictures of vocabulary, or words)
  • Hangman
  • Snap
  • Dominoes
  • Battleships


  • Children's grammatical understanding should build over time in small steps.
  • Breaking down the Programme of Study is essential, in order to demonstrate progression over time.
  • Like phonics and vocabulary, grammatical understanding can be built through games and sentence-building activites.
  • Don't just explain a rule; introduce a set of sentences and get children to spot it themselves.



  • New material should be met a practised through speaking, listening, reading and writing - this won't always be evidenced in books.
  • Learning in phonics, vocabulary and grammar must weave together to build pupil fluency over time.
  • Do more with less.
  • There need to be lots of opportunities to revisit learning regularly to ensure that pupils don't forget.

Weaving the three together

Long Term Planning

Year 3 example

Breaking it down to ensure progression over time

Year 3 example

Breaking it down to ensure progression over time

Year 6 example

Breaking it down to ensure progression over time

Year 6 example

Breaking it down to ensure progression over time

Assessing Progression

How do we monitor and ensure that progression is happening over time?

What challenges, if any, do you find in this area?

To think about:

How do you currently assess your pupils in language lessons?

It takes the fun out of language learning

Questions around the type of assessment

Not always 'hard' evidence in books

Teachers are unsure how to do it

Lack of time

Some common issues:

The following is not an extensive list but it does give us an idea of some of the challenges facing us when it comes to assessment in the primary languages classroom.

  • Pupils - especially those in upper KS2 - need to know they are making progress to maintain motivation. Graham et al., 2016.
  • Allows us to make and report judgements on pupil progress to interested parties.

Assessment is important:

  • Allows teachers to plan the next steps in learning.

How else could that 'everyday' classroom practice be used to assess pupils accurately?

Formative Assessment:

  • Children don't need to be writing in their books every lesson. There are four skills to assess: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Many of the things we already do in the primary languages classroom as part of 'normal' classroom practice can double up as assessment opportunities:
    • eavedropping on vocabulary games to check for pronunciation.
    • role plays and mini performances.
    • having individuals come up to demonstrate on the board.
    • using questioning (particularly 'cold calling' following paired discussion).
    • moving around the room to check for misconceptions during group/paired/individual activities.
    • using a TA or other adult and having them feed back.
  • Plan your assessment points in advance of the lesson.
Think pumpkin


  • Always think about the
  • How do children get better at this skill? Is it by testing or by practising?
  • What do your school's summative assessments (if you do them) tell you about what the children know?
  • Do they test all four skill areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing?
  • How is the data from these summative assessments used to inform future learning?
  • How do pupils learn from any mistakes made when undertaking summative assessment?
  • Could you get the same information in different ways?

Summative Assessment:

Light-touch assessment, which children will enjoy doing.

Language Magician:

  • Interactive tools and games.
  • Free account with loads of different ways to create interactive games.
  • Can add sound to create listening activities.

Learning Apps:

  • Interactive tools and games.
  • Free account: access to 18 different interactives. You can also access any interactives made by others.
  • Free account holders can make up to 5 games of their own.
  • Paid accounts (£4.90 pcm; £7.35 pcm) allow you to make more and have access to a greater number of interactives.

Word Wall:

Evidencing progression

What sorts of activities might children be doing in the languages classroom?

As a teacher, what will I know about each child once they have finished the following activity?

Assessing Listening:

  • Build from word-level, to phrase-level and finally to longer chunks.
  • In Year 3, a physical response to show that they have understand a word or simple instruction is sufficient to demonstrate listening skills.
  • By Year 6, there will need to be a demonstration of more sophisticated listening skills with longer chunks of text.
  • Let's look at one together.
  • Think about the skills that I am assessing, as we go through the activity.

For more listening activity inspiration see: The LiPS Listening Project.

Assessing Listening:


  • Build from word-level, to phrase-level and finally to longer chunks.
  • In Year 3, children might do activities like this number puzzle, matching single words to their meaning in English.
  • Here they are reading but we also able to assess their understanding of the meaning of the words too.
  • We would also be interested in checking if they are able to pronounce the words acurately, using their knowledge of phonics.

Assessing Reading:

  • By Year 6, pupils should be empowered to engage with longer texts for reading.
  • Like when they are doing reading comprehension in English, this doesn't mean they have to understand every single word.
  • Children should be encouraged to use their prior knowledge and knowledge of cognates, before they use a bilingual dictionary to look up unknown words.
  • Assessment of understanding might include:
    • translation.
    • comprehension questions.
    • 5 facs you now know.

Assessing Reading:


Assessing Writing:

  • Write Away, is available through Lightbulb Languages. It can be a really helpful way to work out where the writing your pupils produce sits.
  • It gives us some context to the writing that has been produced, in terms of how long the pupils have been learning the language and the amout of suppport they had during the writing process.


Assessing Writing:

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5


Assessing Writing:

What might evidence of progression look like?

Summative assessments.

Children's comments about their learning.

Photos. Make sure they are telling you something.

Post-its with observations.

Written work in books.

Videos of children speaking/singing (or QR codes).

Remembering more, remembering better

How can we help pupils to retain knowledge and skills?

J'aime le badminton mais je n'aime pas le cyclisme.

6 points

5 points

2 points

4 points

3 points

1 point

Je n'aime pas la gymnastique parce que c'est barbant.

I don't like gymnastics because it's boring.

J'adore le badminton parce que c'est bon pour la santé.

I love badminton because it's good for your health.

I hate football because it's boring.

Je déteste le football parce que c'est barbant.

J'aime l'athlétisme parce que c'est amusant.

I like athletics because it's fun.

J'adore le basket.

J'adore la boxe et j'aime le tennis.

I love boxing and I like tennis.

I like badminton but I don't like cycling.

J'aime l'athlétisme mais j'adore la boxe.

I love gymnastics but I don't like boxing.

I don't like badminton.

Je n'aime pas le badminton.

I hate tennis.

I like football.

I love basketball.

Je déteste le tennis.

I like athletics but I love boxing.

J'adore la gymnastique mais je n'aime pas la boxe.

I love basketball.

J'aime le football.

Knowledge Organisers

Supporting SEND learners

How can we make language-learning accessible?
  • Much of what we already do as teachers in MFL lessons supports SEND learners: songs, use of images, gestures etc.
  • Learning a new language can be a great leveller.
  • How can we support SEND pupils within language lessons?

Supporting SEND learners

  • Mixed-ability pairings.
  • Think, pair, share.
  • Pre-teaching (or pre-asking questions).
  • Gossaries instead of dictionaries
  • Using manipulatives.
  • 'No-ceilings' approaches.

No ceilings learning

The role of culture in language learning

why is it important?
  • Helps us understand more about a language or country more deeply.
  • Helps children communicate more effectively.
  • Questions to ask:
    • Am I in danger of teaching stereotypes?
    • Am I teaching about the wider French/Spanish-speaking world?

The importance of cultural understanding

Celebrating Cultural Events

Working with partners aborad

Cross - curricular links


Thank you