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Years 7-11 Students

Modern Foreign Languages

We aim for our students to see language learning as a ‘liberation from insularity’1 and for it to provide an opening into learning about and respecting new cultures. From the outset our aim is instil a love of languages and a thirst for learning, through building confidence in the three pillars of language learning (phonics, grammar and vocabulary), in an engaging manner. Their resilience will build throughout their language journey and will be underpinned by developing a wide range of vocabulary. Our goal is to enable students to manipulate grammar, spotting patterns as they learn and being able to apply this linguistic knowledge with increasing ease and complexity. It is paramount to teaching a language that we revisit and rebuild on previously learned knowledge in order to build confidence so students can take pride in developing their linguistic abilities, acquiring more as they join the golden threads of the mechanics of applying language knowledge. We aim to focus on developing the breadth and depth of pupil’s abilities in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing which must be supported by a strong foundation of key grammar and vocabulary. The supportive learning environment we create via mutual respect between peers and teachers, fosters a positive culture of kindness and respect, which is imperative in establishing an environment in which spontaneity is celebrated and actively promoted. Students are supported in expressing simple, justified opinions in KS3 whist then using higher order opinion verbs in KS4 and then progress with ease into using more complex opinion structures as they become masters of the language moving into KS5. 

In Modern Foreign Languages our purpose is to ignite the inner linguist in all our students. We aim to develop mastery of using an increasing range of grammatical structures. This is best exemplified in how we increase student confidence in going from novice to mastery when in KS3 we lexically teach them how to use the conditional tense, they then learn the whole formation of this tense to express what they would do in KS4 strengthened by recognising this tense from KS3 into mastery of this tense to use in conjunction with the subjunctive in expressing wishes and wants in KS5. Students will become empowered to confidently converse in real-life contexts over topics that build upon prior learning in KS3 and/or are in keeping with the typical day-to-day interactions that young people would expect to have in the French/Spanish speaking world. We give due consideration to the ‘recycling’ and ‘interleaving’ of key constructions, words and grammar to be revisited regularly so as to enhance exponentially their retention2 to create exceptional linguists. We promote resilience and comprehension skills for understanding increasingly complex written and spoken texts through each Key Stage, whilst also fostering cultural awareness and an understanding, appreciation and respect of diversity. Through all of this, a sense of adventure is encouraged with students realising they can transfer their classroom learning into the real world. 

We take real pride in ensuring that students experience language acquisition as a full-on sensory extravaganza. We deliver a far-reaching and ambitious curriculum in such a way that is akin to enriching their knowledge with all that relates to Francophone and Hispanic culture via the art, architecture, gastronomy as well as the nuances that make language learning such a joyous and fruitful experience. Through mastery of this subject our will is for students to become engrossed in the deeper aspects of language learning that extends beyond the classroom. The power and passion that is exuded in language learning can be experienced via the many enrichment activities we run such as exchanges, a whole languages festival week as well as having the opportunity for language lovers in all year groups become in-school leaders; supporting and guiding others. There is nothing more powerful than the gift of knowing another language. Hence at Ilkley Grammar School, we pride ourselves on being able to equip our students with the tools and metacognition skills that enable them to take responsibility for their own learning.  We build passionate linguists who are committed to expanding their vernacular and have a love of communicating in their second language that will stay with them forever as respectful and kind citizens of the world.

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