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Striving for





Modern Foreign Languages – Curriculum Statement of Intent

‘Languages are information and information is everything’

In today’s multicultural society, learning a modern foreign language has never been more important – both in the present day, and for the future. At Shirebrook Academy, we deliver French and Spanish. Spanish is the 2nd most widely spoken language in the world, with French often used for translation purposes across Europe and the rest of the world. Estimates suggest that by 2050, 750 million people will speak French in the world.

The Modern Foreign Languages department at Shirebrook Academy is committed to offering a high quality, ambitious languages curriculum which develops inter-personal skills, enriches lives, and prepares students for the world of work, further study and life. Language lessons are built on the 3 main pillars (phonics, vocabulary and grammar), which enable students to build and progress in all 4 key skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as develop an understanding of the language and its culture. We have a strong ‘languages for all’ philosophy, meaning all of our students have access to some form of languages education during their time with us – it is a key aspect of our vision that no student should be at a disadvantage when it comes to learning a language, and that social background and special educational need should not be barriers to learning. For this, inclusion is key and we provide our students with every opportunity to study a language.

Communication is at the heart of everything we do, and through our programmes of study in KS3 and KS4, students have regular opportunities to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing – skills which are invaluable not only in their languages lessons, but in other lessons across the curriculum and in their daily and future lives. Students also have the opportunity to develop their cultural understanding through use of authentic texts and are exposed to developing dictation skills as well as reading aloud in a foreign language. At Shirebrook Academy, we pride ourselves on planning well-sequenced lessons that are challenging and ambitious. Lessons focus on teaching to the top as well as providing support and scaffolding to ensure everyone is challenged and able to make progress.

As a department, we aim to show students the importance of languages beyond the four walls of the classroom, by using language in real-life contexts. To this end, we are committed to developing students’ linguistic skills, but also intercultural understanding and appreciation for different ways of life.

Our aim is for students to become both confident linguists and more culturally aware with a heightened appreciation for other ways of life. We strive towards students developing linguistic and grammatical skills (such as being able to communicate in, and understand, 3 tenses), as well as inter-personal skills such as increased self-confidence, communication, perseverance, resilience and adaptability, and to continually develop a growth mind-set through regular exposure to challenging content.

By studying a language at Shirebrook Academy, students are also more prepared for the world of work and further study, with colleges and universities often favouring students who have knowledge of a language, which can be useful in a range of careers, such as: travel and tourism, hotel catering, management, business, leisure, education and translation/interpreting – to name just a few.

We operate a spiral curriculum which builds on the knowledge and skills which students develop at Key Stage 2, allowing our Key Stage 3 Schemes of Work to be challenging and purposeful. The challenging yet supportive spiral nature to our curriculum prepares students well for GCSE study, and our Key Stage 4 approach allows students to develop confidence, spontaneity and the linguistic skills/knowledge necessary should they wish to continue their languages studies in to Key Stage 5. Our spiral curriculum ensures students are in the best possible position to develop in to high quality linguists and global citizens, with regular opportunities to re-visit and re-use prior knowledge in a range of settings and contexts.

Provision of valuable enrichment opportunities is a key aspect of our languages offering, and we are proud to offer an annual residential to Paris (both in April and at Christmas) or Barcelona; as well as an exciting annual school exchange with a school in Toulon on the French Riviera. We also run a Languages Week aimed at opening students up to languages and culture outside of the MFL classroom. We are committed to contributing to the wider curriculum, and much of what we do links to Personal Development, RHSC, SMSC and other subjects across the school including English, Maths and technology, PE and the Arts. ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart’ (Nelson Mandela).