Language Learners

What We Intend To Do

“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.”
– Chinese Proverb

We aim for all our children to make substantial progress in at least one foreign language through ensuring that teaching:

• provides an appropriate balance of spoken and written language
• enables pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing
• focuses on practical communication

At Sherborne, we have selected French and Spanish as our primary languages. As languages spoken widely we understand their specific value. We do not however, limit the teaching of languages to these and take opportunities for learning others wherever possible, as we believe learning a foreign language provides an opening to understanding other cultures and opens doors for our pupils. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Teaching is designed to enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing.

We aim to provide opportunities for our pupils to communicate for practical purposes where possible, to learn new ways of thinking and to make links with English. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.

How We Teach Languages

Languages are taught throughout Key Stage 2 in the first instance, although opportunities are taken in Key Stage 1 to engage with languages through Language Days and European links with schools across Europe; maintained and fostered by continuous European school partnerships. Sherborne has a history of continuous School partnerships dating back to 2009, through the European Union Erasmus+ programme (formally Comenius).
We use Language Angels to teach foreign languages, through structured units which build on previous learning. Lower Key Stage Two work from the ‘Early’ language units and Upper Key Stage Two learn from the ‘Intermediate’ language units. In any particular cycle, children will be learning from either French or Spanish units and not both.
Languages are taught twice a week in short sessions with the aim of supporting retention of newly acquired information.

Children are taught to:

• ask and answer questions
• know and respond to familiar classroom commands
• memorise words and phrases
• understand basic grammar
• write basic sentences from memory
• work together to practise communication

In addition, pupils’ language skills are developed through:

• gaining insights into life in other cultures through visits, trips and research
• working together with students across Europe on project activities
• writing to pupils in our partner schools
• Skype sessions

How We Know Children Are Learning Well

The successful approach to the teaching of Languages at Sherborne results in an interesting engaging, high quality languages education. It ensures progress, retention of knowledge and provides children with the foundations for understanding languages that they can take with them once they complete their primary education. We provide memorable experiences that encourage children to be curious and interested in the wider world. Children take pride in language learning and are able to discuss their learning confidently

The impact of teaching and learning languages is shown through confident and enthusiastic speakers, who enjoy all aspects of languages and who demonstrate excellence in their attitudes to developing their reading, speaking, writing, albeit within stage-related expectations.

We recognise and assess how successfully the school's aims are met through every day monitoring carried out by class teachers and teaching assistants. This is done through observation, marking and feedback, discussions with the children and information gleaned from online platforms.

The Languages subject leader will monitor standards through lesson observations, pupil conferences and planning audits.

Three times a year (Autumn Term, Spring Term, Summer Term), teachers make formal judgements of the children's attainment and progress in Languages. This is submitted to the subject leader for review and discussed with the the Headteacher. During this meeting, any support needed is identified and action plans are amended.