MFL at Walkington Primary School

Language learning enables young people to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, and to understand and respond to its speakers. It is a critical element of a curriculum aimed at creating well-rounded citizens who display ‘global competence’.  Not only does it broaden their communication skills and life chances, it also fosters a deeper understanding of people and places beyond our own shores, and generates cultural capital that will serve pupils well not only in the next stage of education, but in their social and commercial activities in later life.

Language learning and cultural understanding have gained a new importance and resonance in the current political and economic climate. Language skills in this country often compare unfavourably with those of other nations, but starting in primary school gives children a head start and makes language learning a normal part of the curriculum early on in their school career.

Language and culture are inextricably linked, and language learning helps schools to cover SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development). Children learn about the different countries where the new language is spoken, and this causes them to reflect on their own surroundings and culture.

Younger children are more open and receptive to language learning, and have an innate curiosity and cognitive advantage when learning a language, its new words and new sounds. They are confident, curious and less anxious learners. Furthermore, learning a new language has also been shown to improve critical thinking skills and to enhance social skills.

At Walkington School, through our foreign language learning, we aim to:

  1. Lay firm foundation blocks in terms of phonics, grammar and vocabulary upon which pupils can confidently build future knowledge   
  2. Foster a life-long positive attitude to learning languages and all the opportunities and benefits it can provide in later life 
  3. Provide a range of lessons which engage and enthuse pupils, building their enthusiasm and capacity for language learning in subsequent Key Stages 
  4. Through the parallel learning of language and culture, instil in children the critical role that language plays in national identity 
  5. Use language learning as a vehicle for modelling our own positive behaviours as adult life-long learners and to promote a sense of global citizenship. 

This intention also aligns closely with our aim of promoting the “Global Competencies” outlined by the OECD.

“Older pupils develop a good understanding of what they read. Leaders promote a love of reading and pupils say the school provides them with high-quality texts.”

Ofsted comments

“Teachers plan interesting activities that motivate the pupils. Staff ensure that all pupils are valued and included in learning.”

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“Staff encourage pupils to be resilient and take risks. Pupils know it is all right to get things wrong and that this is part of the process of learning.”

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“Learning in early years gets off to a good start. As a result of effective teaching and provision, children progress well from their starting points.”

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“The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding.”

Ofsted comments

“The profile of sport has been raised and more pupils now compete in sporting
activities.”

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“Effective safeguarding procedures are in place. All staff have a clear understanding of how to keep pupils safe.”

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“Pupils listen to the opinions of others and are keen to offer their views considerately and respectfully.”

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“The passionate and effective leadership of senior leaders and the commitment of the staff have sustained the good quality of education at the school.”

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“Parents and carers who offered their views to inspectors were overwhelmingly positive about the experiences of their children.”

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“The broad curriculum provides a wide range of enriching experiences for pupils.”

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“Improvements in the teaching of mathematics have helped to increase pupils’ progress and improve pupils’ ability to solve mathematical
problems.”

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“In all key stages, pupils are now making good progress from their starting points in reading, writing and mathematics.”

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“In mathematics lessons, resources are used well to enable pupils to visualise abstract ideas and to get a more secure understanding of number.”

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“Exciting activities, such as visits to places of worship, generate high levels of
interest and curiosity about the themes that pupils are studying.”

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“The school is a calm, orderly and purposeful place for pupils to make the most of their learning.”

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“Teachers use their good subject knowledge to plan interesting tasks that engage
pupils.”

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“Good teaching through early years and in key stage 1 ensures that the proportion of pupils passing the Year 1 phonics screening check is consistently above average.”

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“Adults give pupils
opportunities to share ideas and challenge their own thinking and this helps them to articulate their opinions with confidence.”

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“Pupils behave well and are polite, articulate and respectful.”

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“Governors have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and
are clear about priorities and plans for improvement.”

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“The quality of teaching at Walkington Primary is underpinned by warm and caring
relationships between staff and pupils.”

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“The school’s welcoming and caring ethos is central to its work in raising standards for
pupils.”

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“Leaders are well trained and use their knowledge of special educational needs to identify specific requirements at an early stage and provide timely support.”

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“Staff welcome the professional development they receive and say that this makes a real difference to the quality of their teaching.”

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“Governors are ambitious for the school. They challenge and support leaders effectively.”

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“The teaching of reading is good. There is a consistent approach to the teaching of
phonics.”

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“From the moment pupils enter the school each day, they are greeted with respect and a genuine sense of care from the adults in the building.”

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“By the end of Year 6, outcomes are high in reading and writing. In reading, they are
particularly high.”

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