Modern Languages


The Rationale for Primary Languages at William Ransom School

In our teaching of a foreign language, we aim to inspire pupils to develop a love of languages and to expand their horizons to other countries, cultures and people. Our curriculum ensures that inter-cultural understanding is promoted and highlights opportunities to learn about France, French and French-speaking countries and their festivals and traditions. 

We take every opportunity in school to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences. Our annual Festival of Languages and Cultural Heritage Display board offer our children and parents the opportunity to come in and celebrate and share their knowledge, language and customs with us.

Our Cultural Heritage Display Board

We teach French at William Ransom School as we have a wealth of highly qualified language teachers and the common language among them all is French.  All four keystage 2 French teachers have degree level language skills (German, Spanish and French) which is crucial to our success.  They all have excellent knowledge about language learning, grammar and excellent phonics knowledge and pronunciation.  As we have four specialist language teachers, our provision is incredibly sustainable; the teaching in our school is flexible so that we can move between year groups if needed. 

We aim to help William Ransom children grow into curious, confident and reflective language learners and to provide them with a foundation that will equip them for both French and further language studies beyond key stage 2.

Our curriculum is aligned with the National Curriculum for  2014

The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
  • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied


Our French curriculum offers a carefully planned sequence of lessons, ensuring progressive coverage of the skills required by the national curriculum.  Our curriculum Jigsaws detail the topic areas that are covered in each year group. The topics are continuously updated and reviewed annually to ensure that they are relevant and enjoyable to our children and to make the best use of our resources which have access to native speakers.

Our use of progression of skills tables ensures that the knowledge and skills of our pupils progresses within each academic year and is extended year upon year throughout the primary phase.  Key vocabulary, grammar and phonics are taught and recycled so that children can build on their knowledge.   Teachers can easily see what has been covered in previous years and what learning will come next.

The four key language learning skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught and all necessary grammar is covered in an age-appropriate way across key stage 2. This enables pupils to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas.

In lower KS2, children acquire basic skills and understanding of French with a stronger emphasis placed on developing their speaking and listening skills.   These are embedded and further developed in upper KS2, alongside reading and writing, gradually progressing onto more complex language concepts and greater learner independence.  In Year 5 and 6, we are moving towards encouraging children to become language detectives who explore how language works and can compare with English and the complex SPAG learning that they are doing in English.

Our children are encouraged to express their ideas and thoughts in French and we provide opportunities for them to interact and communicate with others in lessons in the form of games, songs, pair work, stories and role plays.  At the heart of our French curriculum is the desire to expose children to authentic French, so our scheme of work offers regular opportunities to listen to native speakers through our subscription and regular use of excellent online resources.

Every child in ks2 has a French lesson each week.  This is taught weekly as we believe language learning can only be successful if it is visited regularly.   Our language classrooms are a safe, engaging and risk-free environment, where children are encouraged to ‘have a go’ without risk of failure.

Children are given a French exercise book, which travels through key stage 2 with them.  They create a bank of reference materials of key vocabulary, grammar and previous knowledge which they can then refer to throughout the whole of their primary school language learning journey and build upon when they are re-visiting topic areas or recycling vocabulary and grammar for new purposes.   In addition, the children are taught how to look up and research language they are unsure of to help them with their spoken and written tasks going forward.

We have strong links with the local secondary schools to ensure that secondary teachers know what we do in foreign languages here at William Ransom School and regularly participate in Project Polyglot with Hitchin Girls’ School. Our former pupils enjoy coming back to work with us in French lessons, showing us how much further they have progressed in French!

What does a French lesson look like in William Ransom School?

  • A greeting and general personal identification questions (such as name, age, birthday, where we live, what pets we have)
  • A phonics focus
  • Re-cap of prior learning – what can we recall?
  • Different listening and speaking activities to introduce and consolidate vocabulary (flashcards, Pelmanism, online games, songs, stories, films, pair work)
  • An opportunity to use this vocabulary either by reading or writing tasks

All children are given equal opportunity to study French.  This means appropriate differentiation between individuals according to their particular needs in order to allow the fullest development of the individual. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Key word sheets
  • Writing frames
  • Visual aids
  • Targeted questioning
  • TA support where available


Impact is measured through:  key questioning skills built into lessons, quizzes to test prior knowledge, teacher progress sheets, pupil voice, self assessment aimed at targeting next steps in learning. 

Pupils are aware of their own learning goals and progression as each half term, we offer a pupil friendly self assessment so that all pupils can review their own learning at the end of each unit. They will know and will be able to articulate if they feel they have, or have not, met their learning objectives and can remember what they have learned.

We assess pupil learning and progression in the key language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) against the Key Stage 2 attainment targets. This information is recorded and monitored by the French Subject Leaders who use this data to ensure teaching is targeted and appropriate for each pupil, class and year group.

Our annual Festival of Languages

Some of our work in French in Year 6

There is always a French display around the school for the whole school to enjoy!