What is MFL ?

MFL is an abbreviated form for Modern Foreign Languages.

Our definition for KS2-MFL enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, and to understand and respond to its speakers. Our language culture is based around how we relate and behave towards one another. Through cultural diversity, MFL demonstrates how we can communicate differently.

A curriculum based upon children linguistically learning about the broader world, developing a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. Learning a second language offers the children the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, by developing a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of themselves, others and cultural differences. Increased capability in the use of languages promotes initiative and independent learning and encourages diversity within society.

The study of MFL teaches children to express themselves in new ways. This will develop their immediate sense of belonging to the wider world and will start to prepare them for future opportunities in modern life, enabling them to become life-long learners.


“Language is the road map of culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”

Rita Mae Brown

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

Frank Smith

We want our children to leave Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy being resilient, responsible, respectful, aspirational, caring and independent (our school values). We also want our children to ‘broaden their horizons’ and have knowledge of the world outside our school. We want to make a difference in the lives of our children and ensure that they have a life-long passion for learning. MFL immerses the children into a second language supports these aspirations for them in many different ways.

Through our MFL curriculum we aim to widen our children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of the wider world.  MFL is a hugely important subject, especially in today’s world. We want our children to have the knowledge to provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping them to study and work in other countries.

We want our children to have the skills to ask questions about the information that they are given and not to accept what they are told at face value. We want our children to understand the value of foreign language and appreciate all that it does and the doors it can open. We do this through the four key language learning skills; speaking, reading, writing and grammar. All teachers will know where every child is at any point in their foreign language journey.

Through our teaching of French, we consistently aim to raise awareness of MFL as a subject and as a potential career field for the future and open up other languages too. The children should leave our school knowing many different career prospects for bi-lingual speakers. Careers which are inherently linked with the subject and also those which use the skills that MFL as a subject teaches.

They should be excited by MFL and eager to learn more by building upon previous knowledge. They should be able to understand different cultures linked to what they are learning. The children should be fully invested in the purpose of their learning and will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around topics and themes. These building blocks of language develop into a more complex, fluent and authentic language. Their starting points or life experiences will not limit children. We will bring the experiences to them.

How do we teach French?

We ‘bring learning to life’ to ensure that they are passionate about MFL and, as we know social mobility is low in Newark, we try to give children experiences of the wider world. At Bishop Alexander we make use of technology so that even if we cannot physically take them to another part of the world, they can experience being there using virtual reality.

Our lessons are structured so that the children can work through 4 key concepts of French; speaking, reading, writing and grammar. Running through this is the concept of Linguistic Enquiry (procedures and skills). This is how we define them:

Speaking- to listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding. To explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words. To engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help. To speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures. To develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases. To present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences.

Reading- to appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in French to broaden vocabulary and develop the ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary.

Writing- to write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly. To describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing.

Grammar – to understand basic French grammar, including feminine and masculine form; key features and patterns of the language and how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences and how these differ from or are similar to English.

At Bishop Alexander we follow the Sue Cave Scheme of Work (Cave Languages The lesson plans are designed to be 30 minutes in length for Years 3 and 4 and 45 minutes in length for Years 5and 6. There are follow-up activities to each lesson to increase the exposure time in a week. The lessons are designed to be progressive and build upon prior learning, moving from word to sentence level over the four years to develop the complexity of the language they use. It is a requirement that teachers implement new and previous vocabulary into daily routines, such as reciting days of the week, daily counting and answering the register. This will enable the children to retain information through metacognitive learning.

  • The lesson plans include ideas for support for the less able and to extend the more able.
  • The lesson activities are challenging, varied and interactive and develop listening, reading, speaking and writing skills.
  • The choice of vocabulary ensures exposure to all the key phonic sounds and ability to build sentences using grammatical knowledge.
  • Children will build on previous knowledge gradually as their foreign language lessons continue to recycle, revise and consolidate previously learnt language whilst building on all four-language skills: speaking, reading, writing and grammar.
  • In Year 6, the content allows for revisiting and consolidating prior knowledge
  • Knowledge and awareness of required and appropriate grammar concepts will be taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge.
  • Each year group will have an overview of units, which are delivered, during the academic year to ensure substantial progress and learning is achieved.
  • Each unit and lesson will have clearly defined objectives and aims.
  • Each lesson will incorporate interactive whiteboard materials to include ample speaking and listening tasks within a lesson.

Although MFL is not mandatory in Foundation and Key Stage 1, at Bishop Alexander we believe the introduction of MFL at an early age will ignite their curiosity to learn and be able to say simple words in a new language.

It is expected that formative assessment in each lesson inform the planning and teaching of subsequent lesson plans

  • The lesson plans indicate which activity is an opportunity to assess progress and is linked to the KS2 targets and in particular to those of the appropriate year group.
  • The completed activities in the accompanying workbooks gather evidence of the listening, reading and writing targets
  • Evidence of speaking activities can be gathered by making audio recordings of the suggested activities in the lesson plans.
  • Children self-assess their progress at the end of each section of work using a traffic light system and comment on their grasp of the new knowledge. In addition, there is space for teachers to provide a written response
  • Based on the evidence of the above records of achievement and progress, teachers can inform parents/guardians of this, using report statements, which relate to the expected targets of each year group.
  • All of the above provides evidence that the ‘statements of intent’ are met

National  Curriculum link