Pittington Primary School | Hallgarth Lane, Durham, County Durham DH6 1AF

0191 3720314

Pittington Primary School

Welcome to our school

Languages Curriculum Intent

Our Languages Lead is: Ms Powers

Our Languages Link Governor is: Mrs Ingham


"Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye."

                                                                                                                                                 By William Gibson

The intent of Languages at Pittington is to ignite a desire for the acquisition of languages and to open doors for our children in the global community in which we live. Research shows that when a bilingual person uses one language, the other is active at the same time, therefore positively affecting cognitive abilities.  The research goes further to suggest that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. As a result, although it is only a legal requirement for Languages to be taught in KS2, we have designed a curriculum which enables our younger children to be exposed to other languages as soon as possible. which in turn, can only aid their brain development.

We appreciate that there is a strong link between Languages and other subjects.  The close association with Latin helps children to make the link with the historical power and influence of the Romans as well as aiding them with spelling and definition of English words. Communication skills are enabled in Languages and it offers children a sense of achievement and confidence.

French is the chosen modern language because it is the only language offered at our main feeder school.  In addition, many of our staff were taught French themselves in school therefore staff confidence is high.


Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Groups

We intend our policy to be sensitive to the needs of different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. We encourage parents /carers to discuss any concerns with the Head teacher.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs

We will ensure that all pupils have access to the curriculum and we will offer provision appropriate to the needs of all our pupils, taking specialist advice where necessary.

Equality Statement

Pittington Primary School is committed to giving all of our pupils every equal opportunity in all aspects of school life.  Our aim is to offer an inclusive curriculum that is relevant and adapted to the needs and abilities of all pupils.  We ensure inclusive opportunities for raising self-esteem and celebrating success so that all learners can reach their true full potential.

At Pittington Primary School we are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers irrespective of race, religion, gender, disability, belief, sexual orientation, age or socio-economic background.  We provide an environment which enables every pupil to feel safe, encourages good health and wellbeing, and promotes relationships that are trustful and respectful.  We believe that every teacher is a teacher of all children including those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) and it is our duty to value each individual child to enable them to enjoy learning through an inclusive curriculum.  It is our aim to continue to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which all those connected to the school feel proud of their identity, where all children have the ability to participate fully in school life, and where children are confident learners both for now and for their futures. 

We tackle any type of discriminatory behaviour or prejudice through the positive promotion of equality, by challenging bullying and stereotypes and by creating an environment which champions respect for all.  We provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed and to reach the highest level of personal achievement. We work in partnership with parents, carers, staff, governors and local services within our community to prepare children from Pittington Primary School for life in a diverse society.  We believe that diversity is a strength, which should be reflected and celebrated by all who learn, teach and visit Pittington Primary School.

Fundamental British Values

British Values is defined by the Department for Education as:

  • Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process
  • Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies to England
  • Support for equality of opportunity for all
  • Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
  • Respect for and tolerance of difference faiths and religious and other beliefs

At Pittington Primary School, we ensure that the fundamental British Values are introduced, discussed and permeate the ethos and work of the school. The curriculum provides a vehicle for furthering and deepening an understanding of these concepts.

We actively encourage the children at our school to be unique, creative, independent and open-minded individuals who respect themselves and others in our school, the local community and across the wider world.

Our aim is to nurture our children on their journey through primary school so that they can grow into caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who can, and will make, a positive difference to society across Britain and the world.

Pittington Primary School is committed to giving all of our pupils every equal opportunity in all aspects of school life.  Our aim is to offer an inclusive curriculum that is relevant and adapted to the needs and abilities of all pupils.  We ensure inclusive opportunities for raising self-esteem and celebrating success so that all learners can reach their true full potential.


Languages in Early Years

Children encounter a range of languages. They greet each other in different languages and talk about new words learnt from holidays abroad. Chinese New Year provides an opportunity to encounter Chinese.

Languages in Key Stage 1

In Year 1, we continue to build upon developing enthusiasm for languages further.  Children respond to the register in French and use simple words and phrases such as ‘merci’, bonjour Madame__’ This is not formally recorded.

In Y2, children continue to respond to the register in French and also learn how to respond to the question ‘ça va?’ By the end of Y2, children receive some short formal French lessons which introduce them to our French curriculum.  They are enthused and given their new books to take up into Y3.  It forms an important part of their transition.

Languages in Key Stage 2

We follow the National Curriculum for French across Key Stage 2. Although the National Curriculum has a large emphasis on oral work, we have found that our children are ready and can cope with the written word from early in Year 3. 

French is taught in Pittington in a whole-class setting, by the class teacher or a HLTA. The Subject Lead is a specialist and offers support to her colleagues.

We strive to ensure that our pupil’s attainment is in line or exceeds their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our children. A document of End Points for each term in KS 2 has been developed for teacher use.  This forms a substantial guide to ascertain what the children should know by the end of each term and it also helps to inform their planning. The learning challenges used within lessons and progression girds used to plan and teach MFL, ensure that children are accessing work at age related expectations, with regular opportunities to be challenged.

Evidence is kept of children’s work in French books.  As well as strong teaching, marking plays a part in moving the children forward.  This can be in the form of written or verbal feedback.

The whole school celebrates European Day of Languages on an annual basis. This is to promote the diversity of languages. Enrichment occurs further through French students from Durham University visiting and talking to the children.  A link has been established with a school in southern France.  Children enjoy communicating through Skype and sending each other Christmas cards.

The teaching of a language in Key Stage 2 at Pittington is a statutory requirement and forms parts of a curriculum entitlement for all. The school aims to ensure that all children have opportunities to access and benefit from learning a foreign language together according to their needs Therefore all pupils regardless of race, gender, special educational needs or language spoken at home will have the opportunity to develop this language capability in school Care will be taken to ensure that a variety of language learning activities and strategies are deployed in order to engage and motivate all learners.


By following our Languages curriculum at Pittington, children will know more, remember more and understand more.  Consequently, children will develop the knowledge to be able to communicate in another language other than English.

 When children leave our school at the end of Year 6, we expect them to be able to:

  • engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others;
  • speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
  • develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
  • present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
  • write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
  • describe people, places, things and actions
  • understand basic grammar (feminine, masculine forms) and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.

French is monitored by subject leaders throughout all year groups using a variety of strategies such as book scrutinises, lesson observations, staff discussions and discussions with pupils.  Feedback from this is given to teachers . Data from SIMs is analysed and the outcome from all of these are combined to develop an annual action plan.


At Pittington Primary School we believe that studying a language in primary school provides children with skills that are essential for the twenty-first century. As well as giving them the opportunity to learn a second language, an increasingly important skill in our globalised society, it also helps to promote and develop a broader intercultural understanding. The study of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.  It helps them to develop their ability to communicate, including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. It provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. The natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enrich the overall teaching and learning experience.

All Key Stage 2 pupils are entitled to foreign language learning in school time. Pittington recognises the value of this and provides age-appropriate Languages learning opportunities for all children in Years 3 – 6.  In preparation for this, we also provide children in Early Years and KS 1 with progressive foundations which will prepare them for more formal learning in KS 2. The focus language taught in our school is French.


In Pittington, French is taught in a whole-class setting, by the class teacher or PPA cover HLTA. Work is planned following initial advice from the local authority and this is based around the QCA scheme for MFL.  Durham LA have produced a wealth of ideas and resources which are available on the learning gateway.  Our school has adapted and this and added to it to make it relevent to our unique school context.  Our long term plan ensures progression from previous units. Lessons are designed to motivate children from the first moment. They have clear, achievable objectives and incorporate different learning styles. SEND children have access to the curriculum through variation of task or grouping.

Each class has a timetabled lesson. French lessons provide a variety of sources to model the language, use games and songs to maximise enjoyment and make as many connections to real life situations as possible. Lessons initially focus on speaking and listening but as early as possible in Year 3, children record written work in books which are passed through the years and become a portfolio of their learning.

At Pittington, we carry out the curriculum planning in French in three phases: long term, medium term and short term. The long term plan maps the units studied in each term during each key stage. They also ensure continuity and progression throughout the school, enabling pupils to progress in terms of knowledge, speaking and listening, reading and writing in French.

 Medium term plans focus upon the areas of progression set out in the long term plans and incorporate resources, links with Maths and English and enrichment opportunities for the children.   

Short term plans break down the learning objectives into weekly lessons. It is the class teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all children enjoy a rich and varied learning experience supported by a range of resources to stimulate interest of children with differing abilities and needs.

Role of the Subject Leader

The role of the Subject Leader is to provide leadership and direction for their subject area and ensure that it is managed and organised to meet the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum as well as those of the school. The Subject Leader, in conjunction with the Senior Leadership Team, has the responsibility for securing high standards of teaching and learning in their subject area as well as playing a major role in the development of school policy and practice. Throughout their monitoring activities, the Subject Leader ensures that practices improve the quality of education provided, meet the needs of all children, raise standards of achievement across the school as well as raising the aspirations of all children. The Subject Leader should liaise with the SENCO to ensure that children with special educational needs are able to fulfil their full potential within the curriculum.

The Subject Leader plays a key role in supporting and motivating teachers, and other staff, across the school. Subject Leaders assist the Senior Leadership Team to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning to inform future priorities and targets for the subject area. The Subject Leader should lead by example, by setting high standards in their own teaching.

Subject Leaders are allocated time to monitor their subject areas. These times include staff meeting time, twilight CPD sessions and non-contact time within the school day. Monitoring activities include:

  • Observing lessons
  • Work samples
  • Talking to staff
  • Talking to pupils
  • Monitoring planning
  • Analysing data
  • Monitoring displays – this includes wall displays, Learning Journeys
  • Auditing resources
  • Questionnaire
  • External review from an eternal professional

The Subject Leader identifies needs in their own subject area and recognises that these must be considered in relation to the overall needs of the school. The Subject Leader must understand how their subject area contributes to whole school priorities and to the overall education and achievements of all pupils. There are opportunities throughout the year for Subject Leaders to discuss the strengths and weaknesses within their subject areas to a governor who is specially linked to the subject area as well as meeting with the Curriculum Committee.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Assessment

 The Languages leader will monitor planning, talk to pupils, and scrutinise books. Lesson observations are also a way of monitoring the subject. The work of the subject leader involves supporting colleagues and informing teachers about current developments in the subject, as well as celebrating good practice and sharing it on our school’s website.

At the end of each term, teachers assess the children's knowledge and progression in French. Teachers have uniquely designed ‘End Point’ sheets which they use as a guide to assess children’s current attainment. These sheets are also a guide for educators to know where the children are expected to be by the end of each term. Assessment will be used to support teaching and learning and bi-annually, these judgements are recorded on the SIMS software package. Every year, data from this is collated and analysed by the Languages leader. The findings from this helps form for the subject action plan. 

At the end of the academic year, parents/carers will be informed about their child’s progression in French.

If you would like more information about our Languages Curriculum please contact Mrs Lee, Headteacher by clicking here