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Darlinghurst School Professional Development in Modern Foreign Languages
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Darlinghurst School is an academy in a predominantly white working class area in Southend. As a school, we are passionate about bringing the world to the classroom and preparing children for a future filled with exciting international opportunities and experiences. The school does already have some educational links with France, South Africa and Latvia and high importance is placed on the international dimension. Although French is already taught across the school, we recognise a strong need for children to develop deeper language learning strategies, which can be transferred to new languages. As a result of recent auditing staff skills and observing lessons, a significant lack of proficiency and confidence in language teaching has been identified. A key aim of the project would be to provide an invaluable opportunity for teachers to improve their own language skills. In light of the new statutory requirements for MFL in the primary curriculum, we are committed to ensuring our pupils are receiving high quality, engaging lessons, rich with the target language. Secondly, we aim to help children acquire useful language learning strategies which can be used and applied when learning new languages. With this in mind, we want to expose children to a second language; Spanish. Another aim is to deepen children's understanding of the world, through educating them on countries and their cultures. Furthermore, we hope to create and extend our links with national and international schools and practitioners, in order to share good practice and enable pupils to communicate with children around the world. Lastly, we aim to ensure that other staff also gain the learning that our participants can share with them. Outcomes from the project will be disseminated widely across the school within our local community. As part of the project, 4 keys stage 2 teachers will undergo intensive language training in France and a further 4 teachers will do the same in Spain. 2 from each wave will then return to France or Spain for a second time, in order to further develop their skills. These participants are largely less experienced teachers or NQTs, who have had little or no MFL training before now. They have also expressed a desire to become more competent and confident in delivering and speaking the target language. They will attend 5 days of language lessons and be immersed in the language for the duration of their stay abroad. Language learning strategies will also be demonstrated for their professional development. As a result of the project, the participants will have improved language skills and a better grasp of how to deliver high quality lessons. The school will benefit from a renewed sense of excitement around languages and the introduction of a second language will enable children to transfer language learning skills. The profile of the global dimension will be raised and children will recognise that languages play an important part in their futures; they have a purpose. Moving forward, we want children to have a lifelong passion for languages, travel and much more. The project would be invaluable to us and in our late headteacher's memory, his vision would live on.

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