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Improving language teaching and acquisition in Key Stage 1 and key Stage 2 through cultural and linguistic awareness
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

We have always taught languages through a small number of teachers taking on a specialist language teaching role. We now believe that this is not the most effective way to approach language teaching and would like to update our approach, giving more staff the opportunity to become competent in Spanish and French so that they can teach their own classes and integrate language and culture into everyday activities. As languages have now become compulsory in primary schools, we believe that our school has a duty to ensure that all our staff have the chance to develop their skills to enhance their future career prospects. We need to offer all our staff the chance to improve their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge in as short a time as possible, and to develop links with schools in France and Spain to work together on joint projects and to speak to each other regularly. As a school, we have a strong focus on improving provision for our pupils with special educational needs. We see this project as a great opportunity for us to develop improved language learning provision for our SEN pupils which can then be shared with other schools. We need to observe good practice within the Spanish and French education systems, share ideas with colleagues and find good quality resources that will be appropriate for our SEN pupils. We also want to find appropriate resources and ideas for Children in the Early Years and Foundation Stage, develop our language teaching methodology and increase the use of the target language in the classroom, develop more cross curricular work, links with literacy and ICT to support language learning, and to improve transition of pupils into secondary school. There are 120 children in the Early Years and Foundation stages. We aim to send 24 staff on structured training courses in France and Spain over the next two years. The courses involve a combination of intensive language learning, cultural information and activities, teaching ideas and methodology, discussion of important issues affecting schools and placement in a French or Spanish primary school. We believe that participation in these courses will give our staff the confidence they need to be able to teach languages in their own classes. Having been immersed in French/Spanish culture and having intensive language classes they will feel able to be spontaneous and creative in the classroom and increase the use of target language. They will have much more confidence in their pronunciation and will be confident to use Spanish or French for classroom instructions and daily routines. They will have a bank of teaching ideas and resources suitable for the age of their classes and will have had the chance to get to know the Spanish and French teachers on a personal level. By giving more members of staff the opportunity to take part in this training, we will give them the skills and confidence they need to be able to perform their current job well and will also improve their future career prospects. They will then be involved in dissemination and follow-up activities to pass on information to the rest of our staff. The courses will give our staff the chance to focus on areas that we particularly want to develop within our school such as effective ways to teach languages in the early years, supporting SEN children, making links with literacy and other curriculum subjects and supporting language learning through ICT and transition. The impact of this project will be significant. There will be a huge change in the way we approach language teaching in our school. All staff will be involved in planning and teaching languages within their own classes. This will lead to a much improved learning experience for our pupils and better attainment. Languages will be embedded into the life and daily routines of the classroom and reinforced through cross curricular links. Pupils will enjoy their lessons more and will greatly increase their understanding of other cultures. They will get to know Spanish and French children through communicating with our link schools and use of eTwinning. Our pupils with special educational needs will benefit from the results of this project as staff involved will have a much clearer idea of how to ensure SEN children are able to access language teaching and will have access to suitable materials to engage these pupils. Staff will have had the chance to get to know Spanish and French teachers on a personal level and gain an insight into school life in these countries. They will also have had the chance to observe the practice of teaching staff within another educational system and assimilate good practice into their own teaching. The impact of these courses will be felt by all the staff in our school. There will also be an impact on our local community and parents.
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