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Improving Modern Foreign Languages and Introducing Foreign Cultures
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The introduction of languages into primary schools from September 2014 means that we are facing significant changes in our school. We need to ensure that our school is in a position to be able to fulfil new curriculum requirements and establish sustainable provision, so that we can consistently deliver high quality language teaching. We need to develop a strong and confident support team within our school who can then support the rest of our staff. We also want to be in a position to offer support to other schools within Tameside. We want our core team to access training to; - develop a high level of confidence in the Spanish language, - develop cultural knowledge, - acquire a good understanding of effective techniques and strategies for the teaching languages throughout the primary phase, - find and evaluate resources, - form a network with other professionals to support them in guiding our school through these changes, and - experience at first hand life in a Spanish school. We have already established a solid link with a school in the Cantabria region of Spain and our proposed project will focus on building and strengthening links with the school and developing high-quality, joint curriculum projects which can then be shared within our local authority. We would like our staff to be able to observe good practice in this school and particularly focus on the differences in school systems and what constitutes best practice. We want staff and pupils to develop positive attitudes to language learning, bring language learning to life for our pupils, give them a real purpose for learning, and give them an insight into the lives of children in another country. We also want to use this opportunity to further develop links with our local community and with parents. To achieve these outcomes, we will develop a project involving the intensive training of our core MFL team. We have identified a series of three courses taking place in the Cantabria region of Spain. The three courses will take place over two years. They will be progressive and each will build on the previous. Each will have a different focus and there will be tasks to complete in between each course. As a result of these courses, these four members of staff will be in an excellent position to lead the development of languages in our school, developing excellent teaching and learning and outstanding lessons, and they will also be in a position to make a significant contribution to leading the subject within our local authority. We will work closely with local authority advisers within our region to develop training opportunities for other schools within Tameside. We expect the impact of our projects to be deep and far reaching. The improvements in language competence and cultural knowledge that we expect to result from this intensive experience will mean that the four participants will be in a strong position to be able to drive forward the embedding of Spanish in our school and offer a higher level of support to colleagues. They will also have developed an excellent understanding of language teaching methodology and have a large bank of ideas and resources which they can use in their dissemination, training, and support of others. There will be an impact on the participants personally as they will have greatly increased their professional skills and teaching abilities and will have developed new skills for training and supporting peers. The impact of having a strong core of staff within our school with these skills will be felt by our current staff and members of staff who come to work in our school in the future as we will have developed a sustainable capacity to pass on the necessary skills and knowledge to any member of staff. Languages will achieve the same status as all the other subjects in the curriculum, be well-planned, progressive, and well taught. All teachers will be responsible for teaching languages within their own class and languages will be embedded throughout the curriculum and included in long-term plans. Languages will be introduced into Key Stage 1 and EYFS and Spanish will become part of the everyday life of our school. There will be more use of ICT within language learning and our children will have more contact with native speakers. There will also be more cross curricular work and links with other subjects such as literacy. The impact on our pupils will be better teaching of languages, more learning opportunities, better resources, improved links with the Spanish school leading to more interesting and motivating projects, a better understanding of Spanish culture and the relevance of language learning and greater motivation to learn. They will have more opportunities for learning through extracurricular clubs and cultural events. We will also offer support and training to other schools within our local authority, so that the impact of our project will be felt across our local authority area of Tameside.
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