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Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Many of our children don’t have access to European travel, and our school is in a largely white British area, so we need to concentrate on improving our pupils’ awareness of other cultures and see the importance of languages.We believe through improving the teaching of languages in our schools and linking it with other subjects, we will show our students that languages are important. We want to move the focus of our teaching more towards current culture that will be of interest to our pupils and give them the chance to have real communication with Spanish and French students of their own age through creating links with schools in Spain and France and working together on eTwinning and joint projects.Our pupils now have less access to native speakers as we have recently lost our Foreign Language Assistants. We need to tackle the problems that result from this, principally that our pupils who need to take GCSE oral examinations no longer have the support of regular contact with native speakers. Through training in Spain and France, we will equip our teachers to teach more effectively and in a way that will engage and motivate students and will focus on specific areas of interest to our school such as the development of cross curricular links and the possible future introduction of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). We are keen to increase the uptake of languages in KS4 and fire enthusiasm for MFL among students. We need to look for new ways to engage our students through developing better resources, international links and better teaching methods.We want our staff to have the chance to share ideas and strategies with other teachers and to observe innovative language teaching in other European systems. We want to address more robustly the perception among some students that foreign languages have little or no relevance to their future life and career prospects. One of our new school priorities is the ambition that all our school leavers will go on to university or higher level apprenticeships. We want to do what we can within the language department to increase our pupils’ aspirations and show them the many career possibilities and study opportunities that are available to them both at home and within Europe.We intend to improve teachers’ confidence and competence with foreign languages and to broaden language skills beyond just the MFL department. We all need to continually refresh our abilities and raise our confidence in the target language so we can talk and teach about contemporary European culture with greater confidence.We will develop cross curricular links in order to give our pupils a context for their learning and show them the importance and relevance of language learning. We are particularly focused on increasing the use of target language in lessons and would like to look at the feasibility of delivering non-language lessons in French or Spanish. We would particularly welcome the opportunity to investigate how MFL might assist whole school objectives to raise achievement in maths.We want to develop a link with an institution in France. We currently have successful exchange trips to Germany and Spain and are also at the early stage of developing a cultural exchange with a school in Senegal, a project jointly led by the heads of MFL and RE. The RE teacher would greatly benefit from the opportunity to improve her confidence with French to help facilitate further this exciting prospect.We intend to send four members of staff on structured training courses in France and Spain over the course of two years with one member of staff taking part in training in both France and Spain. They will include intensive language learning, cultural input, teaching methodology and placement in a Spanish/French school. We envisage a rapid improvement in participants’ language skills and up-to-date cultural knowledge. This will mean that they are able to teach in a much more confident and enthusiastic manner leading to greater enthusiasm among pupils. This will clearly lead to better attainment and it will also encourage our pupils to continue with languages at higher levels. Developing links with Spanish and French schools will be of great benefit to both teachers and learners. Teachers will have more language skills which will lead to them being more employable and impact on their future careers. There will be a general positive impact on pupil attainment within MFL. We also envisage an impact on general attainment including maths and literacy due to the focus we will place on developing these basic skills through the teaching of languages and the increase in speaking and listening skills that will result from the links established.The impact of the project will also spread beyond our school. We will encourage parents and the local community to be involved in international activities and support their pupils’ learning of languages.

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