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

This project will improve teaching and learning in our languages department and across our school, and positively impact on our pupils’ attitude towards learning languages and other cultures. As Spanish has recently been introduced to our curriculum, we would like to use this opportunity to develop the skills of our MFL staff, giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to be able to teach Spanish up to A level. We also think that it is essential that a positive attitude towards other cultures is reinforced across the school and we wish to introduce a European dimension across the curriculum. We would like to use the opportunity of this project to look for ideas and resources to support colleagues in other departments to introduce an international element to their teaching. We want to improve teaching in our school through finding new and innovative strategies to tackle particular issues such as improving the use of ICT to enhance learning, reinforcing literacy concepts through the teaching of languages, and finding strategies to support pupils with EAL, SEN and low basic skills. We want to develop our pupils’ interest in other cultures and believe that developing a link with the school in Spain will be an effective way to improve our children’s attitude towards other cultures, and show them the relevance of languages to their own lives. We want to reinforce learning across the curriculum by encouraging more cross curricular collaborative work, and establish a resource library that can be shared by all departments to enhance teaching. Another objective for us is to support our local partner primary schools who are introducing Spanish to the curriculum in Key Stage 2 for the first time. We would like to be a source of support to them, and want to use this opportunity to gather ideas and resources, skills and knowledge, which will help us to develop a training package to be able to support them. We plan to develop a project over the course of the year. As part of this project, we would like to involve five members of staff in training courses in Spain. We have chosen the course that we feel reflects our needs and is appropriate to helping us achieve our aims. The course will involve intensive language learning sessions, cultural activities relevant to our pupils, teaching methodology and new ideas. It also involves a placement in a Spanish school, allowing us to establish links that will be strong and long lasting. All members of staff will use the opportunity to observe practice within a different education system to help us to improve teaching and learning in our own school. We will use the opportunity to build a personal link with a school in Spain to develop our pupils’ interest in other cultures and increase their aspirations and openness. We will plan with the Spanish teachers ways in which we can build in regular opportunities to work together face-to-face and working on collaborative projects through eTwinning. We believe that having this opportunity to get to know Spanish pupils will lead to more enjoyment of learning, more motivation and therefore better attainment. We believe that this will be an effective way to contribute to changing our pupils’ attitudes towards languages and other cultures. It will also make language learning more interesting as we will be able to focus on areas that the children are most interested in, and this will lead to increased uptake of languages in our school and a general positive attitude and raising of the profile of languages. The project will support the introduction of Spanish to our school to GCSE and A level. This will mean that our pupils have more choice in what they study, and we can be confident that our school is in a position to teach Spanish consistently at higher levels. Staff will have a much improved level of Spanish, more up-to-date knowledge of current Spanish culture, a much better knowledge of different aspects of teaching, and many more teaching ideas. The development of a link with the Spanish school will mean that our pupils are more motivated to learn and will have a much better insight into the reality of life in Spain. This will greatly help with their intercultural understanding and will positively impact on their attitudes towards language learning and other cultures. There will be more provision available for our pupils such as extracurricular clubs and celebration events, we will develop new materials, planning formats and schemes of work which will be shared with other schools in our area. We will further develop our links with our partner primary schools, and will use the knowledge and skills gained on these courses to develop materials that can be used with them.

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