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School European Professional Development
Start date: Jul 1, 2016, End date: Jun 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

At the City of London Academy we work in a borough with high levels of deprivation, and the school has a large number of pupils from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and with special educational needs (SEN). The MFL curriculum has thus been designed to cater for a variety of needs, to celebrate differences, and to encourage students to be accepting of other cultures, nationalities, customs and traditions. We currently offer French and Spanish at GCSE and A Level, but uptake at A Level (post-16) remains very low (typically with 2 or 3 students per class), and currently we are not always able to accommodate student choices at GCSE.To fulfill our aims of ensuring students become active national, European and global citizens, it is our objective to increase the proportion of students studying foreign languages both at GCSE and A Level, with a particular focus on increasing students studying languages at the post-16 level. We hope to further promote a love for learning languages by adding a third European language to our curriculum: German.As such, we need to develop our staff’s non specialist language so that all members of the faculty (6 in total) are able to teach additional languages to higher levels, giving us greater flexibility in terms of what we can offer to our students. Not being native speakers of the languages we teach, all members of the faculty also need to update and develop our cultural knowledge and embed culture into teaching, integrating authentic materials into schemes of work. This is of particular relevance given the updated national curriculum for languages at Key Stage 3, and the revised specifications for GCSE and A Level. We also want to learn from good practice in our European partner countries regarding teaching and learning of foreign languages, developing new teaching methodologies.As part of our wider vision, alongside this project, we want to develop international links with a view to arranging, as part of a future phase of development, pupil visits to Spain and France, leading to an increase in uptake of languages and a widening of students’ aspirations.A further objective is to increase the overall attainment of Special Educational Need (SEN) students, with a view to encouraging these students to pursue the study of foreign languages at a higher level. The development of the teaching assistants within our faculty through participation in this training is central to this aim.For this project, we plan to send members of our MFL faculty to Spain, France and Germany over a period of two years to take part in training courses which include intensive language learning, cultural activities, teaching ideas and methodology, resource gathering and sharing, and developing links with a view to establishing closer engagement and exchanges with a French/Spanish school in the future.This will lead to an expansion in the provision of languages available to our students, giving pupils more choice. It will also bring about more up-to-date linguistic and cultural knowledge, leading to a more relevant and engaging learning experience for all of our students, more authentic materials, development of new teaching methodologies, schemes of work and international links leading to future pupil visits to Spain and France. It will also lead to better attainment of SEN students and better use of support staff within the MFL faculty and across the Academy. It will also lead to the formation of professional networks which will endure in the longer term and which will be further fostered through the Academy's status as an International School.
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