Every child has an understanding of the French language and French culture.

Children learn French at St Joseph’s in order to be liberated from insularity and to be given an insight into another culture. Teaching French fosters pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. It also enables pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and writing.

At St Joseph’s, we provide all pupils with a progressive and sequential French Scheme of work to ensure that everyone achieves their best. The French Scheme of Work has clearly defined pre-skills and end points, making sure that knowledge and skills embed in children’s long-term memory. Repetition and modelling are key elements to lessons.

We offer French from Early Years through to Year 6 with children being taught in small groups with access to computers and French educational software.

In Early Years and Key Stage 1 teaching is very informal and structured around the use of drama, rhymes, songs and games. Learning a foreign language requires plenty of revision and repetition so we build up a repertoire of simple action songs and games to ensure lessons are kept lively, interactive and fun.

The same interactive approach is maintained in Key Stage 2 with the constant recycling of the language that has been taught through memory games and activities. French books are also introduced in Year 3 so that the skills of reading and writing are taught alongside listening and speaking. Learning is also supported through use of the internet and software such as “Rigolo” and ‘Babelzone’ which pupils use as a whole class with the teacher and individually using the computers in the language laboratory. In this way pupils can make progress at their own pace.

All class teachers support the French teaching by having a “Word of the Week” to use at registration or other convenient times. The class teachers also have a French lunchtime prayer to use with their classes. We also celebrate that lots of our children also speak or hear another language at home – 42 different languages. This is displayed on the classroom door.

In Year 6, pupils are given the opportunity to visit Paris on our annual trip to the Chateau de Grande Romaine. The day they visit the market to buy their own lunch gives them a good opportunity to use their French. The highlight of this very popular event is an action-packed day in the centre of Paris where we visit the Tour Montparnasse and see many other famous sights.

Penfriends have been set up with a catholic school in the north of England and a school in Dangu, France for the children to exchange letters in French. It is very motivating and successful.

An after school French club is offered to Year 5 and 6 pupils. Over the last 3 years they have performed plays, written and presented simple stories to the younger pupils, played various games and celebrated Mardi Gras. They particularly enjoyed a ‘French Picnic’ at the end of the year.

The school year is rounded off with a whole school French Day – a mixture of physical activities ( Boules, Tour de France and Dance), Art work – Monet, Matisse, Rousseau and Seurat, tasting croissants, cooking crêpes, watching a French film, singing French songs and playing French games.

Please click here to view our school Primary Languages Policy.

Updated September 2021.