Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)


Studying a language develops pupils’ verbal, written and spoken communication skills, and enhances memory.

Subject Area Curriculum Intent

Section 1: General Principles

In a fast changing world where young people are true global citizens, our purpose is to equip students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to enable them to thrive, communicate and converse in the modern world. Our vision is to provide our learners with the skills to know how to learn a language through reinforcement and repetition and by developing secure knowledge foundations. We are dedicated to developing both linguistic skills and cultural understanding in our students, through a curriculum that encourages independent, resilient, reflective and curious learners and ultimately inspires a love for languages.

A competitive working market requires students with languages skills. JMCC students, who are in competition for top jobs with top private sector schools (as promoted in assembly messages) have similar MFL diet to good/excellent schools throughout the UK.

JMCC has always maintained an excellent reputation for MFL provision in the city/community, and MFL for all has always been widely accepted by students (compared to attitudes in other county schools)

All Ofsted/reviews etc. have been positive and we have been a beacon school for years in MFL. Strengths as department mean we are always selected for observations as the need arises for monitoring/learning walks etc. Most students have chance to complete EBac


Principles at Key Stage 3

    • At KS3 for all MFL the principle is an introduction to the key skills expected in Listening/Reading/Speaking and Writing at the end of KS4, and exposure to these skills in lessons and assessments.
    • KS3 is an introduction to basic vocabulary in a variety of topics, understanding of common words to improve the structure of speaking and writing, and the grammar elements that underpin construction and comprehension of the foreign language.
    • The schemes of work are the same in both French and Spanish at KS3 (Panjabi/Gujarati follow a similar pattern in year 8&9), and in each section of the SoW it is clear the common vocabulary/structure and grammar to be taught. It highlights challenge opportunities for stretching the most able. The content is based on knowledge and understanding that will be required for GCSE, but with opportunity to develop a love and curiosity about the subjects.
    • Knowledge organisers and booklets are provided for each unit, and all students are told that this vocabulary is also required for GCSE so they can understand the purpose of learning, and the future of such knowledge.
    • Assessments takes place at the end of each unit and data is recorded using a central mark book. All 4 skills are covered in each year group throughout each academic year. KS3 common mark schemes are in place for speaking and writing. Students have a copies of progress information in their exercise books so they can see their progress across each academic year, as can parents/guardians. Each assessment is cumulative so that prior learning can be committed to long-term memory


Section 2: Connectedness (linking and co-ordinating)

The curriculum journey in Modern Languages is built on the triangulation of the 3 key principles of grammatical knowledge, rich vocabulary knowledge and linguistic skills, alongside the awareness, appreciation and empathy of different cultures.

Students are introduced to grammar structures which are carefully sequenced throughout the curriculum so that each new concept can act as a building block for the next and can lead to mastery. This mapping is crucial in ensuring students’ understanding and command of language later in their linguistic studies.

    • Year 7 - The topics build on key vocabulary and classroom language for long term use of target language in lessons. Phonics and spellings are taught, to build on recognition of new words and how to pronounce new words when seen. The SoW then builds to sentence level which extends
    • with each new unit, therefore building on progress of productive language (speaking and writing) and comprehension skills. At least 2 tenses are introduced in year 1.
    • Year 8 - The topics build on key vocabulary and key grammar structures. The SoW then builds to sentence level which extends with each new unit, therefore building on progress of productive language (speaking and writing) and comprehension skills
    • Year 9 - The 2 topics build on yr. 7 & 8 for content and grammar structures, and are also 2 topics essential for progress into year 10 for GCSE exams. The 2 topics mean revision of all 3 tenses, as well as introducing some key exams skills that are required at GCSE e.g.; photo cards, role plays, writing style exam questions, comprehension style exams that are GCSE
    • Assessments for each unit are not just focussed on the topic learned but will contain vocab and structures from previous units in order to revisit and have retrieval practice from previous learning. A challenge element (i.e. unseen vocab in reading) for most able is essential, as skills taught in lessons will allow students to have the skills for working out the problems.
    • KS4 curriculum choice - The AQA (French/Spanish?German/Panjabi) and Edexcel/Pearson (Gujurati) specifications are followed with topic areas in 3 themes. KS3 SoW designed so that there is progression of skills and grammar as well as vocab. learning to fit into GCSE. Subject areas (themes 1-3) chosen in order to go with textbook choices (where applicable), and to follow on from yrs. 7-9. Assessments built in develop to build confidence and expertise in exam style questions for GCSE


Section 3: MFL five year plan

    • In addition all students in all years are offered the opportunity (cultural capital):
    • To take part in a day excursion or 3-4 night language trip to France and/or Spain.
    • At KS3 and 4 to work along side an FLA (French/Spanish)
    • To study film as part of SoW and develop curiosity into foreign film watching
    • To subscribe to extended reading magazine programme as well as recommended reading lists to widen language learning and cultural understanding
    • To take part in any external course (eg University enrichment days) relevant to enhancing language learning


Section 4: Teaching and Learning

The scheme of learning is broken into core grammatical components, and vocabulary. We have a vocabulary rich curriculum, both in terms of topic specific vocabulary and high frequency vocabulary that enables students to express themselves and their opinions beyond their immediate needs and interests. The knowledge organisers and booklets, as well as high frequency word lists encourage the literacy development need on MFL.

Our teaching involves a balanced focus on all four skills; listening, reading, speaking and writing seen and tested through class work, home learning and assessments, which are fundamental to our successful Modern Languages curriculum. Questioning, oracy, guided practice and frameworks are vital to MFL lesson planning for progression and understanding of key concepts. All lessons provide opportunity for retrieval practice of prior learning linked to current learning.

We support all behaviour for learning practices that are school wide in our lessons and in our dialogue with students, using positive rewards to motivate and encourage good participation and learning in the classroom an at home.

In MFL we share the JMCC T&L common principals based on Interleaving, Elaboration, Retrieval Practice, Dual Coding, Spaced Practice and Concrete Examples. Many worksheets and Powerpoint resources, as well as classroom and homework activity is based on these principals.

    • Interleaving – we will use in lessons fortnightly a starter, homework or activity that is based on prior learning topics (linked closely to retrieval practice)
    • Dual Coding – image and word/phrase is the basis of MFL teaching (embedded). An effort is now made to simplify certain materials where appropriate.
    • Retrieval Practice - used as titles on ppt/sheets for activity and starters
    • Elaboration is promoted to encourage extension/development of language development
    • Concrete examples (former modelling) used frequently for pre written work, as well as writing frames and are common in language lesson planning. Models are used and Dr Gianfranco Conti MFL training has lead to more use of concrete examples to build languages learning.



KS3 french

2 classic easy read stories designed for youngsters and widely read at schools in France

Le Petit Nicolas: Goscinny & Sempe

Has a DVD modern film to help understanding

Le Petit Prince

This version is dual language in french with English

literature and extra recommended reading

KS3 and KS4

Each academic year we offer the opportunity to subscribe to language magazines to build vocabulary learning and skills practice in a fun and authentic style, and are designed for teenagers. These magazines (published by Mary Glasgow Publishing) are currently for French and Spanish at KS3 and 4 and cost £10 with additional access to internet activity and support. A letter is given to students at the start of the academic year

KS3 Spanish

Authors: Jaime Corpas  Ana Maroto 

Paco, Carmen and their children Lucas and Marina (21 and 17 years old) are the Fernández, a fun Spanish family that love travelling.

The collection carefully follows the levels of the Plan curricular del Instituto Cervantes and provide a representative model of everyday Spanish.

KS4 french

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

Story with film for full understanding and classic French author

In the concluding installment of Alexandre Dumas's celebrated cycle of the Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan remains in the service of the corrupt King Louis XIV after the Three Musketeers have retired and gone their separate ways. Unbeknownst to D'Artagnan, Aramis and Porthos plot to remove the inept king and place the king's twin brother on the throne of France. Meanwhile, a twenty-three-year-old prisoner known only as "Philippe" wastes away deep inside the Bastille. Forced to wear an iron mask, Phillippe has been imprisoned for eight years, has no knowledge of his true identity, and has not been told what crime he's committed. When the destinies of the king and Phillippe converge, the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan find themselves caught between conflicting loyalties.

KS4 French

The Outsider (English title) Albert Camus classic French literature, and studied in French school

KS4 French

Antechrista (read in English) by Amelie Nothomb

Modern teenage literature from a modern Francophone author. When lonely sixteen-year-old university student Blanche meets the dazzling Christa, she is swept off her feet. Christa, who talks freely of her impoverished background in the Eastern Belgian town of Malmedy, claims to work in a bar with her boyfriend, a David Bowie lookalike called Detlev.
When Blanche's mother, who finds her own daughter rather colourless, bookish and dull, is also dazzled by Christa though, she soon invites her to stay at the family house. Suddenly Christa can do no wrong and, as Blanche's parents scour their address books for long-lost friends to invite to dinner to meet the newcomer, their friendship sours and Blanche's already negligible self-confidence goes into a steep decline.
With all the characteristics of Amélie Nothomb's unique fictional landscapes, Antichrista is a funny, dark and revealing journey through female friendship and rivalry.

KS4 Spanish

No Word from Gurb (read in English)

by Edouardo Mendoza: classic literature from a modern Spanish author

A shape-shifting extraterrestrial named Gurb has assumed the form of Madonna and disappeared in Barcelona’s backstreets. His commanding officer and best friend has sent off in pursuit, scrupulously recording his observations of a human life in the city while munching through vast quantities of churros. No stone is left unturned, no danger too much, in the search for his old pal Gurb.
Will Barcelona survive this alien invasion Will the captain ever find his subordinate? Are there enough churros in Barcelona to satsify his intergalactic appetite?

KS4 Spanish

Harry Potter series in Spanish

by JK Rowling

You know the books and films, time to try these classic stories in Spanish...

Curriculum overview

   ks3 french and spanish KS4 GCSE
   year 7 Year 8 year 9 year 10 Year 11
hello & intro /phonics (10wks)
hobbies / sports
(14 wks)
festivals (18wks)
family/future relationships
recap holidays
school & work
family & pets
(14 wks)
food and drink
(14 wks)
holidays (18wks)
global issues
wealth & health
school (14 wks)
town and where I live (10 weeks)
ZIG ZAG project
(8 lessons)
town/environment local festivals
revisit festival
exam prep time

Head of Languages