At Blackheath High Junior School, the Modern Languages programme aims to expose pupils to foreign languages as early as possible, encouraging them to develop an enthusiasm for languages and their cultural context.
Pupils from Nursery through to Year 6 have weekly French lessons with a specialist teacher in a designated languages classroom equipped with an interactive whiteboard. In Year 6, girls have a weekly Latin lesson with a specialist teacher at the Senior department. A variety of engaging resources are used to support learning, from dual-language story books to interactive language software and specialist internet sites.
The main emphasis of French lessons is always on oral and practical activities, building pupils’ confidence in communicating in the French language. French games, songs, sketches and role-plays are an important part of the curriculum, giving plenty of opportunity for enjoyable repetition and revision of vocabulary and structures. The aim is to make learning French fun, but also to build a firm foundation for the acquisition of the French language beyond Key Stage 2. We follow a lively curriculum that aims to engage and enthuse pupils, as well as increasing their intercultural awareness and understanding of where French is spoken.
Grammar concepts are introduced gradually so that girls become aware of some of the rules, like gender and adjectival agreement. Pupils also begin to recognise French phonemes, making the future acquisition of reading and writing in French easier. In Years 5 and 6, pupils begin to concentrate more on the written French language and to use structures and vocabulary with increasing confidence and independence.
Trips, workshops and other events are an important component in promoting modern languages and the countries where they are spoken. Every summer term, Year 6 pupils spend a residential week on the Opal Coast, where they enjoy using the vocabulary they have learnt in authentic situations. European Day of Languages is marked every year with different language activities, giving pupils an opportunity to show off their French and celebrate any other language that they may also speak.
We also run French, Spanish, German and Mandarin clubs that girls can join if they wish.