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The Barlow RC High School

Modern Foreign Languages

Curriculum Area: Modern Foreign Languages
Senior Leader: Mrs Staniforth
Curriculum Leader: Mrs El Khaddar
Deputy Curriculum Leader: Mrs D McGennity (from Sep 24)
Additional Staff: Mr Toal

French Learning Journey

Spanish Learning Journey

Inspirational Quote

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to a man in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela

Curriculum Intent

In Modern Foreign Languages, our aim is to broaden pupils’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world. Our teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.

We aspire to expose our pupils to a broad and ambitious Modern Languages curriculum, which is rich in skills and knowledge, and promotes diversity and tolerance of other cultures. Our aim is also to develop language learning skills which will serve as a valuable basis for the acquisition of skills in other foreign languages which students may wish to learn later in their careers. Above all, as committed and enthusiastic language learners ourselves, we wish to pass on a love of languages and encourage students to embrace language learning as a vital life skill. 

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

At Key Stage 3 Pupils develop a wide range of vocabulary, grammatical and phonics knowledge in the context of a variety of topics. At Key Stage 3, pupils start from their immediate world and needs and progress to being able to talk about the wider world in year 9. Pupils develop their competencies in all four skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Pupils learn the structures of the language from Year 7 to Year 11 and develop the ability to construct sentences and texts of varying length. Grammar is taught explicitly and students are given ample opportunity to practise each grammatical component. In lessons Pupils are given regular opportunities to use their previously learned repertoire with the language taught in the current lesson as knowledge is recycled regularly.

In Year 7, pupils study their immediate environment which comprises of self-identity, greetings, family, leisure activities, studies, house and hometown. These topics provide the context to develop strong grammatical knowledge and practise key grammatical components. Pupils focus on learning and mastering key verbs such as ‘to have, to do, to go and to be’. These verbs will be used for the formation of other tenses in subsequent lessons. Pupils also focus on developing their understanding of key grammatical differences such as word order and the concept of masculine and feminine words. Pupils also develop their pronunciation through phonics and are given opportunities to read aloud and develop fluency.

In Year 8 pupils continue to study a range of topics such as holiday, leisure, lifestyle and celebrations. Within these contexts, pupils continue to deepen their knowledge of grammar through a variety of tenses which include past tense and future tense. Pupils continue to build on the phonics work started in Year 7.
Through the Year 9 curriculum Pupils’ learning is strengthened and deepened, with a view to opting to continue with MFL at Key Stage 4.
In Year 9 pupils start moving from their immediate environment to the wider world. More tenses are introduced and reinforced such as imperfect and conditional tenses. Pupils start expressing points of view and more complex opinions. In year 9, pupils study subjects and careers to enable them to make an informed choice about their options. They will then study relationships, technology and the dangers of social media. At this stage, their level of maturity enables them to understand and discuss wider issues.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

At Key Stage 4, pupils continue to build on the grammatical knowledge from Key Stage 3. All high frequency key verbs are revisited in a variety of tenses. Pupils are given opportunities to re-visit and ‘zoom in on’ previously taught structures and to use structures in combination, so that they can compare and contrast their form and function. By Key Stage 4 when pupils have met more than five or six possible conjugations for a verb, they are given frequent opportunities to recall those from memory, by having one verb and being asked to produce all possible meanings of it. Pupils get plenty of opportunity to practise the grammatical features and to re-visit the same grammar in different contexts, for different tasks, with a range of vocabulary. Pupils are exposed to longer and increasingly more complex pieces of text and audio material. Pupils produce language independently in both speaking and writing.

Pupils’ study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Pupils will cover all 4 skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing in each of the three themes. All four skills are assessed via the terminal exam in the summer term of Year 11. Each skill is worth 25% of the final grade. Pupils will be entered for either Higher Tier (grades 4-9) or Foundation Tier (grades 1-5).

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Support Materials

Progress is monitored carefully and rewarded or guided. Intervention takes place where under-achievement is indicated. Pupils receive weekly homework tasks and are encouraged to enhance this by practising vocabulary and comprehension skills by using websites such as


Careers in MFL range from working for high profile businesses in the UK and other European countries, international schools, international banking and law.
Language skills are in demand in a wide variety of sectors such as translation, interpreting and teaching which require daily language use, to international organisations which benefit greatly from multi-lingual talent, but where languages are typically one facet of a broader role.

  • Translation and interpreting
  • Education
  • Management consultancy and business services
  • Finance
  • Tourism
  • Government, charity and international development
  • National intelligence and security