Curriculum Design

Learning a Modern Foreign Language at John Masefield High School is sequenced to reflect the natural progression of language acquisition when living in a target language country. Learning begins with high frequency vocabulary, simple words and phrases and moves onto a wide range of topic vocabulary and more complex structures. By the end of KS4, students can discuss diverse topics such as homelessness and the environment using a very wide range of vocabulary, structures and even idiom. Grammar similarly progresses from the basic in KS3 to the to the complex in KS4. Cultural dimensions are explored at all levels.

Knowledge and understanding


  • The curriculum in the first year is designed to follow a sequence of topics which begin with greetings and introductions and move onto descriptions of everyday life to include family, school and home.
  • In the second year, topics such as food and drink, holidays and health are added to expand vocabulary. We add new tenses and methods to retrieve key knowledge such as expressing opinions and preferences and justifications.
  • In KS4 most topics from Year 7 and 8 are revisited to consolidate key topic vocabulary and  expand vocabulary and add complexity of language. New topics such as the world of work, society and the environment are included in KS4 to enable students to develop their ability to argue and discuss.


  • Schemes of work detail the progression in language from high frequency words such as numbers, colours and key adjectives plus adverbs of frequency and time. This progresses to opinions and a range of connectives.  Core language is continually revisited and developed in all topic areas.
  • New topic vocabulary is introduced to add diversity and complexity to the language.


  • Grammar learning follows a similar sequential progression as language and begins with identifying the components in a sentence such as nouns, adverbs and adjectives and the introduction of genders.
  • More complex grammar such as verbs and tenses are taught initially with simple patterns and then adding complexity and irregulars.
  • Continual retrieval and reinforcement of key grammar is planned into schemes of work in all year groups.
  • KS4 develops grammar learning further with a range of complex structures and tenses required for the highest GCSE grades.


Listening and reading

  • Initially, students learn to recognise cognates and semi cognates and infer meaning from a context.
  • They learn to use resources such as grammar and vocabulary booklets as support.
  • Students develop these skills with longer and more complex texts/ passages.
  • At KS4 students develop the skills of inference, looking for specific details to answer exam style questions, avoiding distractors.
  • Students develop their speed of reading in preparation for the GCSE exams.


  • Initially, students are able to produce simple language to communicate.
  • Students are taught pronunciation rules at an early stage to give them confidence in speaking.
  • Partner work and group work are used to help students familiarise themselves with the language and develop their confidence without feeling intimidated.
  • Students learn to recycle high frequency language such as opinion vocab and sentence starters to help develop spontaneity.
  • At KS4 students widen their vocabulary and learn to build in greater complexity in their speaking and expressions to sound more natural in speech.


  • Initially, students are able to produce single sentences and then a short text with familiar language and some support/ writing grid or model. Support is gradually reduced.
  • They quickly learn to extend their sentences with greater breadth of vocabulary and apply the rules of grammar.
  • Students learn to respond to prescriptive tasks (as per GCSE exams) which are increasingly challenging.
  • At KS4 Students can write at greater length and from memory and also learn to develop accuracy, spotting errors with a critical eye.


  • Initially, students learn to translate effectively into good English and not literally using familiar language and filling in gaps.
  • They then learn to translate into the target language, starting with simple sentences and adding complexity. This increasingly involves recognising patterns of language and when to apply grammar structures.
  • At KS4 students need to recognise verbs and tenses for translation and spelling accurately is of increasing importance.
  • In the second year, topics such as food and drink, holidays and health are added to expand vocabulary, add new tenses and retrieve key knowledge such as expressing opinions and preferences and justifications.

MFL general strategies to support SEND and disadvantaged students

Curriculum Goals 

  • To ensure that students with SEND and weak literacy can access the MFL curriculum.
  • To provide support and differentiated resources where possible, to allow SEND and disadvantaged students to achieve success in the classroom and in homework.
  • To support the school- wide literacy and numeracy programme.
  • To ensure disadvantaged student’s enjoyment of MFL and widen their cultural understanding.

General strategies, ideas and resources

  • Seating plans to provide a suitable partner to work with and easy access for teacher to assist.
  • Books marked regularly and selectively (not correcting every error) with clear formative feedback and encouragement.
  • Larger exercise books (Access groups) to help with letter formation and to help keep books neat
  • Larger/ coloured printing of resources where applicable.
  • Common literacy terms (agreed with English) displayed on walls and used explicitly in teaching.
  • Clear instructions both verbally and on worksheets. Check understanding.
  • Demonstrate and frequently remind students how to use vocab and grammar booklets in class and at home (in their MFL wallet).
  • Vocab booklets provide topic based key vocab for all lessons and homework.
  • Grammar booklets provide clear, correct and essential grammar guidance (a very challenging area of learning for SEND students).
  • Use classroom laminated mats provided for classroom language, sentence builders, opinions and connectives, GCSE Essentials and other specific support materials provided for classwork.
  • Provide homework support sheet, check understanding and offer extra support as appropriate.
  • Make full use of the differentiated resources provided in course text books and workbooks at all levels. Use GCSE student guides and workbooks and examination material.

Skill-specific strategies, ideas and resources

  • Speaking: Classroom language on walls and support mat available on desk when appropriate.
  • Speaking: Teach key phrases such as I don’t know/ I don’t understand to give them a get out card.
  • Speaking: Targeted questions – check students have an appropriate answer ready before asking them in front of class to allow them to achieve and build confidence.
  • Listening: Make sure students have set page out (with numbers) for answers. Vocab support grid (maybe multiple choice) or gap fill version provided for listening exercises and dictations – both challenging for SEND/disadvantaged students.
  • Listening: Differentiated outcomes – ask for positive/ negative opinion rather than complex reason; select most important detail for them to listen for.
  • Reading: Numbered lines or highlighted areas in text to make answer easier to find.
  • Reading: Differentiated sheets on same topic area (workbooks provide lots of examples of these).
  • Reading: Graduated questioning tasks with clear minimum expectations but also offering and encouraging challenge to progress (bronze/silver/gold or colours of flag or GCSE grades).
  • Writing: Writing strip or writing frame to provide sentence starters and key vocabulary.
  • Writing: Sentence building sheets where students choose words from literacy blocks – pronouns/ verbs/ adjectives/ adverbs etc.
  • Writing: High frequency vocab and essential verb phrases sheet given to weaker GCSE students to stick in books and referred to regularly in class.
  • Translations: Differentiated either by level of language or support offered (multiple choice/ gap fill).

Note: Strategies/ resources specific to a particular topic/ skills area can be found in the curriculum planning document for that year group and language.

Subject curriculum overviews

French German
Year 7;
Yr 7 French Access
Year 8;
Yr 8 French Access
Year 8
Year 9 Year 9
Year 10 Year 10
Year 11 Year 11


Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Audit for MFL