“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open up every door along the way.”- Frank Smith


Since September 2014, the National Curriculum has made learning a language compulsory in Key Stage 2. As a school, we have chosen to teach French, as this is the language our local secondary school focuses on, and so prepares children for entering KS3.

To support teaching and learning in French, we subscribe to the Primary Languages Network (PLN). This scheme and its supporting resources, allow children to work towards meeting the requirements of the national curriculum for languages, through a well-structured, small steps approach, which also allows them to be exposed to native speakers of the French language.

Primary Languages Network allows our teachers to deliver high quality French lessons, which are interactive and teach children new knowledge through songs and games. Being a member of PLN also allows our teaching staff to attend CPD events.

Primary Languages Network has given our teachers and pupils confidence, to teach and speak, French!

In our Key Stage 2 classrooms, you will see this poster, highlighting how we learn French.

Children begin to learn the French language when they enter Year 3. They start at Stage 1 of the PLN programme, and move onto Stage 2, 3, and 4 as they move through Years 4-6. Each half term focuses on two phonics sounds, and the four key skills of French learning are woven throughout every unit of the French curriculum. These are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The progression of phonics and the four key skills can be seen in the documents, below.

Children access French lessons weekly and follow the long-term plan, below:

French Long-Term Plan

Phonics Map

Progress across KS2 – Core Skills of Learning

Teachers follow the PLN scheme as it is written, to ensure learning builds on prior knowledge. However, they have the flexibility to control the pace in which they move through the units, to ensure children learn and remember what they have been taught, before moving on. Often, children will need more than one lesson to secure their understanding, and therefore teachers can supplement the PLN resources with others, as necessary.

An overview of each year group is described, below:

Year 3 – Stage 1

Children learn numbers, colours, and simple greetings. These are introduced in fun, creative ways to develop a love of language. From this, children are introduced to the months of the year, before learning about different animals and how to say, “I like…”, and “I don’t like…”. This is followed by a cultural unit on carnivals and celebrations along with playground games in French, which all allow further embedding of number and colour knowledge. During the summer term, children learn about foods and listen to stories to develop their listening skills.

Year 4 – Stage 2

Building on from Stage 1, Stage 2 starts by recapping numbers through learning age; we expand our greetings by introducing our teacher and friends. We also start to introduce classroom objects, before learning about our local area and shopping, which builds on our prior learning about fruit and vegetables from Stage 1. Stage 2 teaches children parts of the face, followed by parts of the body. French Easter is the cultural unit in Stage 2, building on from celebrations which are taught in Stage 1. During Stage 2, children learn about jungle animals, which builds on the animal unit taught in Stage 1. We finish Stage 2 by learning about the weather and seasons which builds on prior knowledge of months of the year.

Year 5 – Stage 3

Stage 3 starts by recapping objects in school. Children then learn how to discuss their favourite subjects. Building on from the previous stage where we looked at our area and shops, we introduce new learning of other buildings and places of interest. Stage 3 then moves on to building on prior knowledge of New Year celebrations before introducing healthy eating and developing the language of fruit and vegetables from Stages 1 and 2. Children go on to learn about shopping in the market, before recapping carnival traditions and colours and developing new learning of clothes and fashion. Next, children build on their prior knowledge of the weather to create our own weather forecasts in French and finish off the unit by developing our language and vocabulary of the beach.

Year 6 – Stage 4

Building on from prior knowledge throughout Stages 1-3, Stage 4 starts by introducing routines and time, allowing children to develop discussion and speaking and listening skills in this area. Children then learn about ‘where I live’ which introduces rooms in the house, building on knowledge from Stage 3 of buildings and places of interest. Again, in Stage 4 we continue to build out knowledge of New Year celebrations before introducing new learning of sports and playing sports. Parts of the body are revisited before learning about preferences and feelings, so children are able to expand their vocabulary and sentence building skills. Next, children study the funfair, which allows the children to develop opinions and descriptions as well as vocabulary around going to the café and learning about French café culture. We finish off Stage 4 with some performances to let our speaking and listening skills shine in French. These draw on everything we have learned through Stages 1-4 and allow us to be well prepared for starting secondary school.


Children are continually assessed against the intended outcome of the lesson, during the lessons themselves. However, we also carry out end of unit assessments and end of year assessments in the form of quizzes, to check that children have remembered what they have learned. Each lesson also starts with a knowledge checker activity, which assesses children’s understanding of previously taught material.

Wider Curriculum Opportunities

We enjoy celebrating World Languages Day every year. During this day, children are exposed to a language which is different to French. Each class learns about a different language and culture. The languages covered by each class vary, and link to the languages spoken by our EAL children, where possible.

A next step for us, is to develop links between French and literacy, particularly reading. We are currently researching suitable French texts, both fiction and non-fiction, which children will be able to access within their French lessons and beyond. 

 Useful Links & Documents

Primary National Curriculum Languages Key Stage 2 – 2014 

Ofsted Research – Languages Review 2021  


Mrs Sumner is our French Ambassador. If you have any questions about French in school, please email c.sumner@smat.org.uk