Language and Communication

We will be a local school in a global society.

There are two skills that are crucial if you want to succeed in a global society. Firstly, the ability to speak and communicate clearly and with confidence and secondly, the ability to do this in more than one language!

We are treating communication as our third key skill, alongside literacy and numeracy. We will measure children’s progress in these areas as an indicator of our success as a school and expect that by the time they leave us all children will be able to

  1. Think, reason and present their thoughts in a clear and engaging manner.
  2. Speak with confidence to a range of people in different situations.
  3. Listen and understand others’ ideas and points of view and see diversity as a strength.
  4. Speak with confidence in a second language, and treat speaking additional languages as a normal and important skill.

We will teach Spanish from reception, initially by simple activities - songs, games and stories (Active Learning), progressing to some lessons every week delivered in both English and the foreign language (Embedding) and finally to more 'formal' (but still fun) language lessons by year 3. School life will be interwoven with key words and phrases in the foreign language and we will make links with schools abroad. This approach will foster a sense that learning a foreign language is completely normal, achievable and, most importantly, fun.

We believe that it is the learning how to learn a foreign language that is important. The global economy needs people with multiple languages and the UK has sadly fallen behind many other countries in this respect. Not only do children not begin learning languages when they would find it easiest, language teaching is often something 'added on' - a discrete 'subject' taught in isolation rather than an essential key skill. Academic opinion is that repetition, regular exposure and cultural awareness are key to successful learning - beginning with speaking and understanding.

Why Spanish?

Spanish makes sense for several reasons:

  • It is one of the easiest European languages to learn.
  • If taught a second language early enough, the brain develops in a way that makes it much easier to pick up more languages in the future. We therefore felt it was important that the children were able to learn a language as quickly and easily as possible. In Spanish, you pronounce the words as they are written.

  •  Spanish is taught at our partner school.
  • Broadfields will continue to support our school in our early years, making sure we can benefit from a specialist language teacher even when we are new.

  •  Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world.
  • But unlike Mandarin, which is the most widely spoken, there are a good number of primary school teachers in the UK who speak some Spanish. Learning a second language is such an crucial skill, but one we feel should be seen as completely normal. Spanish will be integrated into our curriculum, starting with games and songs and gradually increasing as the children grow in confidence and ability. Eventually whole lessons will be delivered in the second language, as part of the thematic curriculum - not as an after-thought or extra. It is therefore really important that a good number of our teachers speak Spanish!

Next page: Music and the Arts