As a department, the aim of our curriculum is to support our students in becoming confident communicators and to develop an appreciation of other cultures, particularly in a local area where cultural diversity is less apparent than the average national experience in the UK. We aim to stretch and challenge our talented linguists whilst inspiring all students to want to interact with, and be respectful of, people from all corners of the world, wherever life may take them.
We want our students to appreciate that in order to experience other countries and cultures to the fullest, speaking solely English is not ‘enough’ and being able to converse in another language seeks to increase their opportunities and fulfilment in future life.
Subsequently, our aim is to develop intrinsic motivation within our students; we want them to want to learn and develop the skills which will allow them to communicate in more than English. We also want them to ‘learn to be a linguist’, honing their understanding of their native language and supporting literacy across the college.
The intent of our curriculum is implemented through quality first teaching. Our teachers are passionate about the languages and cultures of Spain and France and their enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm and strong interest, not only in the subject, but also in evidenced-informed pedagogy, has resulted in a bespoke KS3 curriculum that is inclusive, challenging and adds cultural capital. Our KS3 curriculum is sequenced in a way that grammar is delivered in a progressive manner, revisiting prior learning to form a basis for new and more complex concepts. It has its roots in the culture of the target language countries and encompasses art, geography and the media. Another aim of our KS3 curriculum is to set students up well for KS4; both in terms of the language and the confidence that it takes to speak a new language. We spend lots of our lessons speaking and listening as we believe that this is the bedrock for successful and engaged linguists.
Our lesson structure aligns with the Newton Abbot College Lesson Framework for Excellence and we pride ourselves on planning effective structured practice (moving from cognition to autonomy), chunking, questioning and feedback and every lesson begins with spaced retrieval practice; using the ‘last lesson, last month, last topic’ approach. In lessons, we emphasize our college values, particularly focusing on the need for kindness, respect, perseverance and courage; all qualities needed in successful language learners. Aspiration is also a key element of our lessons. We inspire and challenge our students to want to be the best that they can be. We always scaffold to the top, ensuring that all students, no matter their starting point, have the opportunity to become proficient linguists.
To ensure that the intent and implementation of our curriculum is having the optimum impact, formative assessment can be seen in each and every Languages lesson at Newton Abbot College, from Y7 – Y13 and we continually monitor, review and evaluate all of the steps that our students take towards their end point with us. Teachers’ formative assessment forms an important part of knowing our impact as a subject team, and we put a lot of emphasis on this; discussing this often in subject team time and adapting and amending wherever and whenever we see a need. This not only encompasses the knowledge but also the skills that they are developing during their time in our classrooms. As part of more formal evaluation, we use a range of qualitative and quantitative data collected from regular assessment cycles, data analysis, learning walks, student voice and student work to ensure that students are being given all the opportunities to develop themselves and their skills in a way that will allow them to leave us with the highest outcomes possible before they continue their journey through life.