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John Milton Academy Trust

These schools are part of the John Milton Academy Trust. Click on the school's logo to visit their website.

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Powerful Knowledge

In Key stage 3 students learn the basic vocabulary on  a  range of topics that will both prepare students for GCSE study and be useful to those students who do not wish to continue with languages but who may find themselves travelling to a French or German speaking country in the future.

Students are taught to gradually build up their vocabulary over four general themes. These themes are identity and culture, freetime, towns and local areas and finally, education and work. By revisiting these themes and recycling the vocabulary within them over a period of three years, students will have developed a broad vocabulary which they can use to talk about themselves, give opinions and they will have good written and spoken comprehension skills. In addition, students will have an understanding of how the French and German languages work through the study of grammar concepts such as past and future tenses, genders and word order.  Lastly, through the study of key festivities and traditions  in French and German speaking countries, students will also have an understanding  and appreciation of different cultures.


Literacy skills are a key component of studying a foreign language. By the end of key stage 3, students of modern foreign languages will have an understanding of the basic elements of French and German grammar including key concepts such as genders of nouns, adjective placement and agreements, word order and past and future time frames. Literacy is developed as by learning about these concepts in a foreign language, students' understanding of English also improves because key grammatical concepts and language are being frequently discussed and taught.

In addition, in MFL students are taught to use a range of strategies to help them comprend a range of written and spoken texts.  They are taught how  to approach a text in a foreign language, to read for gist and for detail and how to cope when there are words and phrases they have not yet been taught.

School Context

All of the topics that are covered in the key stage 3 curriculum will be built upon in GCSE. The vocabulary and grammar they are taught is intended to give them firstly a solid grounding on which to build in key stage 4, but also to provide students with a range of vocabulary they can use when on holiday for example. Students follow a spiral curriculum where we revisit and build upon topics throughout key stage 3.

Trips also offer a real life opportunity where students are able to visit the country of study and to use the words and phrases they have learnt in France or Germany. In year 7 students have a chance to visit France, most recently we went to a French Christmas market which also helped with their understanding of typical French Christmas traditions and festivities.  Similarly, in year 9, German students were able to visit the Black Forest area of Germany.


During KS3 students will complete assessments at the end of each unit of study. Students will be assessed on the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing and tasks will vary depending on the topic of study and year. GCSE style assessment tasks also help to familiarise students with the format of formal exams if they continue with languages at GCSE.

In addition to these end of unit assessments, students complete fortnightly vocab and/or grammar tests. The purpose of this is to encourage students to develop their independent learning skills as well as to help them to embed the key vocabulary from topic to topic. 

MFL teachers regularly assess students' learning through a range of low stakes assessments, and written feedback on these tasks enable students to see what they have done well and how and where they can improve.


During lessons teachers often share experiences and discuss how speaking even a small amount of a language can be useful outside of the classroom, although this is not planned within the scheme of work. However, in year 9 prior to options choices, we deliver a range of lessons to students about the importance of speaking a foreign language and how languages can be used in the workplace. We run a trip to Cambridge  University for our most able students in year 9, where they learn about language study at GCSE and beyond and have the opportunity to take part in taster sessions in languages such as Japanese, Russian and Portuguese. Both events inspire and motivate students to continue with French or German at GCSE and beyond.