Birchfield Primary School

Birchfield Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS27 7HU


French at Birchfield Primary School

"To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world."

(Chinese Proverb)

Language is our tool for thinking and expression; it allows us to relate to others and understand different points of view.  The National Curriculum recognises language learning as a 'liberation from insularity' and 'an opening to other cultures'.

At Birchfield, we wish to foster a lifelong curiosity and love of other languages and cultures, developing global thinkers and confident communicators who are equipped with the skills to study and work in other countries around the world.

We choose to focus on French at our school because it is:

  • the 5th most spoken language in the world and could become higher in the next generation
  • the 2nd most widely spoken native and foreign language in Europe
  • the only other language other than English to be spoken on all 5 continents
  • used by over 275 million people in the world

French was also our official language for 300 years! Learning French therefore allows us to celebrate the close historical and cultural heritage we share. This provides the opportunity for children to make rich and meaningful connections with their native language by exploring our shared word origins.

Our language learning journey starts in Y3 when we build firm foundations of phonics (sounds), vocabulary and grammar. This develops children's accuracy when expressing themselves both in speech and writing.

We access the four main skills of reading, writing ,speaking and listening in fun and interactive ways, using songs, poems, stories and rhymes to help make the knowledge stick. Over time, children can then become confident and creative users of the language, acquiring new vocabulary and finding different ways of communicating their thoughts and ideas. 

We encourage cultural awareness by exploring French customs and traditions and becoming familiar with significant people and places. Our aim is for children to leave Birchfield as enthusiastic and culturally sensitive users of language, equipped for further language learning at high school and beyond.

See below for our schemes of work as well as useful links for more information!

Scheme of Learning


Les animes (videos):

Les jeux (games):

Les dictionnaires (dictionaries)

MFL work with Leeds Beckett University:

Miss Bentley (our MFL leader), is currently working with  Leeds Beckett University and using her expertise in supporting the trainee teachers who specialise in MFL. 

At Birchfield Primary School, Miss Bentley has introduced a new approach to MFL based on phonics, vocabulary and grammar rather than teaching by 'theme' (e.g. holidays, food). This has stemmed from the phonics training and researching schemes she has carried out with the MFL leader (Sarah Dawson) from Leeds Beckett. 
We would like to wish Miss Bentley good luck as she will be delivering seminars to trainee teachers based upon French phonics. Students at our school will then have the opportunity to work with Sarah Dawson too with work and research linked to her PhD. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to helping support future teachers.