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News & Blog

Why is the system changing?

  • A lack of expertise and knowledge of MFL has been found across the board
  • Curriculum is being confused with assessment and qualifications
  • Curriculum narrowing (a focus on English and Maths and therefore neglect for MFL)
  • MFL being missed out in Year 6 due to prepration of SATs
  • Social justice issues
  • Lack of teaching expertise n Inspectors found that, in over half of the schools in the sample, the lack of confidence, subject knowledge and need for training was the biggest challenge to improving the quality of their foreign language provision.  This lack of expertise was also highlighted in the questionnaire for language specialists or teachers as a particular concern for primary schools in meeting the requirements of the national curriculum
  • Confidence and subject expertise was the main concern for just under half of respondents.
  • Transition arrangements:  In half of the schools, inspectors reported that the primary schools were not working well with secondary schools to ensure that there is effective transition in foreign language learning from primary to secondary.

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What will be changing?

  • Children and students first – avoiding curriculum narrowing, even in upper KS2
  • Solid evidence for MFL
  • Quality of education – outcomes, assessment and curriculum delivery
  • Work scrutiny for MFL
  • Work should be demanding and coherently planned
  • Children to remember what they have been taught long term
  • Teachers must have good knowledge of the subjects

 

“During an inspection, if Ofsted are to “dig deep” in MFL, what can I expect?”

 

  • Discussions with senior leaders about the MFL provision and their curriculum
  • Discussions with curriculum leaders and language teachers about the depth of the curriculum and how it progresses – what should children be able to do by the time they reach Year 6?
  • Observations of lessons
  • Book scrutiny
  • Discussions between the inspector and inidivdual children about what they remember and why they are learning what they are learning
  • A look into pronunciation of teachers and children
  • A look into evidence of progression across the curriculum

Note: if MFL is not delivered on the day of inspection, all of the above will still happen other than lesson observations – book scrutiny

 

“What questions might I be asked as MFL Lead or MFL teacher in my primary school?”

 

  • How do you structure your support for non-specialist teachers?
  • How do you ensure you cover the programme of study?
  • Do all children have access?
  • How secondary and primary ?
  • What are the needs of your cohort and how has this affected your curriculum?
  • Why did you choose that scheme of work?
  • How do you ensure it builds on prior knowledge?
  • How do you ensure your progress is not just adding more vocabulary but grammatical structure?
  • How does this lesson fit within your scheme of work?
  • Can children manipulate a basic sentence by end of year 6?
  • Pronunciation of teachers and children
  • Evidence of progression across the curriculum
  • If your school is doing a carousel with 3 languages, for example: “What is the rationale behind that? What is the progress in each language? Have you thought about the phonological structure of each language? Are the languages being compared?

If MFL is evidently not a priority, Ofsted will want to see a plan of how the school will achieve the above.

 

 

 

Ofsted are asking the question: “Who is leading primary languages in primary schools?”

 

What are Ofsted looking for in primary languages?

  • Ofsted definition of curriculum: intent, implementation, impact (framework, support, progress) i.e. having clear intnetions of where the curriculum is going to achieve the desired progress
  • A curriculum with depth - developing knowledge and understanding, not memorising disconnected facts
  • Knowledge and vocabulary is at the heart of what Ofsted are looking for
  • A curriculum with clear progression: there are serious consequences for pupils when a curriculum is not sequenced or designed effectively. Gaps in pupils’ knowledge accumulate as they become layered on top of one another in a curriculum sequence.
  • Pupils learning the knowledge they need to avoid knowledge deficit (Fisher, Hnadbook kf applied behaviour)

“12 years of education should give children a solid foundation for languages” Ofsted, January 2019

 

“What if my school is an Academy?”

 

  • All pupils in maintained schools are expected to study the national curriculum. Academies must offer all pupils a curriculum of a similar breadth and ambition as the national curriculum (Ofsted school inspection update)

 

If we provide your MFL provision, what will we be changing over the summer to ensure we meet the guidelines for the new framework?

  • Assessment criteria from Y3-6 in line with the new inspection framework
  • A NEW childrens “quiz” area on our TeachTool platform to enable children to track their progress in the language
  • End of unit comments area to be emailed to our liason at your school at the end of each unit, complete with childrens progress
  • Restructure of annual reports for MFL in line with the new inspection framework

If you have any questions about your MFL provision or if you need to arrange your MFL provision for September, please get in touch with us.

Monday, July 06, 2020

2020 has seen unprecedented times that we, as a company, never thought we would find ourselves in. We would like to express our gratitude to our:

  • Amazing clients

Working in the public sector can be very challenging at times and we understand that for schools, it is difficult to appreciate the way that our business works. Thanks to the support of our schools and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we managed to waive over £300,000 of invoices to schools. This left us in a very difficult situation as we still have our HQ premises mortgage, bills to cover and suppliers that unfortunately have had to charge us regardless of the situation. We have lost approximately 10 schools for 2020-2021 due to COVID-19 and the budget cuts their schools have faced. We are very hopeful that these schools will return to us once they are open in September and have received funding support from the government.

  • Wonderful staff

Given one days notice that all schools in the UK would close, our staff had to frantically cancel over 90 PPA sessions daily, indefinitely. Throughout the peak of the crisis, we have had to work night and day to ensure the decisions we were making were going to have a minimal impact on our regular services once schools resumed. Our staff have taken the time to organise their work, to write new lesson plans for children and new schemes of work and we couldn’t be more grateful of their support. This truly shows their passion for the education sector and above all their love for children and learning!

  • Suppliers

To those suppliers who have been flexible with us during these unprecedented times, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Tsunami Computers Leicester, Lex AutoLease, WaterPlus and many more have allowed us to pause or reduce our monthly payments whilst we have received no income. This has made the difference between us surviving and not surviving the crisis. 

Going forwards, we will be rebuilding our business back up to where we were and support from schools in outsourcing their PPA to us to help us rebuild is greatly appreciated. We understand PPA time is a legal requirement for all teachers and the majority of the subjects that we cover are compulsory so if you are struggling to cover PPA time, would like to explore a new method of covering a compulsory subject such as MFL or ICT, please allow us to provide your school with a FREE trial and show you why you should choose us and support our small business.

We would like to send our well wishes to all small businesses both who have survived the crisis and who unfortunately have closed their doors. If you have managed to survive like us, please dig deep and find that energy to push forwards once more to rebuild your business rather than give up. The UK needs small businesses and even more so now with unemployment on the rise. It will be worth it, we promise!