Join hundreds of MFL teachers in the TES MFL group. Find lesson ideas and inspiration, share best practice and get your questions answered by peers. This is also the place to go to debate the latest issues in MFL.
For the best transition every primary feeder school would need to be doing the same language and the same programme. There would need to be built-in progression so secondaries could carry on seemlessly.
We have had pretty good French coverage in local primaries in my area, but even so, pupils had been taught different things at different rates, so as a secondary teacher I had to assume "start from scratch". However, we gave each pupil a sheet to do to show off what they already knew and for us to get an idea of those who had done very little or a great deal.
We also sometimes gave supplementary work to pupils who were significantly ahead. It is easy to make extra work booklets.
There was usually some knowledge of vocabulary, but little written skill and no grammar.
As a HoD I once did a survey of all the primary schools to find out what they were doing. There was a lot of variation.
I think this will remain a very unsatisfactory and messy situation for years to come.
Just because they may not remember any of the words they learnt beyond 'bonjour' does not mean they learnt nothing. After all, we don't expect people to remember what they learnt about the Egyptians in primary school, nor are they ever tested on it - primary history is very much about giving pupils a sense of time, a sense of historical curiosity, a sense of enquiry - vital skills they take with them to secondary.
Primary MFL should do the same, so that pupils come to secondary with a positive view of the subject, are culturally open to new ideas, are confident in speaking aloud, taking risks, and making mistakes. As it is, these are skills we have to teach from scratch in year 7 and which it is often too late to instil in many pupils by that point.
So long as primary MFL is getting pupils to engage with languages (any language) from the age of 7 that can only have a positive impact on attitude towards our subject at secondary level.
Top of page