“French is a rich addition to the school curriculum and is well taught. French is not compulsory in the National Curriculum but the school chooses to make a serious financial commitment to its provision through a commercial French teaching agency. Unusually the school provides French to all its pupils, from Reception which has a weekly 15 minute session, through Year 6 receiving a 40 minute lesson. This is admirable and if French continues to be provided, pupils should improve in confidence and skill as they move up the school…..With a native French speaker, pupils hear and become attuned to a model of authentic French. Lessons are almost entirely in French with the emphasis insistently on hearing and developing spoken French. This is right in the early stages and at the start of the school year when the inspection took place. The teacher is aware that opportunities will increase for some written French to be introduced, as oral skills become more established.
The sessions are highly structured by the Club Frère Jacques’ own teaching design and well planned by the teacher. A series of similar lessons seen during the inspection was each expertly slanted with subtle and appropriate adaptations to the different ages and abilities of the pupils. The sessions have a good pace with seamless shifts from one section of the lesson to another. No time is wasted. Each session is taught as a whole class lesson, but individual attention is held. There is valuable work in pairs for older children. Useful, everyday vocabulary and the basic structures of simple French conversation are introduced vividly and provide enjoyment as well as effective learning. There is visible progress as new material is reinforced and practised. Some responses are choral but as confidence grows the teacher obtains individual French responses from pupils too, and individuals’ accuracy is often checked. Hand puppets are used to simulate conversation and simple games in French hold pupils’ concentration. The children’s commitment is sustained by the teachers enthusiasm, praise for pupils’ efforts and skill at ‘dramatising’ the activities. In particular, taped songs work well to establish basic phrase patterns and sounds and the pupils love to sing them.
Pupils in this multilingual and cosmopolitan school take easily to French with little inhibition and the school intends this additional language to be a unifying factor. French could also feed children’s language study at other times, especially as so many pupils possess other languages than English. They are naturally aware of the common and different aspects of language and this is a strength of the school.”