There are 3.75 terms to go.
The draft Programme of Study is very brief, and pretty inaccessible for the non-specialist classroom teachers who will be doing most of the teaching. There has been a lot of criticism in recent months of the amount of prescription in the draft Programmes of Study for subjects such as history. It's my opinion that primary languages need this amount of prescription. Teachers need to know what they should cover in Key Stage 2. It will help them and it will be even more useful for Key Stage 3 teachers - they would then know exactly what they were getting in Year 7 and would be able to plan accordingly. At the moment Year 7 seems to consist mainly of starting again from the beginning, irrespective of students' Key Stage 2 experience, mainly because students come from so many different schools and have such different experiences of language learning.
I am in the fortunate position at the moment of having received a commission to write a series of resources for French and Spanish for Key Stage 2 and early Key Stage 3. It seemed quite an easy job to start with, but the more I think about it the more cans of worms I open. Each resource needs to have some specific grammatical, structural, linguistic or cultural point. Which has all led me to think: What exactly do children need to learn in Key Stage 2 to prepare them for Year 7?
I posed the question to the #mfltwitterati yesterday
and have received some very useful answers. Thanks everyone!
So here is my first go at a list for what KS2 children should learn in Spanish. (I'm starting with the Spanish resources as the phonics and the numbers are more straightforward and because it's my first language.)
Adjectival agreement and position
Definite and indefinite articles
Paradigms of high frequency irregular verbs in the present tense (ser, estar, tener, ir, hacer)
Paradigms of regular -ar, -er and -ir verbs in the present tense
Connectives (y, pero, porque, sin embargo, también)
Qualifiers (muy, bastante)
Making verbs negative
Sé / puedo / quiero plus infinitive
(No) me gusta(n) plus noun or infinitive plus other opinions such as Me encanta(n)
Prefiero plus noun or infinitive
Numbers to 1000
Days of the week
Months of the year
Common adverbs (muy bien, bien, mal)
Telling the time
Children should be familiar with
Map of Spain and its neighbouring countries, position within Europe, main geographical features, major cities
Map of Central and South America and the countries there that are Spanish-speaking
The reasons why the majority of Central and South America is Spanish-speaking
Spanish's Latin roots
Spanish's Arabic roots
The above points can be taught through a variety of different contexts, such as animals, weather, food and so on. I would envisage the French list not being too dissimilar.
Do you think I've missed anything out?
Do you think anything on the list is unnecessary and should be kept until Key Stage 3?
I would be very grateful if you could tell me via a comment!
Very many thanks to all those who have responded either via comment below, via Twitter or via the CfBT fora. I have taken all your comments on board and adjusted my original list. My new list is available via Scribd (below) for anyone who would like a copy as a starting point for their own deliberations. John Connor has made the very valid point that it's difficult to do anything too specific until we know what's going to happen with assessment. Several people have mentioned stories, songs, poems and rhymes. Most of the language and cultural content mentioned can be explored this way.
Thank you all again for making me think very hard!