Philosophy and Aims

At Dunhurst we believe that the opportunity to learn at least one modern foreign language should be given to all children and that the process should begin as early as possible. We aim to encourage every child to see the value of this and to engage positively and willingly in the process.

Learning to communicate with peoples of different languages and cultures can be deeply satisfying, fun and clearly useful in leisure and professional situations, but there is also an intrinsic beauty to languages, and we hope to inspire this understanding in the children.

We want our pupils to have fun and at the same time to understand the need to engage and work hard. The task of acquiring a solid, grammatical basis that will eventually lead to independent speech is vital.


We begin our language teaching with investigations, games and outside learning. We use a wide variety of strategies and materials, among them CDs; video and DVD extracts; drama and role-play; posters; brochures; games and puzzles, as well as basic writing exercises.

In Group 1, the focus is on nouns and the use of number and gender, and the inclusion of some verb phrases to begin creating sentences. For this year group, a colourful workbook is used by the children to start them writing in French, and they practise speaking through developing and performing French plays. Verb learning begins in Group 2, with an introduction to the four main irregular verbs and the regular –er verbs in the present tense and this is developed and expanded throughout Group 3. In Blocks 1 and 2, delivery is through the Studio scheme of work, enhanced by carefully chosen French films to give a vehicle for the language learning and a genuine reason for communication. Throughout the years, equal emphasis is placed on speaking, listening, reading and writing. With four skill areas to develop, pupils are challenged and encouraged to reach their language potential. Block 1 enjoy a hugely successful French language immersion week in February, which takes place at the Château de la Baudonnière, Normandy, and language days are celebrated throughout the school year. 

Taught Languages

Block 1 (Year 7) pupils are taught French, as a continuation from their work in the Groups (Years 4-6). In Block 2 (Year 8), pupils continue with French and have a weekly lesson of Russian in the Christmas term, German in the spring term and Spanish in the summer term, all in preparation for language choices in Block 3.

Mandarin and Spanish are available as after school activities.

Head of Department: Liv Burnett-Armstrong