French Language

French Language

All students Nursery – Year 6 receive French Language instruction. Students from Year 1 are grouped according to their proficiency level.

  • Nursery / Reception – Songs, games, rhymes
  • Year 1-2, Three 40 minute lessons per week
  • Year 3-5,  Four 40 minute lessons per week
  • Year 6      Five 40 minute lessons per week

French Language Levels

New students will be assessed for their listening and speaking skills, and where applicable their reading and writing skills, within the first half term of the academic year, or six weeks following their arrival at the school. French language teachers and the Deputy Head of School will meet to ensure that all students are placed as per the criteria below. Ultimately, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis to best meet the needs of the learner.

French as a Mother Tongue

A student’s first or strongest language. Typically this is the first and most frequent language spoken to the child within the formative years of life (birth to five), and the child’s first spoken language. In cases where a child has been exposed to two languages within this time frame and converses capably in both (bilingual), we acknowledge that s/he may have two mother tongues. These students demonstrate native or near-native competence in all aspects of language* (listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting) as identified by the school’s language scope and sequence document.

French as an Additional Language

  • French language b learners: This term refers to a language (French) which is not the mother tongue but which is used for certain communicative functions in society and may be widely used by a child and his/her family; however it is not the dominant family language. The child has strong basic interpersonal communication skills in this language, but is developing cognitive academic language proficiency. This most frequently manifests itself as a student who can speak fluently in the language, but has not yet developed the reading, writing, viewing or presenting skills necessary to work at a native or near-native level.
  • French language ab initio learners: This term refers to new or nearly new speakers of the language. The language is not normally used for communication functions and use is largely contained to the classroom.

Exit criteria

Throughout a student’s time at IPS, there may be an opportunity for them to move between language groups. Student exit criteria for French language groups are listed below. A student must master the majority (~90%) of the criteria identified before being considered for movement between levels. Any decision to exit a child from a language group will be made following consultation with the French language department staff, French coordinator, and the Deputy Head of School.

Exit Criteria for students moving from French Beginner to French Advanced

Year 1 & 2

Speaking and Listening ‘ Becoming fluent’

    • Listens attentively to a French speaker.
    • Listens to others and offers opinions and/or feedback.
    • Begins to paraphrase oral information.
    • Uses language appropriately across the curriculum for different purposes and audiences.
    • Responds to complex questions independently.
    • Asks questions to clarify content and meaning.
    • Develops an awareness that there are appropriate forms and styles of language for different purposes and audiences.
    • Begins to speak with confidence in front of a group.
    • Uses more extensive vocabulary, using abstract and specialized subject area words independently.
    • Understands classroom and subject area language at nearly normal speed.
    • Speaks French with near-native fluency; any hesitation does not interfere with communication.
    • Begins to vary speech appropriately using intonation/ stress.
    • Uses correct form when asking questions.
    • Speaks confidently and uses new vocabulary flexibly.

Exit criteria for students moving between French ab initio and French language B

Years 3 - 6  

Speaking and Listening - ‘Becoming Familiar’.

    • Begins to listen attentively to a French speaker.
    • Follows multi-step directions.
    • Begins to use French in social situations.
    • —Responds to greetings with phrases.
    • —Responds to simple questions with more than one-word answers.
    • —Uses different language functions in discussions (e.g.,  predicting and describing) with guidance.
    • —Participates in classroom discussions and offers opinions and feedback with guidance.
    • Begins to understand classroom and subject area language.
    • Begins to use expanding vocabulary that is less context-bound.
    • Begins to speak French clearly.
    • Communicates using short phrases and simple language patterns.
    • Begins to use connected discourse (e.g., “Yesterday I go pool and I swam.”)

Year 3 - 6

Writing - ‘Developing’.

    • Writes 1-2 sentences about a topic.
    • Writes names and familiar words.
    • Generates own ideas for writing.
    • Writes from top to bottom, left to right, and front to back.
    • Intermixes upper and lower case letters.
    • Experiments with capitals.
    • Experiments with punctuation.
    • Begins to use spacing between words.
    • Uses growing awareness of sound segments (e.g., phonemes, syllables, rhymes) to write words.
    • Spells words on the basis of sounds without regard for conventional  spelling patterns.
    • Uses beginning, middle, and ending sounds to make words.
    • Begins to read own writing.

Reading - Developing

    • Reads books with simple patterns.
    • Begins to read own writing.
    • Begins to read independently for short periods (5-10 minutes).
    • Discusses favorite reading material with others.
    • Relies on illustrations and print.
    • Reads top to bottom, left to right, and front to back with guidance.
    • Knows most letter names and some letter sounds.
    • Recognizes some names and words in context.
    • Makes meaningful predictions with guidance.
    • Rhymes and plays with words.
    • Participates in reading of familiar books and poems.
    • Connects books read aloud to own experiences with guidance.

Exit Criteria for students moving from French Language B to French Mother Tongue

Year 3 - 6

Reading -  ‘Bridging’

    • Reads medium level chapter books.
    • Chooses reading materials at appropriate level.
    • Expands knowledge of different genres (e.g., realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy).
    • Reads aloud with expression.
    • Uses resources (e.g., encyclopedias, CD-ROMs, and nonfiction texts) to locate and sort information with guidance.
    • Gathers information by using the table of contents, captions, glossary, and index (text organizers) with guidance.
    • Gathers and uses information from graphs, charts, tables, and maps with guidance.
    • Increases vocabulary by using context cues, other reading strategies, and resources (e.g., dictionary and thesaurus) with guidance.
    • Demonstrates understanding of the difference between fact and opinion.
    • Follows multi-step written directions independently.
    • Discusses setting, plot, characters, and point of view (literary elements) with guidance.
    • Responds to issues and ideas in literature as well as facts or story events.
    • Makes connections to other authors, books, and perspectives.
    • Participates in small group literature discussions with guidance.
    • Uses reasons and examples to support ideas and opinions with guidance.

Writing  -  ‘Bridging’

    • Writes about feelings and opinions.
    • Writes fiction with clear beginning, middle, and end.
    • Writes poetry using carefully chosen language with guidance.
    • Writes organized nonfiction pieces (e.g., reports, letters, and lists) with guidance.
    • Begins to use paragraphs to organize ideas.
    • Uses strong verbs, interesting language, and dialogue with guidance.
    • Seeks feedback on writing.
    • Revises for clarity with guidance.
    • Revises to enhance ideas by adding description and detail.
    • Uses resources (e.g., thesaurus and word lists) to make writing more effective with guidance.
    • Edits for punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
    • Publishes writing in polished format with guidance.
    • Increases use of visual strategies, spelling rules, and knowledge of word parts to spell correctly.
    • Uses commas and apostrophes correctly with guidance.
    • Uses criteria for effective writing to set own writing goals with guidance.


Exit Criteria for students moving from French Mother Tongue to French Language B

Year 3 - 6

There are occasions when a student may need to move down a level to better support their French language development. Report card data is used to initiate this process. If a child is consistently attaining at an emerging and/or developing level, the French language teacher may start the process for moving, as per the schedule below.

Schedule for moving students between French language groups

French language teachers can identify students to move toward the end of each term. See the schedule below. The process for moving is:

  • The French teacher will notify the French language coordinator, other French language teachers and the Deputy Head of School. The French language coordinator will convene a placement meeting. The classroom teacher may also be included to provide more context.
  • A decision will be made by this group as to placement and parents will be consulted and notified.
  • The letter will be sent home, signed by the French language teacher, French language coordinator and the Deputy Head of School confirming the new placement.

French Language placement meeting may take place once per term convened:

Term 1  - No later than 2 weeks after the October break

Term 2 -  No later than 2 weeks after the February break

Term 3 -  Only for new students.

French Language Pathways:

* Children who are receiving support for special educational needs and may therefore not have all aspects of the native speaker profile, are still considered mother tongue speakers and will be differentiated for within the mother tongue group.


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