This isn't a 'materials' post. I have nothing to give away on this apart from a few thoughts about the fraught topic of how to ensure a smooth transition from Primary MF learning to Secondary.
First, as someone who has taught in both, a word to my secondary colleagues. Run with the gift you have been given. Celebrate it. Use it. Be glad of it. Be challenged by it but don't succumb to the temptation to become cynical about it. Moaning about having to cope with so many pupils with a strong motivation to learn languages should be publicly damned to be as silly as it sounds.
There are some fantastic MFL primary practitioners out there. In many cases they are passing on pupils who are primed and switched onto the international dimension. Even where pupils come from schools where staff have struggled to rise to the challenge of delivering a language entitlement, progress will have been made. In the language of sales, you are inheriting far more pupils 'pre-sold' on the value of your subject than was ever the case before.
Second, and this is I think perhaps the most important point to make, don't get hung up on trying to dovetail your curriculum in with the various different levels of attainment primary pupils will have reached. At the moment, until we have seen a whole cohort of primary pupils through from early years to year 6 on a full FL entitlement, trying to square this circle, whilst it rightly demands our attention, it should not dominate it.
My main concern at this stage is that transition work should focus on the emotional aspects of that journey for primary pupils into secondary MFL departments and not simply try to 'plot' levels and attainment. It matters far less that you have a curriculum that neatly continues from where they left off, than that you know how to value and capitalise on all that is positive in the attitudes that they bring.
Look at it from the pupils' perspective. Which of these do you imagine they think as they contemplate that move up?
- I hope in this school, I can progress to level 5 by the end of year 7
- I hope I learn the perfect tense soon
- I hope my FL teachers will be as nice as Miss X Y Z
- I hope we still get to talk/write to children in foreign schools
- I hope we still get to sing songs
- I hope I will be with or find some friends
- I hope we still get to go on the computers to learn
- I hope that I will get a chance to show some of the topics I already know
- I hope we only do new topics that are a lot harder than the work we have done so far
Now I am not arguing against teaching of grammar or with the need to present them with work that stretches them. I'm just saying that most if not all of their pre-occupations at this stage are 'emotional' and relate to how 'comfortable' 'successful' 'happy' 'confident' they will be and how 'encouraging' 'supportive' 'creative' 'funny' 'kind' their new teachers are going to be.
For me, the most successful transition models involve projects that bring pupils into contact with pupils, staff with staff, to celebrate the languages they are studying and promote these emotional bonds.
During this month I am going to look at 2 areas in the country that are using music as a possible transition MFL model.
One is at Guildford County school where Caroline Gale, the Head of music there has organised a Eurovision style FL singing event for all their feeder primaries. Caroline has built a strong tradition of singing across the curriculum at Guildford and the FL department, I suspect is a happy beneficiary from this.
The other is in Durham where the primary MFL advisor, Sarah Sharpe is organising a similar event for all of Durham's primary schools. In September, Durham secondary schools are likely to inherit a cohort of pupils who expect language learning to be fun and inspirational.
These sort of events are growing. The best schools at KS3 will be alert to the level of performance and enthusiasm generated at KS2 and will know how to build upon it.
A final thought. There is a creative spark prevalent in much Primary MFL that can so easily be snuffed out under the artificial strictures of the need to meet 'attainment levels'. I profoundly hope that secondary colleagues will accommodate this and welcome it. It has the power and potential to truly motivate pupils.