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Language learning at Whitehouse Common


If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

At Whitehouse Common School we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.  It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works.  Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.



What does it look like?

Watch our video to find out! 

Spanish open day



The aims of Primary Languages teaching at Whitehouse Common School are:

  • to foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to other languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils;
  • to stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it;
  • to support the wider curriculum by developing independent questioning learners
  • to help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences;
  • to lay the foundations for future language study by pupils;
  • to provide an added perspective on first language teaching and learning;
  • to give an extra dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum.

The learning and teaching of languages.

The Languages Programme of Study, downloadable here, sets out the expectations for ‘substantial progress’ by the end of KS2 covering listening speaking reading writing and grammar.


At Whitehouse Common School we integrate language learning into everyday school life, with teachers, teaching assistants and children using and experimenting with their knowledge of different languages whenever the opportunity arises.  We foster a problem-solving approach, giving children opportunities to work out language use for themselves in a supportive context where risk-taking and creativity are encouraged, and there is an emphasis on having fun with the new language.  ICT is used where appropriate to enhance teaching and learning.


How do children learn?

There are three contexts in which language teaching and learning takes place:
1.    discrete language lessons
2.    language embedded in other lessons (cross curricular activities)
3.    ‘incidental language’ (e.g. as part of school routines)


What do children learn?

In Foundation and Key Stage 1, pupils are exposed to new Spanish vocabulary and explore Spanish culture during assemblies led by Mr Cope twice every half term. These provide children with key vocabulary on a variety of topics and allow children to listen to and join in with songs and stories in Spanish. Children also complete follow up activities in class during SODA time to solidify any new learning. Children are introduced to, and encouraged to join in with, the pronunciation of different Spanish words and make links across topics. They also learn about key geographical and cultural ideas from within the Spanish-speaking world.


In Key Stage 2, pupils follow the Lightbulb Languages scheme of work adapted to suit our school. You can access an overview here. The scheme covers all the objectives and aims of the Programme of Study, and throughout the four years of KS2, children will learn songs, rhymes and stories as well as participating in role play, writing texts of varying lengths and for a variety of purposes, and speaking Spanish in a variety of contexts. Additional activities linked to the wider curriculum and in support of literacy and maths skills are also added where appropriate, and pupils are always encouraged to make connections between Spanish and languages that they speak or with which they are familiar.

For more information, please contact the Language Coordinator via the school office.