Curriculum - Mandarin

Intent (based on the National Curriculum)

Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. RET schools aim to deliver a high-quality languages education that fosters students’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. The teaching enables students to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. Our schools also provide opportunities for students to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read literature in the original language.


Students will be taught to:

  • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
  • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied

Key concepts/skills

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Contextualisation
  • Translation

Links to Key Stage 2

We note that there are huge differences in student’s Key Stage 2 curriculum diet.

In Bristol, some feeders have language assistants and volunteers and in others there is very little language coverage. At Becket Keys School, one feeder school delivers languages particularly well in contrast to the others and there is no delivery of mandarin in the local area at Key Stage 2. In Brighton, some students arrive with Spanish GCSE. They are put in a separate class and study French in Year 7. Other students arrive with limited language knowledge.  In Barnet, primary schools generally teach Spanish with some teaching French. Native speakers at all RET schools have access to authentic resources but do not necessarily have the grounding in spelling, grammar and writing that is required for qualifications in languages.

This means that all of our schools have to have a differentiated approach but must start with the basics of languages in order to ensure Year 7 are on a level playing field before they move on to Year 8.

Relationship to the wider Key Stage 3 Curriculum

There are links in the Key Stage 3 curriculum across our schools with subjects such as history, English, geography, food, music and art. At Becket Keys School there is a ‘Mandarin Day’ which links food, art, languages and science. At Bristol Free School and King’s School there are or are planned trips to Spain combining the study of art and language.

Links to KS4

All of the skills practiced at KS3, are represented,  assessed and developed in Key Stage 4. KS4 is a natural progression. All schools have online programmes of study that build on knowledge and skills in each consecutive year. Bristol Free School have a powerpoint display of the learning journey across Key Stages which has been shared with the rest of the schools in the Trust. St. Andrew the Apostle school offers Greek at Key Stage 4. Although Greek isn’t taught explicitly at Key Stage 3 the students use similar grammar to other languages studied.

Extra Curricular Experience

Irrespective of background we encourage all students to take part in our extra-curricular languages offer. This includes groups that meet before and after school and during lunch times. Examples of our offer include:

BFS: Spelling Bee, French/Spanish International film club, KS3 homework club

BKS: Chinese culture club, KS3 Spanish speaking Club, KS4 Lunchtime Spanish writing club

STA: Ancient Greek Club for Yr 8 students

KSH: MFL film club, languages club

THS: KS3 Spanish lunch club, Year 7 flamenco workshop, Year 8 tapas restaurant trip, primary school visits to teach Spanish to Years 5 and 6, Year 9 MAGT BFI trip

These demonstrate differentiation across the Trust dependent on student interest, ability and local cultural links.