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MFL at Coleridge

Spanish at Coleridge


By the end of Studying Spanish at Coleridge, children will be able to answer questions such as:

  • What is the date?
  • What is the weather like?
  • What is the object in the classroom?
  • What did you have for your tea this evening?
  • Can you name the members of your family?
  • What job will you like to complete when you’re older?
  • What type of accommodation do you live in?
  • How did you travel to school today?


Our Spanish curriculum is based around the work of La Jolie Ronde and we have adapted this scheme to fit our context. We are aware that many of our children are already bilingual and selected Spanish as we felt our children’s strong phonetical knowledge would lend itself to learning Spanish.

Underneath are the 3 progression Pillars that the DfE have released research into how children learn a modern foreign language most efficiently. We have built upon these pillars to ensure our Spanish curriculum is underpinned by this research.


To build a solid understanding of phonics, a strong awareness of phonology is important. When listening to the language, pupils’ ability to understand and visualise the language is supported by having a strong phonological awareness. The ability to decode words – turn the written word into sounds – also helps learners when reading texts, enhances autonomy and can improve vocabulary learning. Below is how we develop phonetical knowledge across Key Stage 2 so our children have clear and reliable pronunciation.


In Year 3, children will be introduced to phonics in Spanish by imitating pronunciation of sounds and recognise how sounds are presented in written form. An example of this in year 3 is we would introduce the children to general greetings. Some of the language used in this area would be Hola and Adios. We would ensure that children are shown on the slides the greeting and also the phonetical breakdown alongside the English translation. E.G. Adios (ah-dee-ohs) (Goodbye). Children will begin to explore their phonetical knowledge by imitating and repeating sounds that the teacher models to them for each word and then blend them together. In Year 4, children will build upon the phonics they have developed in the previous year and also look at certain phonetical sounds that letters make in Spanish. An example of this is the rr sound. Children are modelled the peculiar sound of the double rr and practice the sound in isolation before pronouncing the sound in words such as aserrin and sierra. In Year 4, we want children to start to apply their phonic knowledge if the Spanish language to support their reading and writing. In Year 5, the children will focus on ensuring they have clear pronunciation of sounds and using the phonetic knowledge to decode words in Spanish. Children will look at the sound the letter J makes in Spanish and it will be modelled how to make the sound. Children will rehearse the sound J in isolation and then practice in words such as abajo and naranja. Children need to develop accuracy in pronunciation and intonation, especially when read aloud unknown words. In Year 6, children will look into revising the sounds previously learned, particularly the j and rr sounds. They will also focus on the ll sound and will follow previous examples of practicing the sound in isolation after modelling and then practice the sound in words such as llamo and Fruitilla. In year 6, there will also be a focus on several other letters in the alphabet and children will have the opportunity to learn them phonetically in Spanish. Children will also be given the opportunities to discuss patterns they see in foreign languages.


Vocabulary is crucial for learners to become proficient in languages. Studies show that having a wider vocabulary correlates with many other aspects of a learner’s language ability, such as reading ability and grammatical awareness. It therefore needs to be built explicitly into the curriculum. The choice of vocabulary in the curriculum should be carefully considered, especially in view of the learners’ age and how often words occur in the language (that is, word frequency).

In Year 3, we would introduced children to basic vocabulary linked to numbers (1-10), greetings such as hola and adios, personal details such as your name and age. E.g. Me llamo Paulo, colours, fruit, days of the week and months of the year will all be the main focus of vocabulary. We will ensure that Year 3 children are not overwhelmed and will give the core vocabulary that can support their phonetic development. In Year 4, we build upon the topic-based vocabulary and introduce new topics such as animals, clothes, family, basic food and drink, parts of the body and weather. These will again be taught at a basic level to ensure cognitive overload doesn’t take place. An example of this is a topic such as animals could be vast but we just focus on 5 household animals to ensure children grasp the vocabulary and can decode the words phonetically. In Year 5, we build upon the vocabulary developed in lower key stage 2 by extending counting up to 50 and discuss ways we may use numbers when focusing on giving people addresses. The vocabulary in Y5 focuses on certain topics such as talking about the weather, giving simple instructions, expressing thanks, which builds upon the learning of greetings in Y3/4 and also saying the day and month on any day of the year. Finally, in Year 6, we continue our topic-based theme of vocabulary and look at classroom objects, household items, names of occupation and the letters in the alphabet. These transferable topics are so important and children have a pool of vocabulary knowledge they can draw upon and link this vocabulary when starting to use language from one context or topic and apply it in another context.


We have selected using topic-based vocabulary such as colours and food as they are transferable and can support children’s vocabulary development. Instead of children saying an apple, they could say a rojo manzana, which combines their knowledge of colours and food to give more information about the apple. It is essential when teaching vocabulary that teachers plan to revisit this vocabulary several times throughout the year, mainly through connecting learning slides or knowledge organiser quizzes at the start of sessions.



Grammatical progression needs to be carefully planned across time. Pupils need to embed grammar in their memory so that they do not get confused or demotivated as structures and concepts gradually become more complex. The three main areas we have focused upon for Spanish are:

  • different tenses
  • agreements on verbs for person and number
  • agreement on nouns and adjectives


In Year 3, we introduced children to the basics of grammar such as the difference between un/una and that one term is masculine (un) and the other is feminine (una). Children will also begin to recognise the difference between singular and plural items and how they afftect the verb (gusta – singular, gustan – plural). Children in Y3 will also have the opportunity to experiment with writing by producing short sentences using verb, adjectives and conjunctions and how these combine to make a sentence. In Year 4, there is a huge focus on adjectives and children are asked to identify them in a text and then recognise that they can change spellings in the words around them. Children will also look at nouns in Y4 and we want them to understand that all nouns have a gender. An example of this would be if we talked about the head (la nariz). If the head belonged to a man it would be called el/un nariz, whereas if the head belonged to a woman it would be called la/una head. Children will have several opportunities to practice this using a varied of activities. As you can see from the above, Year 4 really focuses on word classes and focuses on them using their grammar knowledge to construct simple sentences with the help of a model. In Year 5, children focus more of the rules of Spanish grammar, in particular, being able to identify the position of adjectives in a sentence. Children are taught that adjectives normally come after the noun in Spanish, using the example from earlier, a red apple would be pronounced manzana rojo. Children need plenty of time to apply this principle as it goes against everything we are taught in the English language. Children continue to look at adjectives and understand they need to substitute quantifiers and adjectives in sentences. We will also continue to focus on tenses in Year 5 and ensure that children can use the immediate future tense. In Year 6, we encourage children to be confident and at making links between languages and see the similarities and differences between Spanish and English. The work on gender continues to be a theme in Y6 as children start to understand that some nouns for occupations change their spelling in relation to gender. An example of this is the occupation of a nurse; the female version is Enfermera and the male version is Enfermero and children will discuss the subtle changes through a range of activities. Children will also learn about  how accents on words in Spanish affect stress and pronunciation. A word like años is a strong example of how the accent impacts on the affect/stress you pronounce the word.