Giving pupils the confidence to speak in their own voice
Targeted FLA support in Year 11 and Year 10 Tea Club
Year 10 and Year 11 Pupil Premium students were significantly underperforming compared to the rest of the cohort in the French and Spanish Controlled Assessment. As Controlled Assessment accounts for 60% of the GCSE course, this was a vital issue to address. Following deeper analysis, students told us that they often found trying to speak in the foreign language particularly difficult and often intimidating.
In addition, we found that students struggled to remember basic vocabulary, crucial for reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The Pupil Premium solution
Thanks to the Pupil Premium, we were able to adopt a two-fold solution to the problem of perceived intimidation and underachievement.
To help our Year 11 Pupil Premium students, we decided to employ our Foreign Languages Assistant for an additional day every fortnight, and directed her to focus on supporting these students in small groups. By giving each student more individual attention, lessons become much more like actual conversations, allowing students the time – and the encouragement – to gain confidence and find their own voice.
To help our Year 10 Pupil Premium students, we took the innovative decision to establish an afterschool Tea Party to aid revision and help give students the confidence they need to achieve to the best of their abilities during the Controlled Assessment.
We wanted to create a sense of occasion, of this being a special, fun and informal event: consequently, students had to get tickets to the Tea Party; staff decorated the café and served students hot drinks and cakes, and helped students with pronunciation on a 1:1 basis. In so doing, we were able to instil students with a newfound confidence for – and enjoyment in – the subject. We held the Tea Parties for an hour-and-a-half for three times a week in the two-week run up to the speaking exam.
Also, we purchased Vocab Express which has proved to be an invaluable support program to help students remember and revise basic, key vocabulary.
The results were impressive. By spending more time learning with the Foreign Languages Assistant, Pupil Premium students achieved 57% of writing at target level, as against the total cohort target of 59% – a wafer-thin achievement gap.
Year 10 students who attended the Tea Parties performed on average two grades better than in their previous speaking exam – a substantial achievement.
At the end of the last academic year, a huge 98% of MFL students had used their Vocab Express log in.
“Fantastic, I can practise my vocab on the bus and I like getting higher up the leader board.”
Pupil Premium student
Building on the Pupil Premium success in 2016-2017
In the coming year, we will re-establish the PP Tea Club to help Year 11 students finalise their Controlled Assessments. When we become more familiar with the new GCSE specification in Languages, we will most certainly be considering where targeted PP support should be given.