Parlez-vous Français? Pupils say ‘oui!’ at primary French Day

Friday 13 February 2015

WEB French day with visiting pupils and Theatre sans FrontieresYear 5 pupils from schools around Leeds, Harrogate and Wharfedale came together to practise their language skills during a French Day at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL).

During the day the children enjoyed French food, played French playground games and watched a play, Contes Mauriciens, based on folktales from Mauritius and performed in French by Théâtre sans Frontières. It was a non-uniform day – the children came dressed in the colours of the French tricolour.

The activities were led by Vicky Cooke, Junior School French teacher, with help from the language teachers and assistants from GSAL Senior School. Vicky said: “Foreign languages have become a compulsory part of the national curriculum for Key Stage 2 in this school year. Our French day provided an opportunity for pupils to have fun with French outside the classroom and begin to put their learning into context.”

After watching the play Horsforth Newlaithes pupil Daisy said: “I only knew some of the words but I could understand what was going on and I learnt some new words.” Her classmate Isabelle said: “I liked the food!”

Helen Miller, French teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, said: “Language learning is higher profile now that it’s on the national curriculum for this age group, and days like this can only help. The children’s enjoyment and understanding of the language is enhanced by meeting native French speakers and watching a professional theatre company perform in French.”

The schools taking part were Horsforth Newlaithes Primary School, The Froebelian School, Brackenfield School in Harrogate, together with two Leeds schools – Richmond House and Talbot Primary – and two Ilkley schools – Sacred Heart and Ashlands. GSAL Junior School’s own Year 5 joined in the fun.

GSAL Junior School also hosts a hub for Leeds and Bradford primary language teachers, one of the Association for Language Learning’s network of primary hubs. Local teachers meet once a term to share ideas and provide peer support. For more information email Vicky Cooke on

Cast members from Théâtre sans Frontières are pictured with the pupils visiting GSAL.

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