French! French! …… Français!

Following the introduction of Foreign Languages into primary schools, there has been much talk in the press about primary age children’s ability to learn a foreign language and to retain what they learn. With Foreign Languages only having foundation subject status in most primary schools, that will equate to probably only one session a week of about 40 minutes.

Recently, Florence Myles, Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Essex University, warned that not enough time was being devoted to the subject to allow the words to sink in.

“At the age that they are introducing it, having just 40 minutes a week is not going to be sufficient for students to retain what they have learnt,” she said, “they’ll have forgotten it by the next week.” She went on to say that three hours a week would be better for children of that age to retain what they’ve learned.

Clearly, this puts primary schools in a dilemma. With so much to cover in the new National Curriculum, it would be hard to allocate further time to Foreign Languages alongside all of the other core and foundation subjects. At EducationCity, we believe that our French and Spanish modules can support schools in the teaching and learning of a foreign language in an engaging way for children.

Historically, French has been popular with primary schools and many schools were already teaching it before it became a statutory requirement in September. It would appear that many primary schools have chosen French as their main foreign language to teach. We have been busy creating lots of new Activities and Learn Screens for our French module, which have been well received by many of our subscribers, to cover the objectives set out in the new National Curriculum.

In addition to the use of our French module, we also think that our PlayLive French challenge will encourage children to learn at other times during the day and at home. This may be just the extra support and consolidation that they need to help retain what they have learnt. Designed for Year 3 students and upwards, PlayLive French is EducationCity’s competitive, interactive and quick-fire challenge for French language learners. Students play against up to six other players from their class, year or school, and can even play against children from other countries. PlayLive French makes practising the language, and learning about the culture in French-speaking countries, fun!

Please remember that we are always really interested to hear from our subscribers and to take on board their feedback and ideas for future development. If you’d like to talk about any issues related to our educational content, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Patrick Mainprize, Education Lead at EducationCity, by emailing