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Modern Foreign Languages KS3 Curriculum FAQs

Timeline of change

Q: The National Curriculum - what's changing for KS3?

A: The final version of the new Key Stage 3 Programme of Study was published in September 2013, ready for first teaching from September 2014. National Curriculum levels have been removed and will not be replaced.

Main changes

Q: What's new?

A: There's a higher profile for grammar and vocabulary, linguistic competence including translation and transcription, and authentic source materials and literary texts.

KS2 and KS3

Q: Are Primary Schools required to teach a language at KS2 and show progression in that language?

A: Yes. Teaching at KS3 should build on the foundations of language learning laid at KS2, whether pupils continue with the same language or take up a new one.


Q: What has the government said about assessment?

A: "Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework should be built into the school curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents. Ofsted's inspections will be informed by whatever pupil tracking data schools choose to keep."

Taken from the Department for Education article on assessing without levels, published June 2013


Q: Will there be any guidance on attainment targets and assessment?

A: Schools must devise an assessment system that allows them to track against the blocks of content and skills required by the Programme of Study, whilst still ensuring progress. Any assessment schools devise for themselves will need to be at least as good as the previous system of levels when inspected by Ofsted.

We know that many schools are considering different options for assessment criteria, such as continuing to follow the existing level of criteria or introducing grade indicators. Although the former level descriptors no longer apply, our features in our KS3 Allez and Tricolore courses provide a guide to the level of activities. We hope that by providing this guidance in our resources, we'll help to make your life easier during this challenging time of change.

Allez assessment guide (PDF) Tricolore assessment guide (PDF)

Assessment and languages

Q: How does this apply to languages?

A: The attainment target for the new Programme of Study for languages is as follows:

"By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and process specified in the programme of study."

The National Curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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

  • Can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learned

  • Discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied