Meet the Trust’s Director of Languages
Mrs Melanie Navarro-Marin is relishing her new role as the Director of MFL offering advice and support to schools across the Brooke Weston Trust. In addition to overseeing the subject at secondary level, Mel is also liaising with primary colleagues, some of whom are introducing the MFL curriculum into their schools for the first time.
At Beanfield Primary School all of the KS2 teachers are learning some Spanish to enable them to teach it to students in Year 3 and above. Some of the teachers have been so inspired that they are now studying for their GCSE this year. Compass Primary Academy is also teaching Spanish, while Oakley Vale and Gretton Primary Schools are teaching French. German is studied by students at Peckover Primary in Wisbech, meaning that all three languages studied in our schools at secondary level are initiated in the primary years.
Mel said: ‘My role is a way of linking schools and making sure they have the support from a department that teaches all three languages. All of the schools are unique and work differently so it is about supporting staff with everyday teaching and learning for what works in the context of their own school. This may include writing, comparing and customising curriculums, coming up with new ideas, group networking and supporting Heads of Department and departmental staff in their role. While every school has their own procedures we are taking what is proven to work and sharing that across all of the schools at a level appropriate to their specialism and needs so that it can be adapted to suit each school in their own context.’
Mel has been in the profession for 27 years, was Head of Department and Senior Assistant Principal at Brooke Weston Academy for four years and has also been a languages consultant for the SSAT. She still teaches for two days a week as she recognises the value of classroom practice: ‘It is important because if you are advising people to do things you actually need to do them yourself and lead by example. It is great to work with schools in the Trust, get to know people and develop links and share good practice. Other schools have also shared resources that we can disseminate widely so it is about building networks and bonds between schools and their staff.’
Although she has always been a secondary practitioner, Mel is committed to primary level MFL: ‘Languages are now being introduced in Year 3 so it is important that the teachers delivering it are enthusiastic and that the students respond well to their language experiences. The staff I have met with are committed and enthusiastic and it has been a real pleasure to see such dedication from everyone I have worked with thus far. Many students have holidays abroad so they can see the importance of learning a different language from a very young age. The primary curriculum is so packed that staff have ensured that the language teaching time per week is fun, inspiring and accessible to all. It opens their minds to the benefits of learning a language and prepares them for studying at a more advanced level in secondary school.’
Mel is relishing her new role: ‘I love to help and support people and love to see staff and students responding positively to things that have been implemented. One of the most important parts of my job is ensuring that staff feel supported, knowing that somebody cares and there is someone to bounce ideas off. This role is all about seeing staff and students going from strength to strength. I love it!’