Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


Ellie Chettle CullyLanguages and International LeadHazel Community Primary School

Primary Subject Network: Languages

  • To consider the impportance of language learning within the primary curriculum.
  • To explore the pillars of progression in languages.
  • To discuss how to ensure progression across the four years of Key Stage 2.
  • To explore best practice.
  • To signpost resources and sources of support.


Purpose of Study

Why should we be teaching pupils languages?

Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both inspeech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.Languages Programme of Study Key Stage Two (Purpose of Study)

The Programme of Study

What does it tell us?

Teaching may be of any modern or ancient foreign language and should focus on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language. The teaching should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at key stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures andvocabulary.Languages Programme of Study Key Stage Two (Subject Content)

60 minutes a week considered best practice. How can we get that?

Progress is key!

  • a specialist teacher is brought into school to teach languages
  • a teacher or TA in school takes responsibility for its organisation and delivery (often during PPA time).
  • a native speaker member of staff is asked to lead the subject

Models of teaching

Where to start?

The 'Three Pillars'.

Speaking, listening, reading and writing




Foundations of Language Learning

  • Rachel Hawkes describes this as three strands.
  • Three aspects of language learning, working together to contrinute to the whole.

Foundations of Language Learning

Speaking, listening, reading and writing





Foundations of Language Learning

The Importance of the Three Pillars

How do they work inividually as part of the whole?
  • Should be taught discretely but not just as one individual lesson every now and then.
  • Improves pronunciation.
  • Helps children "crack the code" of the new language.
  • Increases independence when encountering unfamilar words in the target language.


Supporting less confident teachers in the primary languages classroom.


  • Not just increasing pupils' stock of nouns.
  • How has the vocabulary been selected? High-frequency? Of interest to pupils? Of practical use? If there is too much, could these questions guide your thinking as a lead?
  • Vocabulary will grow and become more complex as pupils progress through the Key Stage.
  • Taught through songs, games, stories and sentence-building.


Our aim is always to move on from single words to phrases and sentences.

  • Pictionary
  • Tarsia puzzles (lots of these ready-made on ‘Lightbulb Languages’)
  • Bingo (normal and line bingo)
  • Noughts and crosses (pictures of vocabulary, or words)
  • Hangman
  • Snap
  • Dominoes
  • Battleships


  • Children's grammatical understanding should build over time in small steps.
  • Breaking down the Programme of Study is essential, in order to demonstrate progression over time.
  • Like phonics and vocabulary, grammatical understanding can be built through games and sentence-building activites.
  • Don't just explain a rule; introduce a set of sentences and get children to spot it themselves.


  • New material should be met a practised through speaking, listening, reading and writing - this won't always be evidenced in books.
  • Learning in phonics, vocabulary and grammar must weave together to build pupil fluency over time.
  • Do more with less.
  • There need to be lots of opportunities to revisit learning regularly to ensure that pupils don't forget.

Weaving the three together

Progression Across Key Stage Two

What might this look like?
By the end of 4 years of study...
What issues might we encounter when using the above to measure progression in the languages classroom?
Subject Content: KS2 MFL Programme of Study
  • listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
  • explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help*
  • speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
  • develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases*
  • present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences*
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
  • appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
  • write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
  • describe people, places, things and actions orally* and in writing
  • understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English
  • Targets not broken down into smaller steps.
  • Without smaller marker points we can't evidence progression over time.

This is one example. Your scheme may have something similar or you may have created your own. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution.


Assessing progression

How do we monitor progression over time?

It takes the fun out of language learning

Questions around the type of assessment

Not always 'hard' evidence in books

Teachers are unsure how to do it

Lack of time

Some common issues:

The following is not an extensive list but it does give us an idea of some of the challenges facing us when it comes to assessment in the primary languages classroom.

  • Pupils - especially those in upper KS2 - need to know they are making progress to maintain motivation. Graham et al., 2016.
  • Allows us to make and report judgements on pupil progress to interested parties.

Assessment is important:

  • Allows teachers to plan the next steps in learning.
  • Children don't need to be writing in their books every lesson. There are four skills to assess: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Many of the things we already do in the primary languages classroom as part of 'normal' classroom practice can double up as assessment opportunities:
    • eavedropping on vocabulary games to check for pronunciation.
    • role plays and mini performances.
    • having individuals come up to demonstrate on the board.
    • using questioning (particularly 'cold calling' following paired discussion).
    • moving around the room to check for misconceptions during group/paired/individual activities.
    • using a TA or other adult and having them feed back.
  • Plan your assessment points in advance of the lesson.

How else could that 'everyday' classroom practice be used to assess pupils accurately?

Formative Assessment:

Think pumpkin


  • Always think about the
  • How do children get better at this skill? Is it by testing or by practising?
  • What do your school's summative assessments (if you do them) tell you about what the children know?
  • Do they test all four skill areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing?
  • How is the data from these summative assessments used to inform future learning?
  • How do pupils learn from any mistakes made when undertaking summative assessment?
  • Could you get the same information in different ways?

Summative Assessment:

Sources of support

Go-to places for advice and subject-specific help?

Resources and sources of support:

  • https://www.cavelanguages.com
  • https://www.rachelhawkes.com
  • https://www.all-languages.org.uk - The Association for Language Learning.
    • online resources
    • PHORUM - online meetings focusing on all things primary languages.
    • Hubs - local groups offering support.
  • https://ripl.uk - Research in Primary Languages
  • Facebook - LiPS Facebook group.


Thank you