ALL for teacher trainers

As an ALL member, you will receive full access to ALL publications: the Language Learning Journal, the ALL Language Zones and termly copies of Languages Today magazine. You will also be kept in the loop through the weekly e-bulletin ALLNet and receive a discount on other ALL publications. You’ll be provided with a personal membership card as proof of membership, allowing you to attend local ALL events around the country. You can find out more about joining here.

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What we offer for ALL members:

Local networks

Local groups across the country offering training and support.

Languages Today

Practical ideas and content for primary teachers through our termly magazine, Languages Today.


Weekly news and updates with our e-newsletter, ALLNet.


Low cost networking and CPD events across the country.

Language Zones

An entirely interactive and interconnected archive on language teaching practice.

Language Learning Journal

Access to the Language Learning Journal archive.

ITET Special Interest Group (SIG)

ALL's Special Interest Group is for members who work in Initial Teacher Education and Training.

The scene is changing rapidly in this sector with new organisations getting involved and people taking on roles in which they need the support and connections of their Subject Association. ALL is taking a role in supporting this field and actively recruiting new members from the sector.

We have a lively discussion forum for members and others in this field. Please encourage people you know to join the conversation! You can subscribe online here.

Latest information

ITET-forum 2021: Differentiation

At the 2021 online event Tanya Riordan and Anne Convery gave a presentation about differentiation . Here they kindly share their bibliography and a document featuring tasks used in their research, by kind  arrangement with both speakers and University of Portsmouth .

This document is shared willingly between colleagues for use by others in ITE, but please be kind enough to acknowledge their source as University of Portsmouth PGCE MFL team and Anne Convery.

Subject Knowledge Development

Liz Lord kindly contributes her suggestions, previously shared  on the ITET-Forum 


The Open Accessible Summaries In Language Studies (OASIS) initiative aims to make research findings on language learning and teaching available and accessible to a wide audience.

OASIS summaries are one-page descriptions of research articles on language learning, language teaching, and multilingualism that have been published in peer-reviewed journals listed on the Social Science Citation Index or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. The summaries provide information about the study’s goals, how it was conducted, and what was found, and are written in non-technical language. Where relevant, they also highlight findings that may be of particular interest to language educators, although the initiative is not solely aimed at research with immediate practical implications. The summaries are generally approved, and often (co-)written, by the author(s) of the original journal article.

Language teaching: learning from the past

The first package from the Language Teaching: Learning from the Past project is ready to trial. It deals with “Differentiation and diversity in language teaching”. Please follow this link to access the material


Contact for feedback etc. is

ITET - Forum Meeting July 2020

Resources from the online event in July 2020

Carmen Herrero - Transmedia


2020 Open letter to trainees and NQTs

ALL's Membership Officer Steven Fawkes has written an open letter to Language teachers completing their training and their NQT year.


Highlights from 2015

November 2015

Recruitment - Languages at secondary level

Key points on recruitment following regional meeting with NCTL

For 2015-16 there are no upper ceilings in this year's application round. There is a national maximum figure that the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) have set for each phase and subject, which is then split into four categories.

For languages it looks as follows:

  • 1514 is the overall national recruitment target for MFL (estimated trainee needs)
  • 143 of these are allocated to Teach First
  • 79 of these to School Direct Salaried
  • 390 to School Direct; this is a minimum figure. (see comment below)
  • The remaining 902 are for other providers including universities, SCITTs, etc.

Should the 902 be recruited nationally by universities, SCITTS, etc. before the 390 School Direct trainees are recruited, they would not be allowed to carry on recruiting into the School Direct allowance.

Should School Direct providers recruit to their 390 before the 902 other trainees are recruited, then School Direct providers can carry on recruiting.

Brief report from ALL and NCTL meeting in April 2015:

ALL and NCTL meeting to discuss recruitment to all routes to teacher training - April 2015

ALL was represented by Rachel Middleton (ALL Director), Anna Lise Gordon and René Koglbauer (ITET) and NCTL.

At the time of meeting the NCTL recruitment team was limited by the restrictions imposed on parliament and government agencies by the General Election, and therefore could not make specific decisions; in addition the team also worked independently of the recruitment allocations team.

NCTL colleagues reported that although recruitment to languages has been quite healthy, in the last two years the recruitment targets were not met and were 16% or 17% below target for the respective years. The figures for the current year were not yet available but there was obviously concern.

ALL representatives were able to highlight to the team the broad range of issues relating to language teaching and  in the English education system and teacher recruitment both at secondary and primary level. A number of potential options were discussed – some more immediate as well as long-term.

ALL felt that the NCTL team was proactive and had an interest in working with us closely to ensure there is no shortage of language teachers in the near future. We were in contact during the following few weeks to keep the NCTL recruitment team in the loop of any developments from our side and to maintain communication following the General Election.

08 July 2015 -ITET seminar:

The last ITET seminar was held on 08 July 2015 at St Mary’s University, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham by kind invitation; and included input from Emma Marsden, University of York on Grammar; and inputs on:
• Language and Culture in Foreign Language Teaching
• Formative Assessment of Writing
• Creativity
• Poetry in MFL linked to new KS3 NC
• Barry Jones Selected Writings
• Other updates from ALL and partners

09 June 2015: Learning from the Classroom Conference

Newcastle University, Newcastle: annual ALL/University of Newcastle Learning from the Classroom Conference: New MFL teachers met established ones to celebrate their success and share good practice.

30 June 2014- ITET-Languages seminar:

  • Update on UK national policy and practice Ann Swarbrick (Past President ALL)
  • Discussion Chaired by Ann Swarbrick with Keith Faulkner, University of Sheffield- The impact of School Direct– some key issues:Lead schools + clusters and OfSTED inspections; UCAS; relationships with, and changing expectations of, partner schools
  • ALL Literature Project Steven Fawkes, Fellow of ALL and Membership Officer
  • 'Teachers first as researchers' Jane Jones, King’s College, University of London
  • Formative Assessment in target language Judith Rifeser, Orleans Park School and Marian Carty, Goldsmiths College
  • Giving trainee teachers the confidence to try out research based skills' development strategies in the classroom Tanya Riordan, University of Portsmouth

Notes and Presentations available via mflite thanks to Suzi Bewell


2014: Primary teacher trainee MFL entitlement

This is a brief collation of responses to a question on the ITET- forum complied by Steven Fawkes for ITET SIG in 2014.

The Question: Within your institution / local providers you know what element of language is available for young teachers training for the Primary sector? (Specialist - if they still exist - or Non-specialist)?

Names of institutions have been removed.


- Institution A We have a 'curriculum strength' option on Primary PGCE, with can be either French or Spanish. We get 10 French and 5 Spanish through per year. Their training involves 1 day per week (when at Uni) to specialist MFL training (inc. SK) + MFL teaching on TP. They used to go to France or Spain for 4 weeks in the spring since we were part of the pilot (started 15 years ago) but this is no more the case since they pulled the funding a while back.

As regards the secondary PGCE/SD MFL training, we currently do, like most, 11-16 with enhancement, the enhancement being post-16. From 2015, we will be offering KS2 as the enhancement as an alternative to post-16. This will involve either a TP in a primary school or outreach work from a secondary school.

- Institution B We offer the generalist Primary PGCE trainees a series of three two-hour sessions. They are very practical and motivational for PML. We would like to have more sessions but are up against other Foundation subjects.

Primary PGCE: specialist route (the only specialism offered). We train 20 students per year (15 French and 5 Spanish) out of a cohort of 140. They have 36 taught hours of primary MFL plus the opportunity to teach abroad for a month. Those who don't go abroad do a fortnight placement in an English school developing the international dimension. They all have to teach an hour per week at least of MFL on their second long school placement in the UK. They have 10 hours of language input additionally, mainly to prepare them for going abroad but most already have a degree or a good A level (they have to have a minimum of A level grade C)

Non-specialists - the rest of the PGCE cohort have 2 x 3 hours input on MFL as part of the Wider Curriculum (so, on a par with Art, Music, Drama, History, Geography etc). This is pedagogy plus where to find support, no language.

Undergraduate - BA Primary Education and Teaching

MFL specialism - one small group of specialists in each cohort - usually 4-6 per year, specialising in French. They have 3 full modules and 3 half modules in total across the three year course; the full modules focus on pedagogy and the half modules develop language. We ask for an A level grade C but will take with less if they are keen. They spend a fortnight in a French-speaking Belgian school.

Year 1 - one x 3 hour input as introduction to primary languages compulsory for all
Year 2 - one x 3 hour input compulsory
one compulsory full day conference on developing the international dimension and primary MFL
Year 3 - optional half module focusing on language and pedagogy (offered for the first time in Dec and we had 48 sign up!)

This BA PET course will change as from Sept as we've just gone through re-approval. There will no longer be a single specialism but MFL will be better embedded and there will be more opportunities for students to opt into full and half modules as we offered the Y3 last Dec.

- Institution C We currently have 40 primary language specialists out of a cohort of just over 200. These are general primary with focussed language input over the year. The remaining trainees get 3 language sessions over the year.
Next year our overall numbers have been slashed by almost 50% so the number of ML specialist trainees will be more like 25. I spoke to one of our ML trainees just yesterday who has already got a job and been made ML coordinator.

- Institution D MFL Specialists (Year 3):
* Numbers vary - this year there are 22 students following this specialism, next year it will be 27
* They undertake 1 module in each semester both 30 hours face to face teaching; 90 hours Supported Open Learning (Directed  Study); Independent Study and Assessment 180 hours

Content includes:
* A 3 day European Trip in Semester 1 to understand how to prepare and plan to take children abroad
* They participate and plan Languages Events in partnership schools (3 days)
* Participate and plan Languages Event in SEN School
* Visit Secondary Schools for teaching, discussion and observations in Years 7 and 8
* Observe and micro teach in a school with a high proportion of EAL children who all learn Spanish
* Have input on the role of the MFL Co-ordinator by teacher in partnership school
* Upskilling in French German and Spanish within the Modules (3 days)

In addition, all students (generalists and specialists) have the opportunity to undertake a Teaching International Placement in Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany or China for 2-4 weeks
All students (both generalists and specialists) can opt to study for a semester abroad in Semester 1 of the third year

PGCE Specialism - new this year

Specialism is focussed on assessment within Portfolio and Research Project
2 week International Teaching Experience as above
Shadowing MFL Co-ordinator and teaching/observing MFL on placements
Taught input in the University is 6 hours.

- Institution E We are thrashing out next year's timetable, which looks a lot different now we have a range of SD 'packages' to cater for next year and an increase from 90 to 120 days minimum to be spent in school (for Languages, not great, as many many schools are not offering Languages in any form yet, or in the '15 minute a week when we can' mode - some schools are really far on, but we can't send everyone to a small number of schools for teaching practice.)
Currently we have :

General Languages (ie general cohort, ca. 160 trainees) 5 days, including school experience (we descend en masse and take over for Languages afternoons), not formally assessed

Enhanced Pathway in Languages (elective, 14 non-language specialists with a particular interest in Languages, Maths, Science, English, Inclusion - 30-credit module, 2-week Languages focus placement

Specialism in Languages (focus Langs Fr/Ger/Sp, Langs grads mostly, but not necessarily, no placement abroad since funding was withdrawn), these follow a specific route through PGCE, 30-credit module, separate GTTR course code, 2-week focus placement. I do a lot of the contact teaching hours in a range of schools, so they get to experience a lot of different models etc, 10 contact days

Proposal is major reduction in all of these, increase in cross-curricular instead.

- Institution F Generalist and enhanced options are available, both Ug and Pg, and 7-14. The enhanced is a tweak of the specialist pathways we had with the Bilateral funding.

- Institution G We have a Primary Languages pathway on the Primary PGCE (6 this year, has been up to 16 in the past) consisting of an M level specialism module and 10 days of enrichment placement. The module runs alongside specialisms in Maths, English, science, SEN and EYFS. It consists of 8 days over two terms and is largely school-based. They have input from MFL trainer , observation/working with classes, and discussions with key people (head, class teacher, language coordinator). We expect them to be language coordinators in the near future and the issues involved are the focus of the assignment.
These PL specialists also have an additional 10 days of enrichment placement in local schools demonstrating good practice and innovation. This includes language detective days, French lunch, CLIL, secondary schools doing primary outreach, bilingual programmes etc. They are expected to teach a series of lessons on placement and receive an additional visit with a specific focus on their language teaching.

Everyone on the Primary PGCE has 5 x 2 hours of PL as part of the foundation subject module. The sessions aim to improve trainee confidence through familiarity with materials for the non-specialist, and a focus on good primary pedagogy at the heart of things. This year we have spent half of our time on subject knowledge (basic French), but next year hope that this will be covered in a twilight session offered by our IWLP tutors.
The BA Ed course offers a similar PL for generalists module of 10 hours over four years. School Direct Primary Salaried has one 3-hour introductory session: background, principles, some modelling and direction to schemes for non-specialists.

G We still have a Specialist French Primary PGCE – those students will next year receive a total of 6 and a half days training, most of this will be school-based; non-specialists (generalists) will have the equivalent of 2 days training (four half days) and I understand that some of the specialists are involved in ‘training’ the non-specialists!

- Institution H Our primary generalists are supposed to be 'trained to teach languages' after a total of four hours in their PGCE/School Direct year.

- Institution I All PGCE primary full and part timers: 5 x 2 hours of ML, focussing on good practice.

All BA ITT primary students: ML is part of the core provision so students get 5 x 2 hours in years 1, 2 and 3. We focus on methodology but do teach / revise some basic language through examples. In Year 2 we look at cross curricular links and Year 3 we focus on cultural input.

We also offer a ML specialism in year 2 in either French or Spanish. The students receive 10 x 2 hours of language upskilling, focusing on KS2 curriculum content. This year we had 26 for French and 19 for Spanish.

Students can continue their ML specialism into year 3 ( they choose 1 of their 4 year 2 specialisms) where they have 10 x 2 hours of input. We teach the Spanish and French groups together. Provisional numbers for next year are 25.

Students who do the specialism are encouraged to do their enhancement placement ( all year 3s do a 4 week enhancement placement in January ) in either France or Spain. We have retained our links with the university in France and the university Spain. Our students spend a month in a primary school teaching English and we receive French and Spanish students each year. The senior leadership team have been very supportive of this initiative and have funded the programme since the government funding dried up.

- Institution J It’s been fascinating to read all the messages in response to Steven’s question; it paints a very diverse picture.
.. provision is as follows:
UG generalists (3Yr degree) all get to do one 24hr module in Yr1 aimed at introducing them to MFL teaching in general (non-language specific but we do tend to use French & Spanish + German materials). Their assessment consists in devising a medium-term plan based on a story book which also demonstrates an understanding of the principles behind effective MFL teaching at KS2.
In Yrs 2 and 3, there is no further MFL input at all for generalists…A big issue for us and for them, as many express the desire to do more without having to commit to a full-blown specialism.

In Yr 2, they can opt to do a MFL specialist study (or Maths, English, SEN, etc.).
In Year 2, MFL specialists (usually 12 to 14 students per year, only French at this stage, we’re hoping to expand to Spanish) do one module (30hrs) focusing in more depth on their subject knowledge (French) + MFL planning & teaching (+ usual suspects: progression, phonics, intercultural understanding…) and organise short input in local schools (non-accredited, over and above their existing placements). At the end of Yr2, they may opt to undertake a self-funded 2 weeks placement abroad (Europe, South Africa…). Funding is a real issue here and we’re trying to create / firm up partnership with institutions abroad.
In Yr 3, they have v. little input from us. Their one MFL module becomes much more theoretical: students write a substantial dissertation on a theme of their choice within the broader scope of MFL teaching (e.g. Intercultural Dimension, the teaching of Literacy and MFL…). The issue here is that many won’t have had the opportunity to teach MFL at all during their two main block placements in Yr3.

PGCE Primary: there is a 2x2hr input for generalists (a brief introduction!).

PGCE Primary with MFL (usually 10 to 15 students, all language graduates, mainly European languages) get an additional 24hrs MFL input, focusing on effective pedagogy rather than the language itself. Again, we have not yet found a practical way of ensuring that all get to teach the MFL of their choice during placements, nor even observe good practice, although we’re trying to resolve this issue for next year.

- Institution K Provision on the Primary Ed course is:
Undergraduate Year 1- PFL sits within Wider Curriculum module where all non-specialists get 2 days input - general intro, rationale, touching on IU and exploring good pedagogy with a a balance of speaking / listening and reading /writing. The focus is very much on developing student confidence. Resources and activities are chosen deliberately so that they can be applied to a number of different languages but focus (due to staff expertise) is French and Spanish.
Year 2 - Half day focus on cross-curricular
Years 3 (and year 4 where students elect to do 4 year route) Students can elect to do an option module in PFL (24 hours equivalent) where some of the themes from Year 1 are explored in more depth.

All our undergraduate students also pursue a special subject of which French is one. The Special Subject consists of 3 modules over the 3 years (each module consists of 24 taught hours usually spread over a 12 week semester) The modules include work in school and the final module has a leadership and management focus.

Postgraduate - Students have 3x3hours sessions. Content mirrors UG to some extent (rationale, IU, balance of speaking/listening and reading/writing). Again focus is on effective pedagogy and building confidence. Students can also elect to pursue PFL for their independent research project which is school-based.

- Institution L Generalist Primary course includes just 3 hours on Languages in the whole of the training period.


June 2013 New MFL teachers meeting

New MFL teachers met to celebrate their success and share good practice.

Learning from the Classroom Conference, held at Newcastle University, June 13 2013.

Read the report  from the event Learning from the Classroom.


08 Nov 2012 ITET- Languages Seminar

The 2012 ITET seminar was held at the Teaching Agency, Piccadilly Gate, Manchester:

Thanks to all of those who attended our first fantastic day of professional exchange and support in Manchester!

ALL Update from Steven Fawkes.

Transcribed notes from the Post-it session have been circulated on the ITET-forum. Please do use the forum to keep us all up-to-date and in touch with your questions and advice.

Language World Conference 2012

This event marked the first ITET-Languages strand at Language World in Manchester with inputs from:

  • Colin Christie and Steven Fawkes - Conversation in the classroom
  • Jim McElwee - Very early language learning: a developmental psycholinguistic approach
  • Rachel Hawkes - Speaking: one skill or two? Findings, ideas and strategies from the languages classroom
  • Emma Marsden and Florentina Taylor - Pupil perception of language lessons and GCSE uptake
  • Angela McLachlan - Assessing the professional development of primary languages teachers; differentiated models at one HEI
  • Hugh Baldry, Julia Coleman and Natalie Sterman (TDA) - Beyond the EBacc - next steps in languages


News for teacher trainers

An important message from our Chair of Trustees

Dear Colleagues, In light of the rapidly changing circumstances and advice around Covid-19, the decision has been taken by ALL Management Board to cancel or postpone all events, workshops or seminars up to Easter 2020 (12th April 2020) with immediate effect. We will be in touch whether or not events can be reinstated after Easter nearer […]

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British Council Languages Teacher Training Scholars at Language World

British Council Languages Teacher Training Scholars at Language World

The Languages World conference was held on the 22nd and 23rd of March in the Holywell Park Conference Centre, at Loughborough University. British Council Languages Teacher Training Scholars had the opportunity to attend the second day of this event thanks to a...

Advice for primary teachers

Advice & guidance for teachers of languages in the primary sector.

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Advice & guidance for language coordinators in the primary sector.

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