Primary Zone

ALL Supporting Primary Languages in cooperation with ...

Advice & guidance

Have you read..?


Have you tried..?


Have you seen..?

                                 More support for primary languages

ALL Primary Special Autumn 2019

Teacher Briefings

Roadshows and Webinars

Integrating Languages

Primary Hubs

Languages Today magazine



ASCL Transition Toolkits

ALL as your Primary Career Progresses

Follow the link to access ALL As your Primary Career Progresses: 

Primary Compendium

This is a compendium begun in January 2021 for Primary colleagues

It consists of strategies, online lessons, activities and/or resources that ALL members consider of good quality – they are especially for class teachers who are not usually teaching the language lesson but are now in bubbles with children all week, to help you make sure children still get some access to quality language learning.

Further recommendations are welcome and will be added.

Please send them to


Jane Birtwhistle shares

French phonics clips

28 French sounds to match the 28 videos on the YouTube French Phonics playlist


La fête du cinéma

Culture and history of French cinema + posters and trailers for French children’s films ; language for expressing opinions


Mon petit livre de cuisine française

Culture : French dishes ; language of recipes


Les régions de France - visite virtuelle

Includes interactive map with multimedia resources


La Tour Eiffel

Cultural information; create an information sheet, technology tasks

Includes animations and video


Odd one out Quiz


Jane also hosts the Mrs Birtwhistle YouTube channel



Clare Seccombe shares:

Learn Spanish at home:

Extensive range of video lessons with notes for parents and associated activities

Lumen's Language Challenges

Variety of different challenges with a linguistic aspect

Lumen's French Award

Lumen's Spanish Award

Lumen's German Award

These are downloadable pdfs


Spanish lesson videos (Light Bulb Languages scheme of work)

Lessons presented by Clare herself.



Liz Lord recommends:

Learn French with Mme Cantin

Primary Languages Network Spanish Home Learning resources

Primary Languages Network French Home Learning resources

Eleanor Chettle Cully and Lessons from Lockdown Learning

Janet Lloyd adds:

PLN YouTube video channel

Free extended trial of the PLN virtual learning environment and access to the pre-recorded primary language lessons, interactive Circuit Breakers and Home Learning Activity Packs.



Sue Cave shares:

On the Cave Languages YouTube channel teachers can find video lessons leading to creative writing projects which can be completed independently by children at home, and used by teachers not confident in delivering French in KS2.


Marie-Odile Guillou

FRENCH PHONICS CARDS with colours and numbers up to 31


BBC Bitesize KS2.

The Dash and Blink game is particularly designed for children to use independently.

French -  KS2 French - BBC Bitesize

SpanishKS2 Spanish - BBC Bitesize

MandarinKS2 Mandarin - BBC Bitesize



Cara Bleiman shares (for Mandarin)

My Youtube playlist for Primary Mandarin

My Primary Mandarin quizlet sets

The Swire Chinese Language Centre Oxford Digital Resources page could also be useful:



Nadine Chadier mentions :

French -

German -

Italian -



Nathalie Paris shares:

Nattalingo Productions (French)

Several hundred video clips


How to build a snowman:

French nursery rhymes:

including French challenges

and French learning adventures

Nathalie also has a Vimeo channel with videos to help non-specialist practitioners introduce lessons from the Primary French Project – a great and free scheme and resources that can easily be used online:


Also French with Mr Innes YouTube channel:


Oak Academy has now launched Primary Languages lessonfor Key Stage 2 French and Spanish:


A specialist teacher writes:

I'm doing a mixture of live teaching and pre-recording then uploading lessons to a private YouTube Channel (that's a time-consuming element of the whole process but the pupils and parents have responded well to having the videos to work with).

I'm making lots of resources using Word Wall at the moment, which is great for virtual vocabulary and grammar drills and has lots and lots of variety.

I have also discovered Learning Apps which allows you to embed native speaker audio for flashcard activities.

I've got into Genially and making escape rooms and interactive slides for the children to access from home as well.

That's taking ages to get my head around but there is a wonderful webinar with Joe Dale and Marie Allirot, which I've been working my way thorough and has been very helpful.


La moufle

Here also are some resources around 'La moufle' kindly shared by Ruth Hedley form Monkseaton in N Tyneside.

Teacher Notes

La Moufle storytelling Presentation

La Moufle Worksheet

French stories


'PHOrum is the Primary Hub Online

This is a termly online meeting for ALL members and in particular Primary School members, although everyone is welcome to take part. It is free of charge for ALL members and is held via Zoom. Meetings are held on a Wednesday or Thursday 4.00 – 5.30pm.


The format is:

  • Meet-and-greet – breakout rooms for chat and networking
  • ALL Primary MFL Roadshow - latest news and updates
  • Presentation 1  - 25 minutes on a primary theme followed by 5 minutes of questions
  • Presentation 2 - 25 minutes on a primary theme followed by 5 minutes of questions


Details of the next PHOrum are in the Forthcoming Events lower on this webpage.


The presentations will be recorded and available to ALL members after the event. To access these recordings, follow the 'view here' link in 'Video Resources' below.


If you are interested in delivering a presentation at one of the future meetings, we would be delighted to hear from you – primary themes from classroom practitioners are particularly welcome and we are keen to offer experience of presenting to new faces. Please complete the online form with your suggestions – PHOrum proposal


If you have any queries about PHOrum, please contact the coordinator – Sue Cave - Email


At Language World 2021 Helen Stokes talked about using storybooks in Primary language lessons and delegates asked her for a list of recommendations.

Here is the list from Helen along with other references from Primary teachers.

ALL Video Resources

ALL are proud to present their new video resources page. Click the button below to view video resources from Conferences, Events and Member Opportunities.

Guest Blogs

ALL is grateful for these contributions which express the views of the individual writers and are offered to stimulate the thinking of readers. 

Why German in Primary Schools?

We had a trial Ofsted inspection last year, and languages was picked as a Deep Dive subject. When I was talking to my line manager beforehand, I told him that the first question would be ‘Why German?’ He was sceptical, but I was proved completely right!

I think children learn best from teachers who are passionate about their subject, and I love German – it is my second language and occupies a large part of my heart. I lived in Germany from the ages of 9 to13 and spent half my year abroad, as part of my BA in Modern Languages, in West Berlin. I have found the Germans to be friendly and welcoming and have a huge memory bank of cheesy German pop music and stodgy food!   I want them to learn the language of Goethe, Nena, Dschinghis Kahn and Ralf Zuckowski.  I want our children to have more choice than just two Romance languages that they seem to be offered now in so many secondary schools.

I have heard so many people say that they found German easier than French at school because they liked the clearer patterns and rules.  I want our dyslexic students to experience a language that is easier to read than English or French.  I want our children to experience a language that has words such as Quatsch, Schmetterling and Fernweh, and I want them learn the joys of compound nouns!!

But it is a constant battle …
Why have the big dictionary publishers not yet produced a bilingual dictionary aimed at primary school pupils in German, like the ones for French and Spanish?  Why do I spend a large amount of my time at every languages exhibition or show having the same conversations with suppliers about the shortage of resources for German?  Why do I know it will be much harder to sell the idea of a residential trip to Germany to my Headteacher, rather than one to France?
Why have the local Secondary schools dropped German in favour of French and Spanish, leaving me with no local German support network?

If it weren’t for the amazing support offered by the Goethe-Institut in London, and the other German nutters in the LiPS Facebook group, I would question my sanity. We know it will be worth it if future generations can finally move away from the horrible prejudices and stereotypes that we Germanists still meet on a regular basis in this country.

Finally, when I have lesson like the one with my year 6 classes this week, when they happily tried Lebkuchen, Brezeln, Paprika Chips and smoked cheese, and when some of them told me about a stall in the shopping centre selling German sausages that they had tried and liked, I KNOW I am slowly but surely making a difference. Which, of course, is what we are all in teaching for, in the end.

Marian Devons, Surrey, December 2019.

(I teach German to all of KS2 in a 3-form entry primary school in West London as part of the PPA cover for the class teachers. I have a BA in German and Russian and a PGCE in primary teaching, as well as an MA in Children’s Literature. I was a primary school class teacher until 2014, when I moved into primary languages as a ‘specialism’, although I had been involved in language teaching in primary schools since 2004.)

La fête nationale du 14 juillet

Known in France as ‘Le 14 juillet’ or ‘La fête nationale du 14 juillet’, the day that we refer to as Bastille Day, is a fantastic opportunity to engage pupils in the French language and the country’s culture.  A French day, or a lesson, can be planned with the help of these resources:

Sites in English for resources and activities:

Euroclub schools



DLTK kids



French Today

MFL Sunderland

Clare Seccombe’s blog post 

Sites in French for background information:




Le Figaro


Don’t forget to look at ALL’s Pinterest board for a range of creative ideas.

Celebrating multilingualism in an Oxford Primary School

The primary school where I teach German is an amazing place for a linguist to work. Pupils come to the school from all around the world bringing with them a wonderful range of languages. One morning I heard a conversation between three very young children who were happily telling each other how to say things in “their” language. The languages they were speaking were Hindi, Russian and Japanese. Later that same day I was teaching German to a class of ten year-olds. It was the birthday of one pupil so, as usual, we sang “Happy Birthday” in German, then French and Spanish. Several pupils were able to join in with those languages but when I invited another pupil to lead the song in his native language he was reluctant, saying that he couldn’t remember it. I was surprised at this because in previous years he had happily led the song. I wondered whether he had genuinely forgotten the words or was too embarrassed to sing in his mother tongue. In either case it struck me as a great pity that a child would not feel proud to be able to share the gift of language in the same way as he had when younger.

I had already decided to hold an International Evening in school and the incidents that day showed that celebrating linguistic diversity was important if children were to realise the value of their gifts. My intention was to invite children to perform in their native language or share a cultural aspect while parents would be invited to bring food to share. By happy coincidence the date selected was just a few days after the first ever Day of Multilingualism (27th March in 2019).

Planning the evening was difficult and time-consuming and there was no money available to me. Some approaches for help came to no fruition but I was fortunate to have a colleague who plans an annual Arts Open Evening and was able to draw on her planning documents as templates. Once information had gone out in the newsletter I spoke to children in my classes and invited them to prepare a performance or show an aspect of their native culture.

It was fantastic to see how many were keen to take part and the diversity of languages and performances they wanted to bring. Some children who were native English speakers were equally enthusiastic about performing in German and other languages they were learning. Perhaps the most visual display of linguistic diversity in our school came when I spoke to the whole school assembly one morning. I asked everyone in the hall to stand up, then to sit down if they only spoke one language. A few (mostly the adults) sat down. Then I asked them to sit down if they only spoke two, then three, then four languages. It was impressive to see how many children were still standing when I moved onto five and even six languages. Truly remarkable!

Once it was clear that there were plenty of children ready to perform at the evening I set about planning other activities for the evening. As we are currently introducing Mandarin into school I worked with the teacher to prepare a class group to perform a song, while the Mandarin club would perform a Kung-Fu style dance. My year 4 German classes were learning a sung version of Sleeping Beauty so I invited them to perform that as a class group. When the Mandarin coordinator offered to arrange a professional Lion Dance the Opening Ceremony plan was complete.  

Our sports coordinator came on board with an offer to lead a game of Kabaddi, a lively game originating in India. The art coordinator was keen to help and we planned to facilitate preparation of a “welcome” board in many languages. Parents would supervise their children in writing the message in their home language on speech bubbles and the results would be made into a beautiful collage for display at the entrance to school. The Mandarin providers would also lead calligraphy workshops for parents and children to discover Chinese writing. I had a few other ideas such as language displays, quizzes, word searches, colouring activities and bilingual books to keep younger children busy along with a selection of freebies promoting languages. What I was unable to prepare for or predict was the number of visitors and helpers who would turn up on the night.

In the event the response from children was fantastic! The range of talents they showed was amazing: songs in Russian, Yoruba, Turkish and Greek; Irish and Aboriginal dances; and demonstrations of Chinese art, Spanish games and Hebrew language for schoolmates and adults. Many children came along to support their siblings and parents showed appreciation of all the performances. The PTA had organised a range of delicious food too.  

The Opening Ceremony was impressive with the Lion Dance starting the event off in style. Following that was always going to be difficult but the children’s performances in Mandarin and German were still fantastic. Unfortunately, the number of children performing in German was low because the year group had also been performing their annual play that week, resulting in performance fatigue. Those who did come along sang beautifully, remembering all the tricky words and accompanying actions.

Other difficulties arose when teachers who had promised to help could not do so due to illness and other unforeseen events. This meant that all individual performances had to take place in one classroom, and this led to some congestion in the show timetable. In addition, the art coordinator was unwell and so could not produce the planned “welcome” board activity. Plan B was to provide some black sugar paper with pastel crayons and simply invite parents and children to write a message. The results were actually rather lovely and again displayed a fabulous range of languages. I’m sure the original idea will be done some time soon and will be proudly on display.

The evening was a lively 90 minutes long and was attended by well over 100 people. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive both from parents and children. Highlights from their perspective was the range of languages represented and celebrated.

Suggestions for “next time” included more performances by children, a quiz and simply … more of the same. For me the highlight was the “buzz” of the evening- seeing and hearing so many children and parents having fun sharing their languages. PTA were very pleased to have raised over £400 from food sales that they were able to donate to the Mozambique Disaster Fund. I learnt a lot about planning an event with a budget of £ zero (!) and am already thinking about how I might organise a similar activity for the younger children in school. Top of my list will be getting more helpers on board … though I haven’t yet worked out how to prevent them from falling ill on the Big Day.   


Ann Poole

MFL coordinator SS Philip and James’ primary school, Oxford

ALL Bicester Primary Hub

ASCL Transition Toolkits

ASCL working  with the ALL Primary Steering Group has developed a flexible transition toolkit in French, German and Spanish 

In a nutshell, it is about Primary colleagues sharing ‘what is left in the sieve’ after 4 years of primary languages in a way that enables Secondary colleagues to build on pupils’ prior learning.  

The toolkit is adaptable to scenarios where there is a small or large group of primary schools feeding e the overlap in learning which gives, at least, a common actionable basis.into one or more secondary schools, as secondary colleagues can determine.

Daily Bread

What different foods do children eat around the world? Photographer Gregg Segal has embarked on a global project asking kids around the world to keep a food diary for his “Daily Bread” challenge.

My Best 10 Phonics

My best 10 ideas for getting started with teaching phonics

Sue Cave

1. Pause and say

This is an activity to help your pupils internalise new sounds. Say a sequence of 3 sounds and tell the class then they can’t repeat these sounds until you give them a sign to do so. Hopefully, in the pause, they are repeating the sounds silently in their head to help them remember. Challenge them by lengthening the time before they must repeat. This can then be practised in pairs.

2. Charades

Perform the allocated actions for the phonemes in a word in the order in which they appear (missing out any that sound the same in English as the language being learnt). The pupils try to be first to guess the word. This is another good activity to help with the internalisation of sounds.

3. Listen for the sound

When using a song, story, poem or rhyme in the classroom, ask your pupils to listen out for a particular sound or sounds within it and perform the agreed action each time it is heard. This can be lots of fun.

4. Fire and Hire

Once your pupils are familiar with the letter strings for a group of sounds, create flashcards for the letters. Distribute them to pupils who should stand at the front of the class with the letters on the card facing outwards. Then randomly call out a sound and if a pupil holds a card with the corresponding letter(s) they should raise it in the air immediately. Anyone failing to raise the card on hearing the sound or raises the incorrect card is ‘fired’ and another pupil is ‘hired’. The aim is not to be fired for the duration of the game. A set of small versions of these flashcards can be made for groups of pupils so that they can compete to ‘splat’ the correct card first on hearing a sound.

5. Listen and show

Try to give a phonic focus to most teaching and learning activities. For example, when practising recognition of new vocabulary, say a sound (with an accompanying action, if the support is needed) found within one or more of the words and the pupils must try to be the first to show an image card for that item of vocabulary which has the sound within it.

6. Trapdoor

Display some letter strings on the board. Divide the class into two groups. Whilst group 1 has their eyes closed, one pupil from group 2 indicates a chosen letter string. The pupils in group 1 open their eyes and take it in turns to select and name the sound of a letter string. For every sound which is not the one chosen by group 2 they win a point. Once the chosen sound is selected, that group’s turn is over and ‘they fall through the trapdoor’. The points are totalled at the end of a determined number of turns and the group with the most points is the winner. Depending on the confidence of the learners, mispronunciation of a sound can also be penalized by ‘falling through the trapdoor’.

7. Phonic hangman

If playing this traditional game to practise and recall the spelling of words, try using a short line for a single letter sound and a long line for a sound of two or more letters. If playing in French, use a dotted line to indicate a silent letter.

8. Phonic bingo

Bingo continues to have an appeal to learners of any age. Ask your pupils to select and note down several letter strings, from a list, for the sounds with which they are familiar. When they have heard all the sounds for their selection called out by you, it is time to say Bingo!

9. Phonic Happy Families

Create sets of small cards on which are the letter strings for each phoneme of a word e.g. r – ou – ge. The cards are dealt so each person has the same, or roughly the same, number of cards. The aim of the game is to create a word by acquiring all the phonemes needed. Each player takes it in turns to ask an individual if they have a particular grapheme by asking for it by its sound. If a person has a grapheme which corresponds to the sound, it is handed over, if not, their turn is over. This continues until all the words have been reassembled and the player with the largest number of completed words is the winner.

10. Find your group

If I have taken time to create a resource, I always try to reuse it for a different activity to maximise its use. So, with the same set of cards as described in activity 9, distribute one to each pupil. The pupils move around the room and ask whoever they meet which sound they have on their card. If the sounds on both their cards can be put together to form part, or even all, of one of the items of vocabulary, they join forces. Then, if necessary, move together to find other pupils with the correct sounds to complete their word. As different letter strings can make the same sound, they will need to check which grapheme is on each other’s card.


  • Sounds can be ephemeral and difficult to keep in the long-term memory. So, try allocating an action and an image for each sound. This makes it easier to recall and recognize. Ask your pupils to say what the sound makes them think of and by consensus agree on an action.
  • Don’t forget to explain the physical process and position of the mouth when making a sound.
  • Select vocabulary for a scheme of work so that in the first year all the key sounds are systematically encountered and in subsequent years choose vocabulary to introduce alternative letter strings for the sounds.
  • Present and practise the letter strings for each new sound. Then, rather than you provide the written form of a new word, allow your pupils first to predict the spelling.
  • As your pupils become familiar with the sound and letter correspondences, give them plenty of opportunity to pronounce words without your support. This will give them confidence in the future to pronounce unfamiliar words with a high degree of accuracy.
  • For French, introduce the concept of silent letters and liaison early on to prepare them for the possible sound changes of words in sentences.

Sue Cave

Sue Cave is an independent primary languages consultant for Cave Languages. She has taught French in the primary, secondary and adult education sectors as well as TESOL. She is the co-author of ‘Physical French Phonics’ published by Brilliant Publications.

How to set up a Primary Hub
Drama in a Primary Languages setting

In 2016, I took part in the Pilot project for the Multilingual Performance Project (MPP) ; following a workshop for teachers focusing on drama games I tried the ideas with my primary school classes and ran an after-school drama/MFL club. Children responded well to the approach and I enjoyed using the activities to improve my teaching. In March 2018, I attended the MPP launch led by Daniel Tyler McTighe (the director of the project) at the Birmingham Rep and took away more ideas and the confidence to try them out.‎

When an opportunity arose in school to produce a play to be shown to parents at The North Wall theatre towards the end of May I foolishly said that I might like to do something I … so now had to come up with a plan! Here’s how we went from idea to production …

Remembering Daniel’s offer of assistance I emailed him for advice. Basically I had no idea where to start! I had previously led only a handful of performances in assemblies and wondered whether to adapt one of those into a longer piece.

After discussing performing rights with Daniel, I came to the conclusion that an ‘off the peg’ play would be easiest to work with. A quick search led me to one with songs and a little use of several languages included. It was called “The Great Globetrotting Game” (Easy Peasy Plays) and with its message about global unity it seemed to fit my needs perfectly. I also had support from a colleague who agreed to work with me and who had some experience of producing plays at university. Both of us were relative novices but keen to give it a go.

So, by the end of March, I had found a play and a co-producer, but had no idea of who would be our performers as yet! In fact, this would not be decided until late April once children signed up for the different activities on offer. No chance of auditions or rehearsals for some time yet.

‎In April, we set a date for Daniel to visit us during rehearsals. He advised me on many aspects of production that I hadn’t even considered, including more games, stage geography and how to run sessions. Daniel offered to liaise with the theatre to design our stage projections on something called QLab and to help us with costumes from The REP a,nd from his own store. Needless to say I now felt much more confident that I might actually produce something worth watching!

Children who had signed up for the play were given a script and auditions took place. Most of the roles were easy to allocate – children just seemed to fit the characters in the play. We arranged for song rehearsals to take place during one lunchtime per week – not ideal but the songs were catchy and available on the website in karaoke form.

In mid-May, Daniel paid another visit to school with a suitcase full of super costumes and props, a Powerpoint showing the background projections he had prepared, and more top tips.

Soon afterwards, rehearsals could finally begin! We had our group of performers who had (mostly) learnt their lines as requested and could sing along to the songs. We followed advice from Daniel on how to energise or calm things down with games and activities. Unfortunately, we soon realised what a lot of work still needed to be done and how quickly time goes when you’re having fun …

Rehearsals went pretty well – children enjoyed all the games alongside practising their parts and we discovered hidden talents amongst our group. We were able to make use of the linguistic talents of our pupils and learning a few phrases in Japanese, French and Spanish was not a problem for them. Having a pupil who knew how to perform the Sand Dance (a graceful one, not the comedy version) was really special!  At the same time panic started to set in when we realised how many props and costumes we still needed to make: Japanese cherry blossom, Egyptian robes and collars, yeti outfits to name but a few.

On the day before the performance, Daniel arrived to watch rehearsals. He was very impressed with what he saw but gave children advice on making everything bigger for a theatre audience. He taught the children a “theatre bow” to take applause from the audience. Children were able to ask Daniel for advice on voice projection and calming their nerves – useful for us teachers too!

The Big Day finally arrived. Not everything was finished and perfect but we all felt excited. We had a final full dress rehearsal with projections and lighting, and we played a few games and activities to calm the nerves just before the afternoon audience arrived …

The afternoon performance went almost to plan (one song went a bit awry and children rushed their lines a little) but the audience were very kind and applauded them heartily as they took their bows.

The evening performance was as good as we could have wished – nerves had gone and the children remembered advice from Daniel about using their bodies as well as their voices. It was super for them to hear the audience laugh, clap and sing along at the appropriate times. As children were reunited with their parents it was clear from their comments that they were very impressed by the performance. Colleagues who had attended the show were equally enthusiastic – some had tears in their eyes during one particular solo song and the finale about saying “Hello” around the world.

The post-show reunion with the cast was delayed because of half-term holidays but eventually we were able to award certificates and get some feedback from the children. Their comments were overwhelmingly positive:

“I loved it all … thank you for boosting my confidence because I was very scared.”

“I really liked the atmosphere.” 

 “I learnt … that you have to really live the character to be convincing.”

“The warm-up games were fun … everything was fun!”

“I enjoyed going behind the scenes at the North Wall and Dr Dan visiting us.”

“I really liked that we got loads of help.”


All of the comments were feelings shared by my co-producer and me with perhaps the most accurate being “It was sooo fun!” “I learnt that it’s good to do what you are not good at.” “It was an amazing experience for all of us!”

Thank you very much Daniel and the MPP Project!

Ann Poole is a Primary languages teacher in Oxfordshire.


More on MPP here :

Working for successful Transition

Working for successful Transition

At ACAPULCO 2020 the question was put about success stories in the area of Transition of pupils from Primary to Secondary schools. The response can be summarised as ‘Well, we are trying …’ and there were stories of Primary colleagues sending documents with pupils or direct to schools celebrating their successes in Primary.

There is current support for addressing this ever-thorny issue once again coming from ASCL - the Secondary Heads Association – who have produced Transitions Toolkits for Primary teachers to use to encapsulate the main things they  have covered, in order to  provide an actionable checklist for Secondary colleagues.

These are editable and can be downloaded here:

 ALL of course has been advocating the importance of conversations between Primary and Secondary teachers for a long time 

and created training resources and a very substantial Transition Toolkit (as part of ALL Connect ) back in the 2010s. These are still available from :

There are also training materials on Transition and on Progression in the same blog, and an article here :



One of the main objectives of creating a positive transition experience for pupils is, of course, their Progression – maintaining, or enhancing their motivation - and building on what they already know, rather than going back to square one.  There are many challenges in this across the curriculum , and for languages not the least is that there may be a change of language between the sectors ; for this reason it is important that  pupils themselves know what they  are particularly good at  - what teachers call ‘the transferable skills’ that should help them make a great start in key stage 3 even if they  do have a change of language .

ALL members will remember the Erasmus+ funded project THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN

which is now available online across the continent. This game gives positive feedback to pupils who play it on their efforts to defeat the wicked Magician through their Language magic, and separate feedback to the teacher on how they performed in the language skills included in the game (Listening, Reading, Writing, mixed skills, coping with unpredictability, phonics and sentence-building. 

This sort of evidence is valuable in giving the pupils’ themselves some sort of confidence in saying what they are good at, as the challenges are based on comparable levels across Europe and linked to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference). So, even the TLM certificate could be a demonstration to a Secondary teacher of the pupil’s language skills (and Secondary teachers are also using TLM for baseline assessment of these skills.)   



After the ACAPULCO event ALL asked Jane Halsall of Liverpool School Improvement Service  how transition is handled in a large city, in which SIL has long-standing service level  agreements with a  large number of schools.

Jane says : Transition is still a thorny one; the difficulty in Liverpool is that each secondary school can have up to 30 primary feeders, who have studied different languages with varying quality of provision. (Our service provides to about 75 out of 120 Primary schools, others generally do it themselves - a few have other, private providers). We have done various things over the years such as cross-phase projects, Language Leaders programme (1) , transition lessons delivered by out team to year 7s etc. Some, particularly the Language Leaders scheme had benefit, but funding cuts have made this, and other activities impossible now, sadly.  


However, there are some advancements and improvements we have made:

  • We have developed schemes of work (SOW) that are much more detailed and have week by week planning to ensure that schools who buy our service are all getting as near as possible the same diet, whether it's French or Spanish. If followed properly the SOW give pupils the opportunity to achieve their Age-Related Expectations (ARE) in all skill areas. We share these schemes with our secondary schools and this more uniform approach enables secondary schools to have a good idea of what pupils have covered. We have developed assessment documents and reading / writing booklets to match the schemes and which enable primaries to send good information about pupils’ achievement to their secondary school. 
  • Schools who don't have a Service Level Agreement with us, ie. they don't have one of our team delivering the lessons, can access some of the above for free, (overview of the scheme, assessment documents and other supporting materials) and can purchase the schemes of work and writing booklets very cheaply. Basically we have done what we can to make sure the curriculum is as uniform as possible across the city.
  • The secondary schools have now become part of our remit so we have termly meetings with secondary colleagues meaning we can share common approaches and consult with them on our schemes etc.

We do intend to try to get a joint Primary / Secondary meeting going at some point;  it might actually be easier now everyone uses Zoom as it's less time consuming than coming to our centre.

  • We worked with secondary colleagues to produce a bridging unit, a 6-8 week piece of work for year 6, on the theme of food and drink - and pupils fill out a booklet which has age-related activities. Initially we developed this with one secondary school, whose teachers school visited their main feeders to outline the project, give out the booklets etc., then our FLAs delivered the teaching,  and later the secondary teachers came back to re-establish the contact, collect the booklets etc.

In reality though, secondary colleagues have not had time to do that since; the bridging unit exists though as part of our schemes and Primaries and Secondaries can forge those links themselves if they want to. It's free for all schools and we encourage them to use it. Our secondary partners have approved the booklet and say the information it provides is useful.


When we used to get funding we could do lovely projects for the Secondary schools for free, and they absolutely loved the Language Leaders - one of the best things we ever did for them. We used to go in and train a group of year 9 students to become mini-teachers, then set up teaching sessions for them with their feeder primaries. It was confidence-building for the year 9s and I'd like to think we may have inspired a few future MFL teachers. Sadly that funding ended, and schools now have to pay for it, so they don't do it. 



(1) The Language Leader project was based on the Routes East Language Ambassadors programme, still available as advertised here:  

My experience of a Deep Dive in Primary

We are grateful to Marie Allan of Portsmouth Primary Hub, who shares her experience of an inspection in this article

My experience of an MFL Deep Dive in Primary


Forthcoming Events

Spanish language course for teachers

Spanish language course for teachers

Spanish course for teachers: blended learning programme

Self-study at home + 1 week Spanish language course in Palencia, Spain (April 2022)

'a grant to cover most of the costs will be offered'

Please click here for more information.


Poésíæ is an international competition for language learners from 7 to 14. Its creator, Jérȏme Nogues, writes:

After an exciting year, covering 3 languages, 40 schools dotted all over the world, 5 amazing adjudicators, days of recordings and tons of talented performers, Poésíæ, the Global Language Recitation competition for the 7 to 14 years old, is back in 2022, starting in January.

It has expanded its language palette with the addition of Italian, English as a Foreign Language and the mighty Welsh to last year’s list if French, German and Spanish. The rules are a bit more flexible as the poems picked are not imposed, leaving more freedom to teachers who will be enthusing the pupils in their schools.

Running alongside this competition, this year I have added Poésíaert, an art competition. It is an opportunity to use Languages for a cross-curricular activity but also for the less speaking-confident, or for multi-talented, pupils to find a different medium to express their understanding of the poem(s) chosen. The take-up after just a few days has been incredible. Fingers crossed for a spectacular 2022 vintage!

A free, global, poetry recital and art competition for pupils from Y3 to Y9 studying French, Spanish, German, Italian, Welsh or English as a foreign language.

Suggested poems are provided:



Here is the programme for the next meeting on Wednesday 2nd March 2022 4.00 – 5.30pm

4.00 - 4.15pm - Meet-and-Greet - chat in breakout rooms

4.15 - 4.30pm - Steven Fawkes – ALL Trustee 

Primary MFL Roadshow

News, updates, questions on primary themes.

2 Presentations – 4.30 – 5.30 pm

A whole school approach – an innovative curriculum using a single story – Susi Sahmland and Claire Hackney
Sharing a successful collaborative approach between Goldsmiths University and a London Primary School centred around planning a curriculum based on a year of school-wide MFL teaching around a single story book.

One rainbow resource – a whole spectrum of ideas! – Joanne Eccleshare
How to use one primary languages resource, in this case a rainbow song, and demonstrate how it can be used creatively across KS2 to cover all the attainment targets. A spectrum of teaching and learning ideas in French and Spanish to implement in your lessons.

To book a place please 

Recent Events

Southern Primary Languages Show 2019

This year saw ALL’s Primary November with the 4th edition of NPLS (Northern Primary Languages Show) and the first ever SPLS organised by Sue Cave on behalf of ALL, supported in the administration by ALLNE and a host of local teachers as presenters!

Here are perspectives from different people attending. Congratulations to all for a great day, and especially to Sue for her commitment.

Exhibitor – Francesca and Paolo Pini – Language Angels:
From the very first email communication with Sue we could tell that the conference would be impeccably organised and worthwhile to attend. Sue had a very clear vision of what she wanted to achieve and she definitely did so with great success.

Leading up to the conference we were kept in the loop about everything that was happening on the actual day and Sue made sure everything ran smoothly – indeed exactly as planned and expected.  it was a delight to see so many exhibitors in the space and so many attendees happily walking around. There was a real buzz on the day and attendance for a Saturday was nothing short of astounding.

We had lots of interest and visits to our stand, so it was an extremely worthwhile conference for us to attend. We were able to demonstrate our product and talk at length about what we offer as the breaks were long enough. More importantly, we found that the attendees who were mostly primary subject leads (specialist and non-specialists) were excited and enthused about primary languages and were buzzing as they came out from the workshops. They were interested to walk around the exhibition hall and see what was on offer. There is a genuine, renewed energy for teaching languages at primary school level and the attendees were talking about the actual teaching of languages and how to incorporate all the ideas they were picking up in the workshops into their lessons once back in class the following week. There was a real sense of “team” on the day.

There was no standing around at this conference! We sincerely hope it is now a permanent fixture on the calendar.

Presenter – Angela Smith – Stafford Leys Primary School:
A chance encounter with Sue Cave at Language World 2018 led to me being invited to present a workshop at the inaugural Southern Primary Languages Show, which was held recently at the Holt School in Wokingham. Having taught Primary French for almost fifteen years, I had plenty of experience of standing in front of a class (30) – or sometimes a whole school (620) – of children, but had never presented to a room full of adults! However, I know how friendly and supportive linguists tend to be, so I decided to open myself up to a whole new experience and present a workshop sharing ideas for using free and low-cost resources to support language learning.

I travelled down with my friend and colleague, Ellie Chettle-Cully, leaving Leicester well before dawn, and arrived in good time to be met by Sue and the aroma of coffee and croissants. As a first-time presenter, I was slightly nervous, my main worries revolving around the timings and the technology. In the event, my fears were unfounded and everything went smoothly due, no doubt, to Sue’s excellent organisational skills. My workshop was well-received and, afterwards, I was able to relax and enjoy the other sessions and the exhibition.

On reflection, I am so pleased that I decided to accept the invitation; I gained a lot from the experience. Presenting to adults was not as daunting as I thought – in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to attend four other sessions – Writing, Games. Speaking and Primary Latin – all of which were very stimulating. I left with a plethora of ideas to try out, some of which I am sure I will be able to use both to improve my own practice and to pass on to colleagues at our next ALL Leicester Primary Hub meeting in December.

Delegate – Emily Marshall – Sandy Lane Primary, Bracknell:

When I first heard that the wonderful Sue Cave was planning to organise a Languages Show in the South of England, I was delighted! I’d always been keen to get to the shows further North but childcare has always been tricky for me. Then when I heard that it was to be in my home town of Wokingham and that I could literally walk to the event, to say I was overjoyed would be an understatement!

From the moment I stepped through the door, it was clear that the day was going to be a hit; a warm welcome, a goodie bag, tea and coffee flowing and an array of exhibitors to chat to about resources, as well as picking up some freebies! There was such an interesting choice of talks on offer, it was actually very difficult to choose which one to attend for each of the five sessions. As a Germanist it was a real treat to be able to attend some German based sessions on authentic resources and listening skills. The transition between the sessions was very smooth and punctual. All the talks I attended were thoroughly enjoyable, informative and very well planned. Lots of fantastic new ideas to take away with me.

I left the show feeling thoroughly inspired, grateful for the opportunity to network and mix with like-minded individuals, new contact numbers in my phone and my bags full of discounted purchases from the fantastic exhibitors. A huge thank you to Sue Cave for such a well organised event and I’ll keep everything crossed in the hope that there will be another one next year!

Readers can keep up-to-date with plans for a future event by watching their weekly ALLNet message for notifications (ALLNet is an ALL member benefit).  Sue Cave can be contacted at

Presentations Online

International Durham hosted its Primary languages event 2020 online on July 1, 2020 You can access presentations here :

From Language Angels on progression 

Nathalie Paris on Puppets and story

Martina Schwartz on Songs

Learning from the MOOC

Safe Language Partying Through The Pandemic !

Helena Edwards


So how do you cheer yourself up on a grey and miserable Lockdown October weekend in Liverpool.......?

Surely there could not be no better activity than  to join what felt like a National Zoom Languages Party Online! This is exactly what happened this October weekend, thanks to Steven  Fawkes and Sue Cave. Together Steven and Sue organised ALL's  Primary Language Conference Online, incredibly enough - and what an event  it was!

From the comfort of their own homes, Language Teachers up and down the country all logged in to be entertained, enthralled  and bewitched by some of our country's finest from the Language Teaching world.

The pandemic is bringing a lot of things to a halt right now but for teachers and schools the show really must go on and everybody who signed up to ALL's Primary Languages Event definitely had any Covid fatigue quickly swept away!

Whether you wanted to find out if your teaching is hitting the right buttons with regards to Ofsted , or your lessons are including the right kind of fun phonic guidance or is your magical story telling keeping the children adequately engaged, it was all there at the touch of a button! There was culture … and songs and poems galore. Not to mention crucial grammar and vocabulary building techniques. The online event  was jam-packed with useful tips and hints to see us all through these difficult Covid times.

There were even cleverly allocated Break-out Rooms which made the event feel like you were having a real cuppa, biscuit and a chinwag with like-minded enthusiastic Language Teachers.

When it was time to log out, the only question on everybody's LIPS (see what I did there 😉 was .....'When is the next one please  ALL?!'


Some other feedback on ALL's first Primary Language Conference Online (ACAPULCO for short) 17/10/2020

Many, many thanks for the fabulous day today- it was very informative and enjoyable

It really was a wonderful event, made all the more positive by the enthusiasm of delegates.

There really seemed to be a great buzz - even remotely. A great day!

Today was amazing - a really positive ALL family experience.

Great day, A* for the organisation and hosting.  Really upbeat, positive event.

'You can read more here about what ALL members new and old loved about this Zoom conference.

Chat from ACAPULCO 2020

The Chatroom at ACAPULCO was buzzing with Primary Language teachers exchanging ideas and references. This edited version  captures the flavour. 

PHOrum - 25th November


Here is the programme for the next meeting on Thursday 25th November 2021 4.00 – 5.30pm

4.00 - 4.15pm - Meet-and-Greet - chat in breakout rooms


4.15 - 4.30pm - Steven Fawkes – ALL Trustee

Primary MFL Roadshow

News, updates, questions on primary themes.


Show and Tell – 4 Presentations – 4.30 – 5.30 pm

Raising the profile of languages – Alana Seaman
Sharing ideas to create a buzz around MFL and motivating staff and pupils to use foreign languages outside of the classroom.

Beyond the lesson: blended learning with recorded mini-videos – Carmen Aguilar
How to use blended learning as a way to increase the students’ exposure to the language by producing short videos (Tapa de la semana) to be viewed between Spanish lessons.

From wellies to worms! – Janet Clarke
Sharing some French lesson ideas as well as French language resources from Canada that have been successfully used in our school grounds.

The wonders of Wordwall – Nieves Sadullah
Sharing ideas for using an online game app for development of knowledge and skills in phonics, vocabulary and grammar.

To book a place please click here.


 - ACAPULCO 2021

The theme of ACAPULCO 2021 is ‘An ambitious primary languages curriculum’ and the keynote speaker is Clare Seccombe.

The exciting programme of talks include:

An Ambitious Primary Languages Curriculum - Clare Seccombe

Subject Coordination for Success - Kate Percival

Bringing Order to Chaos - Vicky Cooke

Not another worksheet, Miss! - Lisa Stevens

An ambitious primary languages curriculum for all - Ellie Chettle Cully

Making assessment in languages ambitious and achievable - Marie Allen

To view the detailed programme and to book a place please
click here.

PHOrum Meetings

PHOrum Meetings


A link to recordings of presentations at recent PHOrum meetings will be available soon. To access these recordings, follow the 'view here' link in 'Video Resources' above.


What we offer ALL members

Language Zones

Five collections of articles in English or the target language on culture, resources and practice in the classroom

Languages Today

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

Language Learning Journal

ALL’s flagship research journal providing a forum for scholarly contributions on current aspects of foreign language and teaching

Learning from the Classroom

The ALL initiative to connect and share research and practice by teachers for the benefit of members

Primary Hubs

Local groups across the country offering training and support

Email fora

Anyone who is teaching languages in the primary sector can also join Primary Languages, ALL’s email discussion group


Weekly news and updates with our e-newsletter, ALLNet


Discover challenges and competitions for your learners

Pin It on Pinterest