Advice and guidance for primary practitioners introducing and developing primary languages

ALL offers advice, information, guidance and peer-to-peer support, alongside access to CPD events through its professional networks around the country

Primary Languages Autumn Supplement 2019

This special supplement is intended for Language Coordinators and Headteachers in Primary Schools. The arrival of the new OFSTED Framework may well be an impetus for you to be looking to make plans for Languages and here we gather together free support and advice available to Primary schools from ALL and from our partners to help you build up your Languages offer.

As well as the information and advice offered here by the ALL Primary Steering Group, ALL offers information, guidance, peer-to-peer support and CPD events to primary and secondary language teachers through its networks around the country.  Your school may wish to set up or be part of an ALL Primary Hub, a support group run by teachers for teachers, operating in local areas. Alternatively you can find out if there is a Primary Hub near to your school.  Attendance is open to all ALL members.

Statutory Guidance

For statutory guidance, please explore the Programmes of Study for KS2.


OFSTED comments May 2021

In May 2021 OFSTED published a blog entitled 'here: Languages in outstanding primary schools' . Here Sue Cave shares her digest of the main points she identifies (positive findings followed by areas for improvement)  grouped under the headings  : Curriculum planning, Inclusion, Leadership, Phonics, Language skills, Assessment and recording learning, Delivery and CPD, Cultural links and Profile of Languages.

OFSTED comments on primary languages - outstanding schools 2020

Research in Primary Languages

The RIPL website is a central UK resource on Research in Primary Languages

The OASIS database features one-page descriptions of research articles on language learning, language teaching, and multilingualism

Carrying out a languages audit

Use the languages audit tool (available to download here in Word format: Primary Languages Audit Form and in pdf format: Primary Languages Audit Form) to find out which languages are spoken amongst your staff and how confident they are.

Use the results to inform your action plan. Once you have decided on the language to teach in your school, look at the resources on this website to help you begin. There may be providers in your local area (for example ALL Primary Hubs, teaching school  alliances, your local authority) who can help you with training and development to plan your first lessons in languages.


ALL has produced a useful free publication called the KS2 Co-ordinator's Handbook. This is an accessible read for head teachers and can be found here.

For ideas, strategies and resources for the smooth transition between KS2 and KS3, read the free Transition Toolkit.  For more fantastic resources including themed modules for self-directed learning for KS2 teachers of languages, please visit the ALL Connect blog.

 ASCL Transition Toolkit

ASCL together with members of ALL’s Primary Steering Group have developed a KS2/KS3 transition toolkit which aims to create a successful bridge between language learning in primary and secondary settings.

The aim of the ASCL toolkit is to provide an informed base for secondary MFL teachers to build upon, so that teachers can allow pupils to demonstrate what they already know and how well they have explored and retained this knowledge.

The toolkit provides a minimum body of conceptual knowledge (grammar, vocabulary and phonology) and cultural knowledge that has been explored, retained and actively used by Year 6 pupils (‘what’s left in the sieve’)  at the end of four years of language learning at KS2. The ‘drag and drop’ feature of the toolkit allows primary language colleagues to select the grammar, vocabulary, phonology and cultural knowledge that their pupils have explored at the end of KS2. They then drag this across to populate the blank boxes according to their pupils’ learning (and add to this if they wish).

ASCL’s flexible Transition Toolkit aims to provide genuine continuity of learning between primary and secondary. It acknowledges the variability of pupil progress, and time allocation for language learning and suits transition scenarios involving small or large groups of primary schools feeding into one or more secondary schools. The idea is to produce a nationally recognised tool which can act as a baseline, whatever the setting, from which Secondary teachers can plan, and avoid a downturn in motivation.

The content of the toolkit (available in French, German, Spanish and now Chinese) is informed by and complements most commercial resources and packages aimed at supporting the teaching of KS2 languages and the appendix includes an overview of commercial and free resources for KS2 languages.

ALL congratulates volunteers from ALL and elsewhere in the Chinese teaching community who have created a Transition Toolkit to sit alongside other languages. 


The Expert Subject Advisory Group (ESAG) for Modern Foreign Languages has created an advice document on Assessment in Modern Foreign Languages in primary schools.

ALL’s Primary Steering Group has now put together a discussion guide ‘Assessment for ALL‘ to allow individuals or groups of teachers to explore the issues raised.

Language Progression and Assessment at Key Stage 2.  Created by the Ensemble project, shared by Therese Comfort and edited by the ALL Primary Steering Group.

Teacher Briefings - Have you read?

The Teacher Briefings collection explores current language learning and teaching topics. Available to members, each briefing provides evidence, good practice and resources to support teachers and schools improve their knowledge, policy and practice in the specific area.  Recent briefings in

  • What Primary Language Coordinators need to know (13, 14, 15 and 16)
  • Re-evaluating the Primary Scheme of Work (22)
  • Cultural Capital - the contribution of Language learning (23)

For a taster, explore the Teacher Briefing on Transition.

Roadshows and webinars

'Roadshows'  are part of our support for local ALL groups - they are presentations to update local groups on news from ALL, events and projects of interest, along with sector news and resources of interest. ALL Members can access these presentations, and ALL Local Group leaders  can share them with their local groups . Since Summer 2019, we also offer a termly Q&A  Roadshow webinar. Details are available from

Languages Today Primary Blogs

Primary language teacher and consultant Clare Seccombe writes the Primary Blog in the Languages Today magazine which is a member benefit of ALL.  Explore some of Clare's blogs (updated in 2020) in her book in the Shop.

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