Language Futures is an exciting initiative for creative primary and secondary schools interested in developing languages beyond the classroom. It works in tandem with the languages provision already in place in school, and is not designed to ‘teach’ a language, but to equip students with the skills to develop as independent learners supported by school, home and a language proficient mentor from the community.

It can help schools to:

  • broaden language provision
  • improve language provision through transferable skills
  • promote linguistic diversity
  • create autonomous and informed language learners
  • increase motivation and engagement
  • provide opportunities for More Able, Gifted and Talented pupils
  • celebrate pupils' home languages
  • develop links with the wider community
  • increase creativity and cross-curricular links through project-based learning
  • explore opportunities for curriculum innovation
  • maximise the time devoted to primary languages.

Motivation and engagement are key to the approach with learners not only choosing the language they wish to learn, but also exercising choice in elements of what and how to learn. The class teacher acts as a facilitator of language learning rather than a teacher of a specific language by creating the conditions for students to manage their own learning processes and supporting them to learn collaboratively with their peers.

Please see the Background page for information on how this highly innovative approach has been developed over the last number of years.  Explore the Approach page for information on the core features of the Language Futures approach.

The Getting Started page offers advice on how the approach can be established in your school, including planning and preparing for its introduction and how to identify students who might benefit from exploring the approach.

Broadening language provision to create independent and engaged language learners


The Language Futures approach puts young people in control to create a deep sense of engagement in their learning.

It helps students to feel motivated and to see the relevance of their language learning by tapping into their own personal interests and lives outside of school.

Watch the Language Futures video to learn more about students' and teachers' experience of the approach.

Language Futures News

Is this the future of language learning?

"As we learn to adapt to a shifting international landscape, a new approach to developing our young people as competent linguists could prove crucial." Following the DfE’s English Baccalaureate (EBacc) consultation, the government’s revised target is for 90% of pupils...

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How can you foster a pupil’s independent learning skills?

Words: Clodagh Cooney, ALL Council Member, Language Futures Project Manager, Nottingham Primary Hub What is independence in language learning and how can it be encouraged? In Languages Today issue 22 on Learner Independence, Terry Lamb (Professor of Languages and...

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Language Futures – The Primary approach

Words: Victoria Mitchell, ALL Before October half term, I had the opportunity to deliver training for the Language Futures initiative as part of a school’s INSET day. Sir Edmund Hillary Primary School in Worksop, Nottinghamshire were keen to get underway with the...

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Explore how this highly innovative approach has been developed over the last number of years as well as future plans.

Getting Started

Explore how the approach can be established in your school, including planning and preparing for its introduction.


Explore project ideas and classroom materials as well as practical guidance on everything from recruiting language mentors to launching the approach with students.


Consider information that will help colleagues, senior leaders, governors or parents to understand the benefits of the Language Futures approach.

small_phfLanguage Futures was originally developed by Linton Village College as part of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Initiative.

In September 2015 the Language Futures initiative was transferred to the Association for Language Learning, with legacy grant funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation until March 2018.

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