Select Page

Click here to check out the Primary Languages Conference programme.

What a great day we had on 6th November at the Primary Languages Conference! It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday, honest!

You will find below a summary of my main takeaways. I hope they help you too!

Keynote: an ambitious primary languages conference curriculum. My takeaways from Clare Seccombe from Lightbulb Languages and Ideas Education Ltd :

  • a reminder that learning a new language strengthens the knowledge of a child’s mother tongue; click here for a great article about this by Lisa Stevens
  • the need for quality schemes and resources
  • the need for proper time allocation
  • the need for a change in some attitudes: of some primary and secondary staff, attitude towards language learning in general
  • the need for support, not just from ALL and other organisations currently working hard
  • a national assessment grid?
  • a focus on transition, which has been an issue for 20 years


Making assessment ambitious and achievable by Marie Allen

She asked herself: should we be assessing learners? Assessment helps improve, we need to know what they know to ajust our teaching; used expert subject advisory group MFL January 2015

  • What might summative assessment look like? Looked at Sue Cave’s KS2 progressive attaintment targets, Rachel Hawkes’s 10 steps framework, the language ladder
  • Adapted those and came up with: for each skill, 4 steps, I can statements, Email for templates of those
  • Assessments need to look familiar, not scary, like what they have done before, and to look the same throughout Y3-Y6
  • Recorded for the children to access, the staff and for transition purposes; once per term; focussing on what the children can do, a positive experience

Other useful links:

Marie’s article on deep dive in guest blogs includes broken down skills





My takeaways on “Subject Coordination for Success” with Katie Percival:

  • there is so much in a rhyme like “chocolat chaud”!
  • confident subject knowledge – it does not mean necessarily being confident in the language (staff can learn with the children too, it means knowledge of the programme of study, the 4 different skills)
  • having key documentation in a file, possibly using the ALL Coordinator’s Handbook (click here to access it)
  • supporting colleagues
  • ensuring we get our own CPD, through the PLN, ALL (Phorum)
  • planning (medium and long term)
  • overseeing tracking and assessment
  • preparing for inspection / deep dive

Extra documents: knowledge organisers, school policies, report statement, transition material, an action plan (with specific targets)

Teaching and learning: consistency of teaching, pedagogy (how to teach langauges, including the willingness for everyone to take risks), metacognition, pillars of progression (vocabulary, grammar and phonics with cultural understanding), assessment (AfL and summative), cross curricular opportunities, book work/evidence of work (click here for Clare Seccombe’s blog about writing and what ), pupil voice

Celebration languages in school: assemblies, certificates of acchievement, language ambassadors, home languages, display (example of children’s work important), accreditation, special days

School wide ethos and vision: staff engagement, whole staff CPD, SLT vision

Community reach: website, partner schools, parents, governors, transition

Other useful link:



My takeaways on “Bringing order to chaos” by Vicky Cooke:

Not another worksheet, Miss! With Lisa Stevens

My takeaways from Lisa to encourage our learners to be ambitious:

  • spotting patterns: cognates, identifying gender, discuss English French, false friends, reinforcing English vocabulary, do children know words that are borrowed, making connection
  • introducing vocabulary has to be repetitive: squishy ball, recalling vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson, something nobody remembers, words shapes, quiz quiz trade (cards with picture on one side, question and answer on the other card, learn, swap cards, keep walking around the room)
  • put on your French glasses/hat on, French listening ears
  • revision and recall: last lesson/last month/last topic/last year ideas from Lightbulb languages ; using diagrams, sorting by gender, phoneme, using a hoop so also physical
  • numbers: using books, rhymes, songs, count by miss a number on the way, children to spot, counting down to Christmas, football scores, playing with Elmer
  • phonics: 21 fun songs to teach French phonics , physical French phonics ; fill in the missing letter or sound; sort by sound; all the words you can think of that has a … in it (letter or sound); papepipopu ; Madame Birtwistle’s and Marie-Odile Guillou’s resources
  • poetry and songs; remembering to ask questions; tongue twisters
  • grammar: capitalise (sentence all in lower case, have to capitalise), words groups, word order, string it (put sentence on a washing line)
  • comparing other languages, dictionary of words of foreign origin where is it?
  • word mat, language organisers, scaffolds, trap door, challenge of having a unique sentence using a mat (last one standing) for independence DO
  • writing: air spelling, slow fade, secret sentence; consider space to write (post it notes), size of paper, littel bits then put it all together (LOVE THIS!), sentence stacking in English, mini books
  • prosody: getting children to read with you, rhymes, poetry – see Lisa’s blogs
  • context: take something, use it in multiple ways

My takeaways on Supporting, stretching, challenging with Ellie Chettle Cully

You can read the bulk of her presentation in her blog:​

Getting the basics right so all can access a wide and broad curriculum

How do you know that children remember? Ofsted will ask, so make sure you know!


Finally, please click here to receive my new resources (and more) regularly straight in your mail box!

If you’d like any more information about the Primary Languages Conference please get in touch.

Merci !