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Progression in the Primary Languages ClassroomTuesday 7th November 2023

ALL Leicester Primary Hub

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French Day of Workshops Saturday 25th November 202310.00am - 2.30pmA a day of workshops for primary and secondary teachers at the Institut Français in London. It is free to attend.

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The Language Show Friday 10th - Sunday 12th November 2023A ticket costing £11 will give you access to 80+ presentations (some on primary themes).

PHOrum meetingThursday 30th November 2023 4.15-5.30pmThis is for ALL members only. There will be 3 presentations: Noelia Rivas – Games and Stories in EYFSEmily Marshall – International Arts WeekLiz Lord – Engaging and Motivating Upper KS2 language learners.

Upcoming CPD

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Decoloising the Primary Curriculum Special Interest GroupThursday 9th November 2023 4.30-5.30pmSpeaker Paula Ambrossi, teacher, lecturer in Teacher Education at UCL, and researcher, will share her take on ‘decolonising the foreign language curriculum’. She will share ideas and activities on how to decolonise our Primary MFL curriculum. She will also share her latest article: The Languages we speak and the empires we embrace: addressing decolonization through the gaze of the empire.

Upcoming CPD

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School Links with Spain The Spanish Embassy Education Office is offering help and support to set up links with schools in Spain

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Click to register for Spelling Bee

French Pop Video Competition The French Pop Video Competition is a national competition organised by Francophonie UK supported by TV5Monde for all KS1 to KS5 students of French in the UK. Children write their own song and create an accompanying video. Register by 10th March 2024.

Spelling BeeRunning from 26th September 2023 - 26th July 2024The 2023-24 Spelling Bee competition is now live. The Primary Bee is for students in Years 5 & 6 who have started learning a foreign language ab initio in KS2 to practise and improve their vocabulary, pronunciation and memory skills in the target language (French, Spanishand German). The cost is £25 per state school and £50 for non-state schools.

Events of Interest

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  • To explore what we mean the three strands of primary languages teaching: phonics, vocabulary and grammar.
  • To consider how to ensure progression in these three areas.
  • To explore ways we might track progession over time.
  • To evaluate progression within our own Long and Medium-Term planning and generate next steps.

Aims of today's session:

All other skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing are all built on these.




Building-blocks of primary language learning

Taken from: www.rachelhawkes.com

Interwoven throughout a scheme to ensure progression for pupils.

The three strands of primary language learning

  • The teaching of sounds (phonemes) and their written representations (graphemes) in the target language.
  • Why should we be teaching phonics to children in the target language?
  • What challenges might we face when doing so?


phonics resources

segementing and blending

the end result

  • The words which we think will be useful for children to learn in order to be able to communicate effectively in the target language.
  • How do we select the vocabulary that we want to teach our pupils / how might our scheme select it?


  • Vocabulary learning should not just be lists of nouns.
  • Rachel Hawkes suggests a lexicon of around 500 words over the four years of KS2 (3-4 words each week or 12ish over a period of a few weeks).
  • It should include lexical chunks (buenos días / je n'aime pas).
  • Should be informed by the frequency with which is appears in the target language (but not driven only by this).
  • Should also be informed by things that the children might want to communicate.

Try to keep in mind...

Taken from: Frequency Dictionary of French: Core Vocabulary for Learners. Routledge.

frequency of words

Any issues?

National Curriculum:
  • understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.


There is still an enourmous amount here and we may still find it hard to cover everything.

Taken from: Changing Phase Blogspot. https://changing-phase.blogspot.com/2018/04/grammar-in-key-stage-2.html

Possible grammar Coverage (french):

There is still an enourmous amount here and we may still find it hard to cover everything.

Possible grammar Coverage (spanish):

Taken from: Changing Phase Blogspot. https://changing-phase.blogspot.com/2018/04/grammar-in-key-stage-2.html

demonstrating progression over time

demonstrating progression over time

demonstrating progression over time

  • How is phonics woven into your scheme?
  • Do children have opportunites to build their phonics knowledge over time?
  • How do you know pupils are making progress?

phonics focus

  • Does each unit contain a manageable amount of vocabulary (12 or so words over a unit)?
  • Are a variety of word classes included?
  • Do children have the chance to revist vocabulary and reunse it in different ways?

vocabulary focus

  • What grammatical concepts are included in your scheme?
  • Do they build over time?
  • Are there opportunities for revisiting?

grammar focus


Monitoring progrssion