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What you need to know

About Ensemble

In the summer of 2014, led by the Leicester Teaching School (LeTS), six teaching schools submitted a successful bid to the Department of Education for funding to help develop languages provision for the new national curriculum, which establishes foreign languages as a compulsory part of the primary curriculum. The project has helped to support teachers with the elements of the new curriculum that may be more challenging. Outcomes have included a wide range of resources and case studies of good practice, which are free to use on this website.

The project focuses on some key areas for improving languages provision:

  • Introducing and developing languages at KS2
  • Language improvement for primary teachers
  • Cross phase pedagogy, including phonology, grammar, assessment and progression
  • Primary-Secondary transfer and transition
  • Primary subject leadership
  • Local solutions to local needs

The project is collaborative and led by teachers in order to produce measurable outcomes which are sustainable and replicable. In essence:

  • Shared understanding of “what good looks like”
  • Confident teachers
  • Confident pupils
  • No “let’s start all over again”
  • Shared resources


  • Language Training and Learning Modules
Language Training and Learning Modules

These ten modules are designed for ‘language expert’ trainers to support primary teacher learners with little or beginner levels of French to improve their subject knowledge. Each module focuses on a single resource or simple idea such as a story, a song etc. The module then provides the primary teacher learners with activities based on the resource or idea that they can use with their children as they become more confident with the language they acquire through the training. Although the modules are provided for French, they can be adapted for other languages as required.

  • Resources in the modules can also be used by teachers directly with their children to develop units of work based on a single song, poem, story etc.
  • Use the module overview to find out the level of language, the context, the vocabulary and the grammar covered in each module.
  • Read the case studies to find out how project teachers have used the modules for a range of purposes and in different contexts
Language Trends 2015/16
Language Trends 2015/16

Published by the British Council and Education Development Trust, Language Trends 2015/16 is the latest in a series of annual reports on language teaching based on online surveys completed by teachers in representative samples of schools from across the country.


Language Trends 2015/16 Report



  • Progression and Assessment KS2 and KS3
Progression and Assessment KS2 and KS3

Key Stage 2 Languages Progression Overview and Assessment Guidance
This framework shows how children can make progress in their language skills, knowledge and understanding. It supports teachers in identifying assessment opportunities to confirm that children are achieving the expectations for their year group. End of year expectations are outlined in order to support reporting to others. You can use the framework for: Curriculum planning; Monitoring and evaluation; Formative assessment and Reporting attainment

Key Stage 2 Grammar Progression Overview
This guidance sits alongside the KS2 Languages Progression Overview and Assessment Guidance and supports progression in grammar. It shows how children can make progress in grammar through their language skills, and begin to develop knowledge and understanding of the grammar of the new language.

Key Stage 2 into Key Stage 3 Progression Overview and Assessment guidance
This builds on the guidance for Key Stage 2 and provides a framework for progression from Key Stage 2 languages into Key Stage 3. It covers the language skills, knowledge and understanding in the National Curriculum programmes of study and shows how to relate them to year group expectations. It can be used with any scheme of work and any language. It supports teachers in developing assessment principles for languages in KS3 now that there are no longer levels and identifies what progression might look like from KS2 to KS3. It also identifies what general language skills year 7 pupils bring to their language learning regardless of the language they have been learning.

Teaching for progression in primary languages
This presentation demonstrates progression in practice, focusing on words, sentence building and phonology with ideas and resources in French and German, but which can be applied to all languages.

Differentiation in primary languages
A presentation to support creating differentiated activities and resources using the KS2 Languages Progression Overview to promote effective teaching and learning in mixed ability groups at KS2.

  • Transition KS2 to KS3
Transition KS2 to KS3

A key focus of the Ensemble language project is transition which has resulted in school led projects related to teaching and learning as well as exploring ways of passing on information and making links through assessment. Three of the teaching schools explored transition in different ways. For more detailed information read the Transition report and the case studies. Resources include a teambuilding activity with key questions for transition – ‘Fleurs et Coeur’, case studies and an information sharing form focusing on whole class progress and curriculum coverage. The case studies show how much primary and secondary teachers can learn from each other through mutual observation

Transition Bridges

  • Administrative bridge – sharing information about pupils, good working relationships between primary and secondary schools, feedback to primary schools of year 7 progress
  • Social and Personal bridge – induction days, open evenings, pupil peer mentoring, pupil and parents guides
  • Curriculum bridge – effective use of pupil data, cross-phase projects, exchange of curriculum maps, joint planning
  • Pedagogical bridge – shared understanding of effective teaching and learning, team teaching, teacher exchanges
  • Management of Learning bridge – pupils are active participants
  • A Languages Treasury
A Languages Treasury

The world of teacher support has changed dramatically in the last few years and continues to change rapidly. There are now few national points of reference for language teachers to turn to and schools are encouraged to provide their own training and resources. There are however many practising teachers, advisers and consultants who happily and generously share their work free of charge on their own websites, in blogs or via Twitter links.

This PowerPoint and slide notes bring together a not exhaustive list of some of the better known and less well known sources of support for language teachers in both primary and secondary schools.

Take this opportunity to find out what is out there and add your own sources of inspiration to create your own treasury.

  • Cross Curricular Links
Cross Curricular Links

Ensemble cross-curricular guidance
Discover an imaginative approach to cross-curricular themes which can lead to a more rewarding educational experience for teachers and learners alike. This guidance supports primary language teachers to create and plan for opportunities to link language learning to other areas of the curriculum, whatever model is used by the school – class teacher model or language expert model. The guidance includes:

  • Questions to support joint planning for class teachers and language teachers
  • Generic ideas for how to make links with language learning across all subjects
  • Cross-curricular activities linked with language learning for each year group in Key Stage 2 (The examples are French, but could be adapted for any language.

Ants in your pants
How to develop a ‘spiral curriculum’ where the language skills become more sophisticated along with the content – the resource considers different ways of introducing and reinforcing language and how Primary Languages can reinforce other curricular areas with links to lots of useful websites.

  • Primary Language Teaching and Learning Resources
Primary Language Teaching and Learning Resources

Primary Language Teacher Toolkit
The Candleby Lane Teaching School languages working group set out to devise a toolkit for primary teachers to use between weekly language lessons. The resources are intended for non-specialists and many include sound files to help with pronunciation. We hope that this will empower teachers to spend time on language learning and consolidation rather than on resourcing appropriate materials for their children. The aim is that children are repeatedly exposed to small amounts of language throughout the week. The toolkit focuses on everyday language such as numbers, seasons, birthdays, weather and colours through a range of resources including games, flashcards and power points with sounds. There is an introduction full of ideas and guidance on how to use the resources.

Food and Drink Interactive
A set of interactive resources in French and German with lesson plans, interactive whiteboard activities, sound files, word cards and picture cards to create short café dialogues and practice vocabulary and structures for food and drink.

Storytelling in French and German
This resource contains a set of digital resources as well as picture and word cards to develop reading and listening skills in French and German. For each language there are two stories – Goldilocks and The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

LeTS French Phonics
These resources enable pupils to develop and practice pronunciation and to make sound-spelling links in French. This will help them read anything they see and help them to predict spellings of words they hear. The words have been chosen carefully to be either cognates that pupils might pronounce wrongly, high frequency words that are often mispronounced, or words that do not necessarily come up in a topic area but are useful. The sounds are introduced progressively so that pupils are not expected to pronounce a word for which they have not yet been taught the sound. It is expected that teachers would introduce one or two sounds a week/lesson and recap the previous sounds at the start of each session. There are detailed lesson plans and lots of resources including songs, rhymes, raps, tongue-twisters and stories. The resource could be used in KS2 and KS3

  • Resources for the Primary Language Co-ordinator
Resources for the Primary Language Co-ordinator

Resources for the KS2 language co-ordinator
The PowerPoint presentation supports the KS2 languages co-ordinator in planning for progression, assessment, evaluating and improving through key questions, considerations, solutions and actions.
The check list provides a quick and easy to use tool to identify key areas relating to policy, classroom practice and planning.

Schemes of work
Based on the original QCDA schemes of work for Key Stage 2 languages, these schemes of work have been redeveloped by subject experts and primary language teachers to support delivery of the Key Stage 2 programme of study for languages. Each unit focuses on an age appropriate context, supports grammatical and phonological progression and contains a wealth of ideas for the language classroom. Even if you have a scheme of work in place, you will find ideas to support and compliment what you do. For French, the schemes of work cover years 3 to 6 and there is a unit overview for each year for an at a glance guide to the coverage in each unit. For German and Spanish, there are units for years 3 and 4.

Language Training and Learning Modules
Language Trends 2015/16
Progression and Assessment KS2 and KS3
Transition KS2 to KS3
A Languages Treasury
Cross Curricular Links
Primary Language Teaching and Learning Resources
Resources for the Primary Language Co-ordinator