PLN Podcast- How to develop your languages teaching-- Susanne Wilson


How to develop your Languages Teaching

Susanne Wilson —
PLN Podcast

Susanne Wilson is the training coordinator at PLN and helps develops teachers ability to coordinate and teach languages more effectively at their schools. Her insights in languages are incredible and she has an ability to breakdown complex ideas into simple and fun ways of sharing them. 

In this podcast Susanne, first of all, tells her story of her passion for learning languages and then moves on to some troubleshooting for potential scenarios for MFL coordinators and teachers alike

Furthermore, she will be speaking at the conference on June 27th- More info found here

More info about Primary Languages Network training courses found here

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PLN Podcasts : Delving into the World of Primary Languages and beyond...


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Bringing together experts in the field of primary languages, whether the experts are in the classroom , members of SLT , language consultants or advisers, we want to share with you a wide range of experience and knowledge that can only help broaden your own horizons of the wonderful opportunities in teaching

We started these recordings in late November 2018 and now there are 6 podcasts from which to select .An opportunity to sit back with a coffee and listen to one or more of these podcasts between our roving teacher reporter Will (looking through an honest lens and as a non-specialist in primary languages) and experts in the field of Primary Languages.

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Primary Languages Podcast #1

A child only gets one chance at being an 8 year old -”learning a language in primary school and the role of all teachers, specialist linguists or non-specialist linguists ”: the big picture. ( Interview with Janet Lloyd)

Primary Languages Podcast #2

Meet the team .Honest observations on the role of the PPA French primary teacher and the also role of the native speaker in the classroom. (Interview with Emilie Woodroffe)

Primary Languages Podcast #3

Wisdom, reflections on years of experience, and the whys and the wherefores for primary languages” from a true expert in the field: ( Interview with Therese Comfort)

Primary Languages Podcast #4

Revitalising languages, making purposeful links between KS2 and KS3 MFL and taking a look at the role of senior leadership (Interview with Suzanne O’Farrell- MFL Lead ASCL)

Primary Languages Podcast #5

Time out in coffee shop to consider the role and power of global links in the primary and secondary classroom. (Interview with John Rolfe MBE - British Council Adviser and Wendy de Corte- Global Links Consultant)

Primary Languages Podcast #6

How to showcase primary languages and to encourage all staff to engage with the learning and promotion of primary languages in your own schools and settings. (Interview with Paul Philips DHT, Our Lady of the Star and the Sea Catholic Primary School)

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The evidence shared by Primary Languages Network teachers shows examples of the four core skills and language learning skills.The examples have been captured in the classroom on the day that the learning took place from KS1 to UKS2. We hope that these examples help primary schools have confidence in their own primary languages teaching and learning plus we hope that the evidence in the Making Progress” blogposts so far support secondary colleagues in their developing understanding of the language learning in primary schools. (Links or our Making Progress 1 - Sept to Oct 2018,Making Progress 2 Oct- Dec 2018) and Making Progress 3 (January- February 2019)

The evidence in this post has been gathered from a sample of our 350 plus Primary Languages Network schools in French,Spanish and German (KS1 to UKS2) in Marchy , during Spring 2 half term and the run up to Easter 2019.

We realise that to make progress, teachers need to feel able to support their young learners. So we are working hard to help primary teachers to better understand and feel better equipped to engage their own primary learners with the skills and knowledge required to become language leaners. So let’s start with some examples of how teachers have been making progress, supported by Primary Languages Network via PLN CPD from this last half term .

What we really love, is when we see the work, support ,CPD and in-school ingenuity and commitment coming together to create effective language learning environments for children . Take a look here at Hope Primary,Knowsley and the case study we created on the wonderful way this school is working towards outstanding progress in primary Spanish with all its children and teachers!

We work with KS1 pupils too and these young language learners ,not only demonstrate to us what progress can be made but are certainly pushing us too, to see what we potentialy will be able to achieve in Year 3 with language learners in the future.

We are always amazed by how our primary schools and teachers find innovative and purposeful ways to link primary language learning, culture and cross curricular learning .

Year 5 French and links with literacy- becoming journalists and tour guide authors.

World Book Day becomes “World Book Week “ in our network and it never fails to disappoint .Once again teachers and schools find ways to make those cross curricular, creative and literacy links with language learning.

We continue to see progress in our primary language learners’ understanding of structure and grammar in simple target language sentences too .

Plus we find new ways of encouraging the continued development of all four core skills in target language learning. Here are some examples of work based on reading or listening, responding and reading.

Primary progress is key and offering our learners opportunities to engage in purposeful,current learning ,using a target language is certainly beneficial.Our “over to you to be the teacher” yoga activities are very popular.

We find that schools want to see language learning as an integral part of the progress their young primary learners make.Here’s an example of a growing and effective working wall in one of our schools.

And then of course there are those really special moments - often best when linked directly to the target language country, real target language speakers and special cultural moments….

Our Lady’s of the Star and the Sea have this Easter found ways to combine their own RE and the target language culture and a special Easter festival too.

How to showcase languages effectively at your school- Paul Phillips- PLN Podcast

Simply put, Paul Phillips is a wizard when it comes to exhibiting languages at this school in Whitby. He is a man of invaluable knowledge in regards to practicality, simplicity and whole school engagement, and in this podcast, he provides you with some great ideas whether you are an NQT or more experienced teacher. He also has managed to master using all his resources available to him to create an exciting and engaging language learning experience for children for example school grounds, cross-curricular activities and the PLN online resources

Listen to how he has planned a Spanish style easter parade through Ellesmere Port, which was done today (17th April)

Furthermore, He will be speaking at the conference on June 27th- More info found here

More info about Primary Languages Network found here

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Planet Word. Be inspired!


Inspiration! Today, listening to David Crystal OBE, triggered so many fantastic ideas to share the languages spoken in our own communities and speak up for languages and their value in our communities.. Links between languages, celebrating languages, links between languages and literacy, sharing our languages…. the list goes on.


I had the great fortune today at ALL Language World 2019 to attend the Mary Glasgow Plenary Presentation, “Twenty five years of not (yet) having a House of Languages”. Intriguing title ! His vision is for a museum of “living “ languages to “speak up for languages” and to share the importance and relevance of languages in everyone’s lives.

During the presentation I was inspired to tweet possible ways that we in all our primary schools, clusters and MATs icould contribute to a nationwide interconnected “House of Languages”.

Here are the tweets in order of inspiration.Hope that may inspire some of you who read this to perhaps investigate further the suggestions and create “Planet Words” in yoour own communities and schools.

Alphabet sculptures……Great languages, literacy, home languages and Art links here.

Voice analysis- just what might your voice sound like on 10,20,30 years? Drama,science and language learning links here

Celebrating all languages in our schools. Bringing home languages and primary foreign languages together.Celebrate and collate all the languages we use and hear in our learning communities.

Exploring the “mundo lingua” space in Paris via this website link.Use this as a platform to design your own “mundo lingua” spaces in schools.

Enage with the wider local community.Create library spaces in shared areas to share books from all the languages spoken and written in our communities.

Take this further and create multi-lending spaces in empty spaces and shops in our local hgh streets.

Set your children a challenge.Design language museum spaces of the future.Be inspired by the internatioanl architecture competition to design suitable spaces with interactive devices to share the excitement and diversity of languages.

Celebrate “English” and its origins.Find out more about the Winchester project.Become experts in your own schools and look at the origins of the English language. Great literacy, languages, history and geography investigations here.

Explore “Planet Word” and find out about this interactive language museum in America is taking shape. Take inspiration from this and build a speaking wall or a languages walk of your own in school , to celebrate “Planet Word” in your own school.

PLN News Podcast- March

This is the March edition of the podcast, all things to do with the conference, CPD, premium dashboard and local network meetings

for CPD enquiries contact

for LNM enquiries contact

to ask about the new dashboard contact

to try out all our resources go to 

Any other enquiries go to

Hope CP and Success in Spanish.

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Welcome to Hope Primary in Huyton,Knowsley, Liverpool. Let’s celebrate their success in the implementation of primary Spanish as a successful and integral part of the curriculum. Spanish is taught across KS2 by class teachers and children in KS1 also have Spanish learning opportunities.

This blog post is a delight to write and to share the vision,commitment and excellent progress that the staff,,children and the wider school community have made in their goal to ensure effective and purposeful primary Spanish language learning in school for all their children.

Debbie McConnell, Assistant Head, along with SLT , school MFL Coordinators’ Caitlin and Helen and all the class teachers and school staff have invested time and commitment in exploring, developing and now establishing a Spanish curriculum that enriches the lives of all their pupils. As a traded support service, Primary Languages Network , has been able to support them on this journey since 2014. The school achieved the enhancing Primary Languages Development Award in 2017 and are now well on their way to working toward their “Outstanding” award..

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We have supported the school with staff Spanish upskilling , pedagogy CPD and have held some of our local network meetings at the school (open to all teachers in the area who may be interested in primary languages). Debbie took on the role of MFL Coordinator and planned the development of teaching and learning of Spanish , working alongside the PLDA mentor Catherine Simms from Primary Languages Network.

Take a look here. The schools follows the PLN Ready Made Spanish SOW and plans for progress in across the four core skills, grammar and language learning skills:

Staff and children explore Spanish in a very primary and fun way and make sure that the wider Spanish World comes to school, so that all children have the opportunity to explore language learning and culture.From making cultural comparisons around festival times:


and enjoying PE in Spanish with their class teachers and the PE coaches who come in to school:

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to Spanish yoga days with Irene, our PLN native speaker primary teacher and yoga coach.


The school takes every opportunity to explore literacy and links between languages and literacy in their Spanish language learning lessons:

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They share their success in Spanish with the whole school and the wider community at community assemblies:

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and hold Spanish Super Days where the children, wider community of school staff get involved and native speakers are invited in to deliver Super Day activites:

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And because the school aims to support their children to beieve in their own future success and to respect others’ knowledge and achievements , Spanish is thriving as a whole school learning project which they are even happy to share with their feeder high school too! Well done Hope CP!

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PLN podcast #4-Suzanne O'Farrell -- Revitalising Language Learning.


#4 Suzanne O’Farrell

Revitalising Secondary MFL

This podcast is a conversation with Suzanne O'Farrell, ASCL MFL Lead, supporting primary and secondary school leaders in supporting effective MFL provision in schools, an experienced secondary Head and former MFL Head of Department. In conversation with a young teacher, who speaks Spanish and now works with teachers and schools in the primary sector, she offers great insights into her previous roles and future ambitions and aspirations for education

Take a listen! Suzanne is a bubbly and enthusiastic leader in our sector and somebody (after listening to this podcast) in which we can put our trust to continue to support school leaders as they seek to improve standards in modern foreign languages’ provision in primary and secondary education.

Making progress 3


The evidence shared by Primary Languages Network teachers shows examples of the four core skills and language learning skills.The examples have been captured in the classroom on the day that the learning took place from KS1 to UKS2. We hope that these examples help primary schools have confidence in their own primary languages teaching and learning plus we hope that the evidence in the Making Progress” blogposts so far support secondary colleagues in their developing understanding of the language learning in primary schools. (Links or our Making Progress 1 - Sept to Oct 2018 and Making Progress 2 Oct- Dec 2018)

The evidence in this post has been gathered from a sample of our 330 plus Primary Languages Network schools in French,Spanish and German (KS1 to UKS2) between end of Christmas term 2018 and Feburary half term 2019 .

The title photo is taken from our Canon Burrows CE Case Study video (December 2018).

It looks like lots of our schools have been taking children on virtual trips to target language countries or receiving and writing letters and cards to children in partner schools abroad. You can also see here examples of classroom learning games, speaking and listening activities, independent writing,sound spelling and appropriate grammar actvities.

So let’s start with children at St Gerard’s in Year 2 meeting their Spanish friends via Skype - a regular occurence at St Gerard’s with our associate Primary Languages Network teacher, Ana,

From school to Spain and back again in one day.Whole school virtual visit to Spain by primary school children and staff..

Including visits to other Spanish speaking countries too and also comic book stories.

Establishing good language learning habits for the future.Taking challenges home and practising language with the rest of the family.

French Year 3 beginners and a game of Quiz Quiz Swap to practise months of the year.

Firts year of language learning and starting to explore grammar.Practising plurals with Year 3 and work on animal nouns in Spanish.

Emphasis on sound spelling links.Revisiting letters and sounds in Year 4 and gathering evidence of understanding by encouraging children’s own notes about how to pronounce tricky Spanish letters.

Simple accurate sentence writing with a touch of creativity. Creating our own alien family on the moon. Year 4 Spanish.

Busy in French in Year 4 too, creating our own alien characters too and practising accurate simple personal information sentences.Thanks to Queen’s Park for this photo.


Year 4 ,creating Spanish spoken texts and preparing to create their Viva Video movie books , to introduce their own descriptions of members of our “Alien Family” .

Snowy day Spanish and a great opportunity to work with bilingual dictionaires and explore words to describe snomwen in Spanish.

From nouns to adjectives and now to verbs. Conjugating the verb “to be” in French and linking this to our panto character lesson plan in Year 5 French .

French and celebrations. Practising writing simple descriptive sentences to design Epiphany crowns in Year 4 and 5 classes around the Primary Languages Network schools at the start of 2019 .


Freeze frame drama and performance in Spanish with Year 5

German in primary .Year 5 and 6 learning German and making links with penfriends in Germany.

Receiving Christmas letters from penfriends in Spain -UKS2 Spanish language learners.

Taking a cultural and language learning virtual visit to Paris and Montmartre,practising spoken French role plays on the virtual visit around the city.

Continuing to develop and extend writing skills:Year 6 French and extended sentence writing,sharing sporting opinions.

PLN Podcast #3-- Therese Comfort-- 'Why we are doing this….'


PLN Podcast #3

with Therese Comfort

Today’s podcast is with Therese Comfort, a primary school teacher and former national lead for primary languages at CiLT.

Therese brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and practical approaches to in-class teaching of primary languages for both the specialist and the non-specialist teacher.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on Itunes

PLN News podcast- Feb 19 // Click2Teach // PLN Conference 1019 // CPD and associate updates

In this month’s discussion points, we introduce the new 'Click2Teach' curriculum, which runs alongside the Ready Made KS2 SOW in French,Soanish and German and is designed to get your schools non-specialists teaching languages, with its easier to use, game-based, less in-depth curriculum.

Also, we will update you on the PLN conference date and theme and upcoming LNM meetings dates. We also look into what Susanne has been doing with the ITT training, get an update from Emilie in regards to our languages associates and its prospective expansion, and finally receive admin updates from Catherine, in regards to new associates and the PLDA award

Click on the links below if you are interested in any of the topics


For a demonstration of our resources contact

For info about our languages associates contact

for info about our CPD courses contact

any other enquiries contact