New and updated SoWs- Janet Lloyd is looking forward to September- Episode 1/3

At Primary Languages Network things have been changing,additions to the PLN VLE have been made and resources have been updated. We are happy to now release some “big” changes for the new academic year and hope that you find these really useful..

In this short podcast series, Janet speaks about what she is looking forward to introducing in revamped online resources for Primary Languages Network.

This first episode is about all things “Schemes of Work”.The KS2 schemes of work can be found on your dashboard when logging on to the PLN VLE and have been designed with specific types of teachers in mind:

“Click2Teach”- for the non-specialist

“BeCreative”- for the confident teacher ,whether this is a non-specialist or specialist

“TeachbyStory”- to allow teachers to build their own creative activities as part of the SOW.

Have a listen to the podcast, and then take a look around the new schemes of work.We are super proud of what has been produced!

Not a member? Well take a look at our services here

Contact either or for any enquiries or interest in membership

Mindfulness, yoga and well being- PLN Podcast with Irene Hernandez


Irene Hernandez

This week's podcast is about all things well-being and mental health. We at PLN highly value the importance of educating children about their own well-being, none more so than Irene Hernandez our in-house yogi and mindfulness practitioner. It just so happens, that teaching MFL ties in really nicely!

Irene is a passionate and enthusiastic Spanish teacher for PLN, but she also does Spanish super days of yoga in schools and has helped massively with the mindfulness videos. You will also recognize her in all of our Spanish native speaker video clips,

If PLN had celebrities, Irene would be one! 

If you are interested in having Irene at your school for a yoga Spanish super day, or if you have any other enquiries implementing mindfulness and well being in your school, feel free to contact me (mSc in Health and nutrition)

Time for transition

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At the University of Chichester in June this year (2019), I presented a brief key note speech about transition.

I have to admit that like everyone else I do not have the answers. I could have shared facts,percentages of numbers in primary delivering primary foreign languages and which target languages are most popular.Others have already done this better. I decided that “honesty is the best policy” and that it was best to share my “on the ground” understanding of transition and allow the listeners and now you “the readers” of this blogpost an opportunity to reflect and potentially use these reflections to build effective, brighter futures for KS2 into KS3 (and beyond) language learners.

Just a bit of background.Since 1985 I have taught across both primary and secondary education.Primary Languages Network is my company, founded in 2011,supporting more than 370 primary schools to deliver languages. The PLN team of 24 experienced QTS teachers delivers primary languages to over 10.000 pupils in 50 of the network schools every week of the academic year.

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The team continues to inform my understanding of quality teaching and learning.My presentation was based upon what the Primary Languages Network team and network schools experience and understand about the challenges of transition.

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1.Transition isn’t a new idea.

All teachers deal with elements of transition throughout the academic year and across all curriculum areas,from when we first meet learners to when they leave us .We consider how we move from one unit of work to another,reflect on needs of learners, how we help learners to consider what they already know and how to build on this, how to transfer prior learning from other areas and re-use this and crucially we plan for transition from year group to year group and from one teacher and stage of learning to another.

Do we need to address how we look at “KS2 to KS3 foreign languages transition”.

Do we need to acknowledge that everyone brings understanding of transition to the the discussion table?

Do we need to refresh our view of this and consider this as a great opportunity for “joined up communication”?

2.Learners are inquistive,keen,want to learn more about their natural communication skills.

In my opinion,all teachers and learners understand that communication is globally important.

Woven through the school curriculum is empathy and understanding of cultures and means of communication and a recognition that:

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3. Harness the power of the primary language speaking community

At the conference,the video clip above of young children in a Warrington primary school captured on European Day of Languages 2018, shared the diversity of our primary learnng communities and the richness of language knowledge.We heard Farsi,Polish,Romanian, Spanish,Russian,English and the school primary language of French.I challenged delegates to consider how and why we,the language learning community,need to harness this.

The video is so powerful as children from EYFS to Year 6 speak in their home languages,in the school’s chosen target foreign language and in English. There is a willingness and joy to participate and a pride in the fact that the school possesses so many languages within its community.

Do we need to consider this richness and diversity as part of the big picture, when considering transition from KS2 to KS3. MFL?

Are we at risk of making learning a language even more of a silo- where one language is more important than any another?

Could we, in fact do we, miss out on linguists by ignoring often higher order language learning skills that our young learners already possess?.

4.Do you know what home languages your new Y7 cohort speak?

If you coordinate KS3 or are about to teach next year’s Year 7 then ask yourself this question.Are you aware of what cultural and language learning experiences the children have enjoyed in KS2 or enjoy at home or with family abroad?

A simple video clip made by Year 6 could help you- just like the one above. In my opinion it’s good practice to know what has been learnt and explored before.

Reflect upon whether this could be a starting point next year to build links and contact with your KS2 Year 6 teachers.

Get to know more about the children in the Year 6 classes that may be on their way to your KS3 department in 2020-21.

Share virtually, by video and even re-use these videos at the start of Year 7 to celebrate this diversity.

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5.Consider how this one statement joins up the communication between KS2 and KS3.

What about basing your first few weeks of teaching and learning in KS3 on developing a shared purpose to take what the children may or may not have explored or already know and set off on a more mature “KS3” learning journey.

Acknowledge what they have done and plan to deepen their understanding.

Take a KS3, year 7 look at what “liberation from insularity” and an “opening to other cultures” means and how exploring these concepts could help each pupil in their own individual futures.

We all have a responsibilty in this, in my opninon.I need to stress that transition wherever it occurs between KS1 and KS2 , between home languages and target school primary foreign languages, between KS2 year groups and between KS2 and KS3 needs to be based on “joined up communication” between the facilitators of the language learning.

6. Progress over 12 years of education.

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I welcome Amanda Spielman’s comment about progress across the 12 years of learning for our school age children. It seems to me truly ridiculous that in the past in England we waited until children are 11 years old to allow them the opportunty to officially explore other languages.

Very young children love the exploration of sounds,love code breaking, love collecting language!

Even today we have to accelerate language learning toward a GCSE it would not be quite so challenging, in my opinion, if developed progress over time which is appropriate to age and stage of the learners had been planned for. Whether we are linguists with great knowledge of one or several languages or teachers with limited knowledge of a language,we all have to play our part.

Language learning goes beyond being good at one language.

As the learners move from one learning stage to another,surely we need to develop and prepare pupils’ language learning skills for personal futures in which we as teachers will play a very limited part.

How do we embrace what has come before and not ignore or at worst negate this?

How do we embrace what children already can do in other languages and use this to enhance what we want them to achieve as the children from KS2 become the pupils of KS3 and KS4 and have to pass through our examination system?

7. Should progress in becoming a linguist be content bound?

How can we say a child who knows the most words, is the best linguist? Languages are not a memory game.Yes, memory plays a vey important role and speed of recall certainly helps fluency in both passive and active language use, however languages are much more than being able to remember prior learning.

We can not predetermine what progress learners make by just a list of words or being able to spot key structures in a sentence.

Let’s ask Year 6 teachers to be facilitators.To review what has been done before, to celebrate languages spoken by children in their classrooms and apply independent learning skills children have developed to language learning.

Let’s help Year 6 teachers to prepare their learners for the unknown and unfamiliar so that they approach this with confidence and enthusiasm.

Let’s provide time so that KS3 colleagues can experience the wealth of “ready” to learn pupils in Year 6 and inform and excite them about the linguists with fluency in several languages,who are going to help them to explore in detail a specific language from KS3 onwards.

8.Progress in languages is special.

It’s about the whole child and developing their educational right to communicate.

From the child about to start school, excited about everything they are going to learn and explore….

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….to the children at the start of KS2, able to say some words in a target language and willing to make mistakes and try.

The video clip below, I shared this too at the conference, reveals so much more than just the words the children have learnt.It shares how each child feels about speaking aloud..How each child remembers actions associated to words.Which children are more hesitant than others and which children are already developing great confidence and accuracy in pronunciation and more …..

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These snippets and windows on prior learning need to be collected and shared .What about using Efolios to allow teachers to see progress and to discuss what progress in language learning really is like?

Efolios work for us !We are lucky to be able to collect and share via our virtual learning environment in our network and already have established Efolios of evidence.This means that we can see the progress, year on year.

These two Year 5 boys in different schools speak in full sentences in French and Spanish (yes, with some errors and corrections and some inaccuracies in pronunciation).One video is a French descriptive text of an imaginary planet and the other is a independently built persuasive text including sequencing words about a holiday in Spain.

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Just two examples of work produced by children every week of the year in our network.The examples are current from the academic year 2018-19.

The self esteem and self efficacy is tangible.This is not new.We see this every academic year in different contexts in UKS2 ,Year 5. Steady progress is made to this point and enriched over years 5 and 6.

This self estem ,self efficacy and ability to feel it’s okay to make mistakes and try to correct and “move on” must be harnessed in secondary language learning.It’s a powerful resource.

9. Year 6 into Year 7 language learners

Transition between primary and secondary brings many challenges. Are language learning challenges an obstacle or an opportunity in your schools for joined up communication?

Let’s encourage Year 6 teachers to facilitate some independent learning.Use bilingual dictionaries,help children to listen accurately to native speaker pronunciation online or even better face to face, revisit and build on prior knowledge, take risks, explore new languages, transfer skills and be “primary” ready for secondary.

The gap between Year 6 and Year 7 is just 6 weeks. It is JUST SIX WEEKS! .

We need to see transition from KS2 to KS3 as an opportunity to establish “joined up communication” and not an obstacle to continued progress.

10. A primary -secondary road map that suits your learners’ circumstances.

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Don’t try to achieve all the bullet points all at once.This just won’t work.

Don’t try to resolve transition by just making one language the total focus from beginning of KS2 upwards.I am not certain that if you embrace this it, this does already or will enable all learners to be strong language learners. .

Embrace each bullet point above and work through them carefully with your own group of schools to find a best fit.

Keep at the centre of all your discussions the children.In my opinion it does not work to impose secondary language learning on primary learners.

Maintain onwards momentum and share evidence of knowledge, skills and progress as best suits your schools and systems.

Do request some allocated time and funding- albeit limited . Do have a vision and do have language learning aspirations for every child.

At the start of Year 7 explore languages and skills the children have and may not even know they have and then step into the world of just one language.

It’s not wasting time, because in my opinion if used effectively, the knowledge, that pupils and teachers gain through sharing and exploring in the first few weeks of Year 7, will help to build momentum and accelerate learning in one or hopefully two languages in KS3, KS4 and beyond.

Last lesson of the year. Ready for next year.

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We love this final lesson.We wnat to share this as we think so many primary languages’ teachers will find this useful.It gives the children time to reflect on what they know and to feel that they are going to be able to revisit, recall and share with their new teacher or maybe the same teacher in next academic year, what they have enjoyed in language learning.

Transition happens between all year groups. How effective this transition is supports how effective and successful progression for all the children will be.

It's time to start packing those target language suitcases and sharing the strategies , learning tools and activities the children have enjoyed with the next class teacher!

Designer Suitcases

Ask the children to help you decide what your target language suitcase for the year's learning should look like? What have they learned this year? What content and contexts have you explored. Create the labels for your suitcase from this content and contexts. Your suitcase may be a folder with notes from the class to the next teacher , a virtual suitcase or a folder kept on the school VLE ...but it needs to look like you have all travelled on a language learning journey together this year- hence the labels!

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Packing the suitcase!

Ask the children to share with you the games, songs and stories that have enjoyed this year.Revisit and use again some of the activities and resources and take a class vote on which to put in your class suitcase ready to set off for the next year of language learning.

Don't forget those always useful items!

Discuss with the children the grammar that you may have explored. Add a noun treasure chest (facts about nouns and some key nouns from different content) and an adjective atlas (a picture on which the children can stick or add key adjectives they have met e.g colours/sizes/characteristics).Pop in a listening game idea - so that the children with their new teacher can play some very familiar listening games, maybe with new language, and then build on these and move on!

Have you packed your phrase book?

What can the children now ask and say about themselves that means they are moving more toward independence in simple basic dialogue and conversation? Pack an example spaeking text, game or create a class cartoon strip or recording of a typical dialogue.

Hurrah off we go!

Now it's time to check what's in the suitcase and pass it on to the next class they can unpack the suitcase with the class next year.

When are we there?

Once September arrives then the next class teacher has a reference point that can act as a prompt with the children and the whole class can have great fun unpacking their suitcase and explaining what they already have learned. The suitcase can come out throughout the year when content or contexts are supported by the prior learning.

Get Ready for September 5/5- How to create your Coordinator File

Have you listened to the previous two episodes? If not below are links to them

Episode 1- Action Plan

Episode 2- MTP and LTO's

Episode 3- CPD and upskilling 

Episode 4- European Day of Languages

In this 5 part short podcast series, Catherine (Network Coordinator) takes you through a simple step by step process, getting you ready for September in regards to Languages coordination and teaching

This week and final episode, Catherine takes you through the beginnings of building an effective MFL coordinators folder, ready to be built from. Using all that we have learnt in previous weeks, join in with Catherine to get yourself fully ready for the upcoming year

We love to hear feedback, so please feel free to tell us how useful (or not) this series has been for you by leaving a comment below!

Get Ready for September 4/5- EDoL & Languages celebration days

Have you listened to the first three episodes? If not below are links to them

Episode 1- Action Plan

Episode 2- MTP and LTO's

Episode 3- CPD and upskilling 

In this 5 part short podcast series, Catherine (Network Coordinator) takes you through a simple step by step process, getting you ready for September in regards to Languages coordination and teaching.

In this week’s episode, Catherine takes you through the initial preparation for European Day of Languages or hosting a languages celebration day.

After this episode you should feel prepared to take on what can be a great opportunity to put languages on the map in your school, so listen in, take pointers and look at all the resources available to you in preparing these days.

You can also listen to Paul Phillips (who spoke at the PLN conference 2019) about how to exhibit languages.

Link to Paul Phillips podcast on Celebrating languages

Get ready for September 3/5- CPD and Upsklling

Have you listened to the previous two episodes? If not below are links to them

Episode 1- Action Plan

Episode 2- MTP and LTO's

This week’s episode is about all things upskilling and CPD. If you are a member of PLN, you are entitled to so much training and support, and now is a great time to figure out what exactly you or your staff require in order to provide you with the support and training to deliver languages effectively

You are entitled to a one-to-one coordinator training with Catherine, or a click2teach non-specialist in school training with Will

Also on the dashboard, if you were to click on “Online Training Courses”, you will find a whole host of training, from Upskilling mini-courses, to understanding the VLE or even pedagogical masterclass sessions

For more information contact us on and

Get ready for September 2/5- Planning

This is the second part of a five-part series in getting yourself prepared for next years teaching, this is a step by step process and therefore it is recommended to listen in to the first one before listening to this episode

Link to Episode 1 - Action planning

The second episode of the series is about looking at your planning for next year. Locating, printing and reading through what is going to occur, will strengthen your idea upon the curriculum and also give you more guidance to ensure your staff are following along

Access the long term overviews by--> Dashboard--> Subject planning --> MFL Coordinators toolkit --> SOW documentation

Medium term plans are found attached to all curriculums

Any issues locating your documentation feel free to contact us    or

Get Ready for September 1/5- Action Plan

Episode 1/5- Action plan

In this 5 part short podcast series, Catherine (Network Coordinator) takes you through a simple step by step process, getting you ready for September in regards to Languages coordination and teaching

First of all, understand why getting ready now is important.

Then, the first episode is all about reviewing how the year went, looking at the targets you set and creating an action plan for the year ahead. Spot improvement points and celebrate your year's victories. This first epsidode will set you up for the rest fo the series

PLN Podcast- Janet Lloyd and simple Spanish stories


In this podcast,Janet Lloyd considers simple and effective use of Spanish story books to enhance primary languages teaching and learning for all teachers and children, especially if you are a Primary Languages Network member.

Take a listen and explore how you can develop creative and memorable Spanish learning opportunities linked to story books, including display and performance. Books and ideas are transferable to other target languages too and will fit beautifully with our Ready Made French KS2 and German KS2 schemes of work options too.


Share stories right from the beginning. for example with our Ready Made SOW Year 3 Autumn 1 and 2 work on numbers and colours or in Y3 Spring 1 read as a class the very simple story book “Ha vista a mi gato?” in the Ready Made SOW unit “Animal Magic” , (whether you use Click 2 Teach, Be Creative or our Teach by Story).

Find out how using target language versions of familar English story books can be a stepping stone to listening to a story book in another language and developing children’s reading and listening skills and confidence.

Be creative and create a carnival party to remember with El caranaval de los animales - part of our Year 4 Spring 2 French, German and Spanish units of work. Take a look at the blogpost link below from 2015 to help with this or access the comprehesive lesson planning and resources on the Primary Languages Network virtual learning environment.

Remember books mentioned in this podcast are nearly all available in French and possibly German too. Worth listening to our first podcast in this series so that you can explore the French story books mentioned and use suggested ideas with the Spanish equivalents.

Looking for simple books, written for young learners of Spanish, for your reading corner? Janet has some suggestions for these too.

Remember that Primary Languages Network members can visit the exhibition stands of Brilliant Publications, European School Books and Little Linguist at our annual conference “All aboard! ” on 27 June 2019. Plus you can take advantage of the Little Linguist Primary Languages Network discount code (found on the home page of the VLE).

Below is a link to a blog post that Janet refers to in the podcast.

Getting ready for canival: being creative and exploring a story based on the carnival of animals and the music of Saint Saens (January 2015).

*discount code will be shown on your member dashboard

Great French books for your classroom- Janet Lloyd- PLN Podcast


French Books

For the classroom
Janet Lloyd
PLN Podcast

But first subscribe to our podcast at

Everyone loves a story.

In this podcast, Janet shares books that complement themes and certain units of work in primary French, especially if you are a Primary Languages Network member*.

Have a listen and see how and why you should consider adding a book to your teaching and learning of languages.

Take a listen and explore ways that you can develop display and creative learning with a story time in French.

From our Ready Made SOW Year 3 Autumn 1 and 2 work on colours and reading as a class the very simple story book “Toutes les Couleurs” , (whether you use Click 2 Teach, Be Creative or our Teach by Story) ,to very familiar story books such as “Going on a Bear Hunt” in the target language that dovetail beautifully as class stories at the end of one of our units of work. Looking for simple books, written for young learners of French, for your reading corner?Janet has some suggestions for these too.

Remember that Primary Languages Network members can visit the exhibition stands of Brilliant Publications, European School Books and Little Linguist at our annual conference “All aboard! ” on 27 June 2019. Plus you can take advantage of the Little Linguist Primary Languages Network discount code (found on the home page of the VLE).

Below is a link to a blog post that Janet refers to in the podcast.

KS1 Going on a Bear Hunt blogpost (Spanish rhyme - ideas in blogpost are transferable to other target languages)

*discount code will be shown on your member dashboard

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

Use this URL to subscribe -