Physical fireworks

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Listen ,respond and create physical firework displays in your French and Spanish language lessons. Combine simple gymnastics and creating shapes with target language listening and physical responses.

We have created a simple three step lesson guide ,written by a PE specialist and based on creating three gymnastics movements (stretch, pike and tuck) with accompanying phrase and sound files by native speakers.

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Plus the alien character prompt cards will support your children as they create the physical shapes and will reinforce the gymnastic poses they are practising.

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The three activities lead to the creation of group work where the children produce their own physical firework displays , based on well known types of fireworks they might see at a local firework display.

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Why not work alongside the PE specialist or coach in school? One of our network schools,Bradshaw CP, combined Spanish language learning with a PE coaching session and the Spanish teacher worked alongside and supported the non- Spanish speaking PE coach to develop a sensational sequence of gymnastics and Spanish language learning .This is what Gwyneth Wellings, the Spanish teacher, had to say:

This afternoon our year 4 children enjoyed a PE lesson in Spanish. Tom Dore our PE assistant used the Physical Fireworks with Spanish plan from the network. He isn’t a Spanish speaker but he made a real effort to use all the commands and to pronounce them. Afterwards he told me how much he had enjoyed it. He is hoping to use the plan for years 5 & 6 later in the week. I am thrilled - at last Spanish is being used for cross curricular purposes and not just in the Spanish lessons

You can access this resource as Primary Languages Network Premium Member on our VLE in the PE and Languages Pack or you can purchase the resource for just 0.99 pence from our Active Lingo shop in French, or Spanish.

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Spooky goings on!

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Spooky sentences, both spoken and written in target languages in school allow your classes to make links across the curriculum at this time of year. Yes we are working with limited language but gosh we can be creatibve with this language!

The photo above is of “spooky party tooters” seen in a French shop last year. Great opportunity to use the photo as a stimulus or hook to create spooky chants, spooky voices, spooky greetings and farewells.Why not record these spooky sayings and create your own spooky statements cauldrons too in which children can keep a record of their “spooky spoken phrases and sentences” as written ingredients to a potion. We have created a simple activity sheet and teacher’s activity guider for this.Network members can find these in our Seasonal Specials on the Primary Languages Network VLE and this year non- network members can download the activity sheet as a “freebie” from the Active Lingo shop (just select your target language) and search for the sheet “Spooky Statements”. (link here goes to the sheet in the Active Lingo French shop).

A spooky poem anyone? Why not practise and perform our spooky poems?

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And then engage the class in special language detective work,using our “messy magic” sheets to help the witch put ingredients in her cauldron for her spell. Network members can access these poems in French and Spanish on the Primary Languages Network VLE .Non-network mebers can access the resource in our Active Lingo shop here: French: poeme fantomatique and messy magic sheet or Spanish poema fantasmal .

And what about a story about a witch’s day at school?

As Primary Langauges Network members , take advantage of the Seasonal Specials Halloween folder resources : our snakes and ladders game (practising numbers and commands) and our witch’s day at school story with audio and lesson plan activities in our Ready Made SOW Year 5 Autumn 1. Non network members you can access the story here in the Active Lingo Shop Witch’s Day at School in French or Witch’s Day at School in Spanish .

Enjoy some spookily successful language learning.

Creative minds

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This is a fabulous example of how the resources we create, are taken and developed and expanded upon by primary schools.Thanks to Carol and her team,the children are exploring mindfulness using a foreign language as the vehicle for this.They are then linking their target language mindfulness to creative outcomes across the wider school curriculum.The whole school have embraced the use of this resource and are finding ways to weave it through their daily school life.

I wrote about how this resource can be used to develop mindful listening in a previous blog post. Now we are seeing how schools are taking the clips and using them as very useful well being, language learning and creative learning resources beyond the language learning classroom.

Yesterday with colleagues at a CPD meeting we discussed how the clips can be used in so many creative ways.For example, the planets’ video in the 10 for £10 pack available in our Active Lingo French and Spanish shops, can be used to be creative and go on an imaginary space journey and think about colours and sounds on a different planet.Ideal to use too with our Ready Made SOW too and our family from outer space,if your school is a Primary Languages Network premium member..

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You can see samples of the videos on our website here Bitesize mindfulness videos .It was devised,filmed and created by members of the Primary Languages Network team with native speaker voices and visual target language.

Making real progress 1

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Just as the slogan on the bag below states, we understand that language learning offers children the chance to explore the World and this goes beyond just academic value.However to enable some of the world of education to harness the power of primary languages, we are aware that evidence of progress is required,So this year my colleagues and I are going to intermittently generate progress blog posts. We will also be sharing this evidence on our Twitter feed too (@JanetLloydnet).

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The evidence shared by Primary Languages Network teachers in a variety of settings ranging from small urban state primary schools to large academy trusts and one public school are examples of the four core skills and language learning skills captured in the classroom on the day the learning took place from KS1 to UKS2.Not the best but a fair range of examples of work. Evidence of progress can not be purely based upon the children’s ability to write sentences. Language learning is surely far more than just this. So let’s start with evidence that reaches out beyond language learning and adds value to every child’s progress. Let’s start with European Day of Languages 2018, Mindfulness in a foreign language,Yoga and Spanish/French super days and cultural exchanges.

And now the first of a series of Twitter posts that we have shared as individual items and hope will help those who read this to gain an insight in to and maybe better understanding of what progress over time in primary languages really looks like. Remember this is our first evidence gathering of the academic year and is just a reflection of the first three to four weeks of our learning year 2018….

Poem time.L'automne arrive!

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At this time of year we practise colours in French so it seems an easy link to make with Autumn and tha changes in colours all around us on the trees.So what have we created? Here is a sneak preview…


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A simple French Autumn poem, looking at the change in seasons from Summer to Autumn and the change in colours of the trees and the leaves.

Children are encouraged to join in, to imagine they are on the walk and act out the text that they read aloud.This will lead beautifully in to an assembly performance for some of you , we are certain!

The “Teacher’s Activity Guide” suggests ways to exploit the poem, practise colours, understand the meaning of familiar and some unfamiliar nouns and get ready to perform the poem.

There is also an “Autumn Leaves’ Links” activity sheet to accompany the poem and allow teachers to extend the language learning for more advanced primary French learners. Let’s look for adjectives and nouns and write our own versions.

Network members can access the poem on the VLE in Seasonal Specials

Non-network members can purchase the poem plus the teacher’s guide and the Autumn Leaves’ Links activity sheet, all for just 99 pence in our Active Lingo French shop.This is on the Primary Languages Network website. Here is the direct link to purchase the resource Autumn performance poem Active Lingo French

Smile! It's language learning!

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End of very busy and important week in our network. We have celebrated European Day of Languages as always and it has been a delight to see the ideas and creativity based upon our Primary Languages Network 2018 theme of “Everyone smiles in the same language”.

We work with small country schools, large urban schools, schools with 98/99% EAL, alsorts of schools. This week is an annual opportunity to celebrate diversity of languages,cultures within our school communities and beyond.(During the year as a network we work together to promote primary language learning of French,Spanish and German as a whole school learning opportunity, guided and supported by our Ready Made Schemes of Work. ) We find it amazing everytime we hear a child in a school speak in anther language or share knowledge of their own language learning experiences or cultural celebrations.This week allows us to remember that we are all part of one large global communicating community.

Take a look below at this sample of how schools have been celebrating languages within their school communities and new languages beyond their own school experience.Thank you to everyone.




Everyone smiles in the same language.

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Everyone smiles in the same language! The idea to develop this as a one off stand alone lesson and to link this to an exploration of feelings and emotions came to me when I was at the Bilbao Guggenheim this Spring. Esther Ferrer’s interactive installation “las risas del mundo” ( see below in this Tweet from “descubrir el arte”) engages you with faces that appear on interactive screens and smile back at you as you look at the face.Each screen is placed above an area/ country of the World and each face on the screen is a person from that area or place.

What a brilliant way to celebrate diversity and range of languages spoken in your schools.

As a team of primary teachers we will use this to celebrate EDOL.We produce a set of simple resources and a focus for Primary Langauges Network every year in September to celebrate European Day of Languages.It’s a day established languages of the World.This has inspired our theme this year “Everyone smiles in the same language”.

Here are a few ways that we are adapting the theme for the classroom:

With a song launched at our annual Primary Languages Network conference:

Writing our own extended sentences to describe our feelings and emotions,using them for speaking ,reading aloud and listening activities and creating a photographic display linked to “las risas del mundo”.

Discussing and understanding how to empathise with each other and feelings and looking out for non verbal communication and listening to spoken communication about feelings and emotions.

And finally! A Class World map of smiles. Create your own Art installation of smiles. Ask children to research verbs for “to smile” and“ to laugh”  in languages from around the World or to share home language vocabulary they already know and use. Ask the children to record these words and create emojis to represent these verbs. On a map of the World create an emoji record of the written word and the drawn emojis, sticking the emojis near or on the countries where the language is spoken.






























Mindful listening.

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Two minutes of mindful listening offers so many benefits to your language learning classrooms. The Bitesize Mindfulness resource packs (in English,French and Spanish) offer teachers the opportunity to help learners develop listening skills, concentration,mindfulness and at the same time explore listening in a target language.

The video transcripts (with accompanying English translations in the French and Spanish resource packs intended to support non-native speakers) allow teachers to:

  • use the videos to re-focus children after busy lunch times or physical activities

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  • to engage children in deeper understanding of the spoken text prior to listening to the target language and watching the mindulness clip

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  • to share and use across the school with the wider teaching community and use as regular and re-visitable video clips as part of the school’s mindfulness focus and work on wellbeing. To be able to link listening in another language to this is surely an added bonus too! Even to use as a special resource across the school on European Day of Langauges as mentioned above.

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  • to link mindfulness , listening and exploring the target language with creative and imaginative cross curricular learning opportunities- space, mountains, the sea, travel .There are 40 themed clips, all easy to access in a self contained PDF.

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And then what about developing additional listening ,speaking,reading and writing activities based upon these clips? For example:

  • bilingual dictionary noun, adjective or verb hunts to share with others in the class the sights, sounds,colours, emotions, actions that individual children may have felt or that the target language spoken text in the videos encourages them to consider.

  • listening activities: listening out for specific words, phrases or sentences as they are spoken or listening to the spoken text without being able to see the screen and following the written text as it is spoken.

  • speaking activities based on the scenery, the environment,the people and creatures the children may see in the video clips or imagine may live in these environments

  • reading tasks based on the target language transcripts accompanying the videos- going on noun,adjective and verb hunts, identifying questions and answers, spotting the commands in the text.

  • creative writing of simple poems or descriptive sentences or short texts based on the video clips.

    We hope you enjoy using this resource and that you are able to reap the benefits of just those “two minutes of mindful listening” in either English ,French or Spanish. 10 German videos to follow soon!

    The videos are free to Premium members of Primary Languages Network , at a discount price to School and Teacher members of Primary Languages Network and cost just £24.99 as a downloadable PDF resource to non- members from our Active Lingo shop.

Harness Primary Languages Power

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Primary languages power!

Yesterday I could see, feel and hear this “power” in the Primary Languages Network CPD "getting ready to go back to school" for our associate teachers.

The annual CPD day is powerful!. it is an opportunity for the associate teachers who work in 47 of our 272 schools on a weekly basis to share,network and develop as primary classroom practitioners.On a weekly basis they see and experience how young children progress in language skills.

The team is now 19 strong. Each member contributes throughout the academic year to our groiwng wealth of evidence of progress in primary language learning, both of young learners and the schools that commit valuable school budget and timetable time to target language learning .Within the team there is expertise in Literacy, Sport ,Drama, Dance,Music,Art, Maths, Special Needs.EAL. What a powerful dream team! All are QTS,most have done PGCEs,all with experience of teaching a primary foreign language. Some are native speakers,some primary class teachers, some with leadership experience, some current/ former secondary language teachers, several ex- secondary  Heads of Departments,some language teaching material designers, some ITT trainers,several language tutors.All of them believe in the power of primary languages and how we need to harness this progress in KS3 and beyond.

Nowadays the team inspires me and powerfully drives forward the materials, planning and next steps in the growing network.Everything discussed yesterday will be shared with at least the 272 schools in Primary Languages Network. Most of the new ideas will be shared more widely through webinars, CPD and training and via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Today I feel I need to ask though "are we (the wider modern foreign languages' teachng community) taking the POWER of the primary practitioner and primary language learning seriously?" A challenging question!

Currently our PLN practitioners are a strong and positive example of the raft of primary languages' practitioners nationwide.They do share and they do speak out but I am not certain that therir voices are being heard LOUDLY enough. I genuinely believe that we can not keep on ignoring the effective good practice taking place in primary schools. I acknowledge that there is still work to be done however I think that "primary languages power" should not be ignored later in secondary language learning.The progress being made should be celebrated and built upon!   

Evidence of progress! Where's the evidence? Well there is evidence and I am certain that primary practitioners would be keen to share the evidence..Each week in classrooms across the country children in very different settings are exploring the four core language skills, developing and extending cross transferable language learning skills, growing in confidence and interest in learning other languages and making links between home languages and a new shared class target language.

Look at pupils' work and see the evidence.Please look with a "primary" eye at the work of "emergent language learners".Remember that learning a language is a long term progression and don’t expect perfection.Reflect on mistakes older learners make and see the potential of the young primary learners. Listen to the children who have learned a foreign language for four years now and can independently produce spoken and written simple sentences, identify nouns , adjectives ,verbs and manipulate these, not always perfectly but willingly,bravely and adequately.

Right now,whatever the progress ,interest and enthusiasm generated, this is a positive platform to be built upon in secondary language learning. (I speak here with the voice of secondary German teacher from 1985-2004 and the voices of my secondary colleagues working in primary languages). KS2 children sing songs, play games, create purposeful display with their own work, progress steadily over four years  from word to phrases to sentences in their speaking and writing of a target language. Their learning will have been age and stage " emergent language learners" appropriate. This needs to be embraced.

Certainly,the tangible "primary languages power" felt yesterday in the CPD session,is informed and strengthened by the growing bank of  evidence of progress made by young learners. This is coupled often with creativity and this should not be feared.It’s brilliant to explore target language colours for example in Art and Design or to use simple classroom commands in PE.In primary there is a willingness and ability to push creative boundaries in primary language teaching and learning.Sheer joy! 

Primary language learning should never be perceived as insignficant or ineffective.The evidence is out there! It could just be a story a child heard or participation in a class assembly that creates the willingness to want to learn more about a foreign language in the future, but it is ALL significant.It needs to be harnessed and celebrated.   

Tomorrow at the start of the new academic year pupils at the start of KS3 will be happy to go back over familiar language.What a great place to start as there is comfort in this for the new pupils in a brand new school.Revisiting and re-using is not redundant learning. Eleven years olds will be hoping though that this will be with a more mature approach than in primary school. For example ,they will happily go back over colours and give you time to teach other children in the room,who may have learnt a different language but they will be looking forward to writing a colour poem or to reading a challenging text too. And what if they have learned a different language in KS2 or none at all? This does not mean that the children can’t catch up or even progress ultimately more quickly than others. Ifg this were the case then many linguists would have been stukc ina one foreign language silo.Why not challenge them to apply prior language learning skills from a different primary foreign language or from their own home language skills or their primary literacy and problem solving skills ?Yes this can be challenging - but should not be viewed as an obstacle.  

Certainly here within the school members of Primary Languages Network there is evidence of progress. We are a practical hands on teacher led community, which supports, develops and inspires colleagues  whatever their experience of delivering primary languages.We work with all school settings,who often nowadays have very limited or no significant budget for primary foreign languages. This year we intend to evidence and share more widely what we see week by week.  

Yesterday as I observed this strength of knowledge and experience amongst my colleagues, it struck me what a waste it will be yet again if we do not  harness the "power" not just within our network but across many other providers' and schools' KS2 primary languages work too.

The start of a new academic year is a great time to listen to the power of the expert primary practitioners and to allow the new cohort in KS3 time to feel confident enough in their new surroundings to actually share what they already know or to make links from familiar to the unfamiliar.

Why? Well these pockets of effective progress ,such as the PLN associate teachers and the network schools in Primary Languages Network  have laid down, are important building blocks that can lead to improvements at the start of KS3 and then on in to KS4 and beyond.

This academic year please do not ignore the power of primary languages practitoners. Take a good look at your new Year 7 language learners as they arrive in your classrooms in the next couple of days. Afford them time to settle in,.Don't worry about revisiting the familiar but look for new approaches with the familar that are age and stage appropriate for eleven year olds and add challenge and build on the power of primary language learning.  

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Greetings garden

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Such a simple idea that I saw today at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop inspired me to think that this could be a really effective whole school community "back to school and language learning" activity.

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I watched a little boy rush to the garden space outside the shop and plant the spoon he had painted.

What about if we created a "Greetings Garden" in our schools?Flower spoons painted and decorated by the wider school community and the staff and the children with colours and patterns linked to a greeting from a language, either spoken in school or at home or a country visited on holiday and its culture. Each spoon could then have the target language greeting written on to the painted spoon. Each decorated spoon is then part of the school "Greetings Garden".   

This could be in a garden outside or in a school sand pit area.It would be an opportunity to invite children , teachers , carers and parents to create their own wooden spoon greetings flowers and to plant them in the school "Greetings Garden".It would make a fabulous Euroepan Day of Languages whole school creative activity too!

Look forward to seeing your ideas! 

  

Sparkling Summer Sentences.

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It's a hot end to the school year. Here is the simplest of last lessons with your primary language learners. Build sparkling Summer sentences and sequences of sentences,appropriate to the age and stage of the learners.

The simple activity will work withh all KS2 primary language learners.You will just adapt the activity depending on the level of the language learner. Children are going to revisit, remember and air write greetings , farewells, simple phrases ,sentences, questions and answers and then draw their own "sparkling Summer sentences" to take home and keep until next academic school year.

As the class teacher you need a magic writing wand or a sparkling pen or pencil. 

On the board, write down sentences that you know the chidren have already met (greetings, farewells, simple questions and answers , feelings and emotions, personal information phrases , specific topic phrases e.g.weather phrases etc).

Ask the children to look at the sentences you have written down and to discuss with a partner what they think the phrases might mean.Take feedback and practise the phrases with the class with magic sparkling air pens. 

Ask the children to try to anticipate your sparkling air pen writing.Write one of the phrases from the board in the air using your magic sparkling wand or pen. Who can guess correctly the phrase etc you have written?

Allocate different words from the sentences on the board to different children in the class.More than one child may have the same word.Ask them to write out their word on white boards and add colour and sparkling shapes to make the word dazzle! Set a time limit of 5 minutes.

Ask all the children to hold up their white boards.Select a phrase or sentence from the board and invite one child to come to the front.Thos child's responsibility is to select other children,who are holding up the different words on their whiteboards that make up the sentence you have chosen from the board.The children selected must come to the front and help to build a whiteboard word chain that shows their words in the correct order to create the dazzling sentence. Ask the class to read aloud ther sentence in their most Summer time dazzling voices.

Select another sentence, another volunteer to organise other children and their whiteboards and repeat the word chain and spoken activity again.

Ask the children to select their favourite sentence and to create a Summer time dazzling sentence with sparkling Summer shapes and colours to take home , keep and read and remember until next school year.

Primary language learning. "PLN" at your service!

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Welcome to the World of Primary Languages Network.We are here to help your school and staff develop the confidence to deliver effective and creative primary languages.Here's what one of our primary schools thinks about the service and resources we offer at Primary Languages Network.

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We are a network of over 250 schools.Primary Languages Network has a dedicated team of primary languages teachers who work in 49 of these schools every week of the school academic year. We teach French ,Spanish and German and can offer support with other languages too. Our intention is to "keep the PRIMARY in language learning".

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Find out more here about our vision and the progress we have made since Janet Lloyd founded the service in 2011. 

From 2011 onwards we have been busy developing the effective service we offer now to support all our network schools.These schools range from beginners and non-specialist linguists to established  and outstanding practice in primary languages' schools. Every school can access over 5,000 resources and benefit from the dynamic and bespoke support we can offer. As primary practitioners we understand the aims,challenges and requirements of the busy primary classroom and school.

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All Primary Languages Network members have access to the PLN virtual learning environment .A one stop shop for inspiration,sharing of work, ideas, seasonal special activities and materials and a comprehensive Scheme of Work.

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Together we have developed a SOW which offers primary schools effective, creative planning and total support with the teaching and learning of primary French and Spanish in KS2 from Year 3 (age 7) to Year 6 (age 11). 

Our intention is to empower teachers to understand the what,how and why of language teaching and learning activities.All our resources are primary focused and have audio and language support for class teachers with little knowledge of the target language.Every lesson plan guides you step by step through the activities. There are games , power point challenges , interactive videos and activities , follow up and consolidation sheets , differentiated tasks and Puzzle It Outs assessments in listening,speaking ,reading ,writing with a focus on progression in language learning skills (one per half term if required) 

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Save your successes and share and demonstrate your progress with the whole school, the wider community and store your outcomes safely in your unique User files on the VLE. The VLE has a mobile APP so you can very quickly take a photo of an activity in class and share and save in the User files.

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Our CPD webinars will help your school and staff bring language learning from the French and Spanish KS2 Ready Made SOW to life. Here are two examples of our webinars this year, devised and led by our PLN primary languages teacher team.

In all our lesson plans we make sure that effective primary stage appropriate progress is built in across all four core skills-listening,speaking,reading , writing , across language learning skills, basic grammar (nouns,adjectives and  basic verbs) and phonics/ phoneme-grapheme transfer. 

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Our proven and refined tracking and assessment tools will help your school assess next steps and keep a record of progress and our network coordinator,Catherine, is on hand by email and pre-arranged webinar to help you with any issues or individual school challenges or requirements. 

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Every year we hold our annual conference and premium members are entitled to a free place at the conference. In 2018 our conference is focusing upon "Making languages sparkle". At every event we make sure that the CPD is valuable and helps schools to reflect on practice , network and share own experiences and leave with next steps and support necessary to achieve these next steps. Here's a taste of our 2017 conference.

As your school progresses take advantage of our Primary Languages Development Award

You can follow us on our Primary Languages Network Facebook page or on Twitter account too.

We look forward to you joining us and thriving as a member of Primary Languages Network.To find out details of our different membership options plus our monthly subscription options or to contact us for more information then just click here. Further details and membership options.