The National Curriculum and the Principles

The Principles fit very closely with key aspects of the new National Curriculum for MFL. You can download a grid here showing the connections, and how the Principles are central to the NC objectives for both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.

Below you will find further materials that have been created for CPD sessions funded by the DfE regarding listening, oral interaction, communication strategies, reading and writing.


The new National Curriculum has a strong emphasis on understanding language from a range of authentic sources, as well as on exploring the patterns and sounds of language. To address these aspects of the NC needs a particular focus on developing learners’ listening skills, in KS2 and KS3. Download a presentation here with important messages regarding listening and some suggestions for activities for both Key Stages.

Vocabulary Learning

The new National Curriculum also emphasises the need to develop a broad and deep level of vocabulary knowledge across Key Stages 2 and 3, moving from familiar to more complex language.  Download a presentation The teaching and learning of vocabulary that includes important information on the importance of vocabulary learning and research evidence related to vocabulary teaching and learning.

Oral interaction
In the new National Curriculum there is strong emphasis on learners saying what they want to say and speaking spontaneously by the end of Key Stage 3. The foundations for this need to be started in Key Stage 2, by equipping learners to ‘engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help’. They also need to be familiar with the sounds and patterns of the language.

Key Stage 2
Click here  for a presentation by Alison Porter on  Articulation, phonology, intonation, accent  and how they link with the Principles for Oral Interaction

Sue Cave presents here some practical activities for teaching French phonology in the primary school (or early secondary school)

Barbara King talks about input, output and interaction at Primary level, why these are important for developing speaking skills and how they relate to the National Curriculum, and also to the Principles (click here for her presentation). This includes examples of what they would look like in practice.

Catherine Spiers’ presentation here gives ideas for further practical activities for encouraging talk.  A further file with yet more ideas to encourage young pupils to talk in the target language is also available.

Key Stage 3
Deirdre Burrell gave a presentation that drew on materials available from Rachel Hawkes’ webpage (including her ‘Creativity Talks’ Powerpoint). To go directly to Rachel’s many presentations on developing spontaneous speech, click here:

Sarah Rae outlines here some teaching approaches to support learners in speaking spontaneously. Teaching Communication Strategies (linked to Principle 5) is covered in two presentations, one from Deirdre Burrell and this one from Sarah Rae.

Sam Owen gave a presentation here on the lessons learnt using CLIL on a school trip to Spain. Alongside Biology and Geography tasks, the students worked in Spanish, with the objective of improving student confidence when speaking in the target language and their quality of language.


Our first sessions on reading began with looking at the importance of decoding (i.e. matching a word’s written and spoken form) for reading in a foreign language. For Key Stage 2, Alison Porter gave a presentation French phonics and reading, linking research and practical ideas. Debbie Bell and Lindsay Smith provided this handy summary of classroom activities and a phonemes card activity. They also provided this Word run resource for work on graphemes in phonics.  A Smart board file is available to accompany Debbie Bell’s resources but it can’t be uploaded to this site because of the file type. If you would like a copy, please email Suzanne Graham:

Looking at reading literary and other challenging texts at Key Stage 3, Robert Woore and Caroline Wilton presented a wide range of information and ideas about the importance of decoding and how to teach it. Caroline’s presentation “Der Panther” shows how she put these ideas into practice using a German poem with a year 8 class. Robert’s presentation “Reading and decoding” links very closely with the ideas presented under the Reading and Videos pages on this website. This “Decoding activities” powerpoint is another excellent resource for KS3.

In the second session on reading, for both Primary and Secondary sessions the focus was on helping learners develop strategies for comprehension and responding to reading. Alison Porter’s presentation combines research insights and practical examples for the Primary classroom. Lindsay Smith’s presentation presentation has lots of ideas for reading and writing activities across Key Stage 2, using a framework of progression being implemented in some schools in Wokingham.

For Key Stage 3, Suzanne Graham and Caroline Wilton gave a presentation on how to help learners access the meaning of texts and ways of exploiting them. For other ideas, see the Reading tab and also this contribution from Deirdre Burrell using Jacques Brel’s song ‘Madeleine’. These tick sheets in French and in German could be used for modelling and practising comprehension strategies (Spanish to follow in due course).


Our final twilight sessions focused on using grammar for communication. Louise Courtney and Sue Cave worked with Primary language teachers, giving insights into some important points regarding how beginning learners acquire grammar and practical activities for teaching grammar. Download the presentations here and also here. An action grammar activity to recall meanings of word classes is available here.
For Secondary teachers, Ernesto Macaro and Suzanne Graham led a session on grammar and writing, emphasising the importance of understanding how grammar develops in learners, and linking back to Principle 7 and its associated materials.


Our final event for the year was a half-day event on Transition, where we returned to all the Principles and underlined how they can be used to form the backbone of a coherent and principled curriculum across the Key Stages. Sarah Rawlings led a discussion on the key issues to consider when planning transition work between primary and secondary schools. The presentation can be found here. Participants then worked in groups to share ideas about what a Transition Document or Policy might contain. A summary of those ideas can be found here.

Suzanne and Louise also gave a presentation on their findings regarding transition at the NALA annual conference, July 2015.  You can download it here.

At the Transition event at the end of our second year, we considered assessment for Year 6 and at the start of Year 7, looking at a range of possible assessment materials. These can be found here:

Reading Comprehension      Pupil role play card A    Pupil role play card B

For the Reading Aloud Test see the Assessment section of this website.

Sue Cave revisited the Transition information documents we developed last year for reporting overall information about learners moving to secondary school. The version she presented can be found here: KS2-KS3 Transition Information

We also had sessions on differentiation in Year 7 as a key aspect of successful transition, drawing on some preexisting materials, for example this one from West Sussex.  Teachers attending the afternoon developed further ideas for differentiation in Year 7, which you can access here as a way of Rethinking year 7 MFL teaching.

Barbara King led a session on using the text Un Lion à Paris with Year 6 learners as a bridge into Year 7, drawing on resources that can be found here and also at the excellent ALL site.

Leading languages in the primary school

Barbara King’s presentation for KS2 languages co-ordinators prompts discussion of 6 areas of concern  to primary language coordinators: staffing; time; assessment , monitoring and reporting; transition and transfer; curriculum planning and resourcing; which language to teach.  You can download it here.