National Consortium for Languages Education
IOE – Faculty of Education and Society

NCLE celebrates 1st Birthday

What an amazing year!  Advocacy! Achievements! Aspirations! As we celebrate our first year, we would like to share with you some highlights from NCLE and the Language Hubs. And this is just the beginning of the story!

So, what is our story about? Who are the characters involved? And what challenges do we face?

The story takes place in a country where many languages are spoken and whose own language reflects the history and influence of other languages and cultures over time, a popular language that has become the language of adoption of many people across the world.  That is at the heart of the challenge, how to motivate learners to want to learn other languages and to continue learning at least one other language in school after the age of fourteen when languages become optional knowing that the first language of many is a global language. There is another part to that challenge and that is how to convince wider society that languages matter and that through the learning of other languages young people develop skills, attributes and values that transform them, defining the people they are today and the people they become tomorrow – languages shaping the next generation, developing intercultural communication skills, cultural agility, empathy,  critical thinking, autonomy, resilience, creativity, all of which are of value to the individual, to wider society and to future employers.  And more than this, we believe that language learning contributes to social cohesion, harmonious societies and universal understanding. Our mission is about social justice and equity providing opportunities among disadvantaged pupils to study languages.  It involves valorising home, heritage and community languages and improving access to accreditation at GCSE. We are working with primary and secondary schools to improve transition and build positively on children’s prior learning at the age of transfer.  We are focusing on how to refresh and strengthen how we teach the main languages in our curriculum, building on what works and learning from the interplay of theory and practice. In partnership with the Goethe-Institut we are building capacity in the study of German language and culture and redressing the decline that has taken place over too many years.

Our story can be your story!

NCLE is a government-funded consortium led by UCL IOE, Faculty of Education and Society, working together with the Goethe-Institut and the British Council. We have strong and vibrant links with our cultural partners, the Institut Français and the Consejería. We work closely with the Association for Language Learning (ALL) who provide generous support for our work. We continue to establish further links with supplementary education, awarding organisations, and charities and institutes that promote and develop languages education.

We have set up a country-wide network of Languages Hubs with Specialist Teachers who provide high quality subject leadership and professional learning for up to seven partner secondary schools, to primary feeder schools and to schools in their region.

We will soon be launching a Universal CPD e-learning platform providing innovative, research-informed professional learning available free of charge to teachers across the country NCLE Universal CPD E-Learning platform will be launching soon.  Please become part of the ongoing story of the Language Hubs Programme and join our mailing list.

This is how the story began with our Inaugural Language Hubs Specialist Teachers Conference in October 2023 in Birmingham.

Our first conference with the DfE joining our Specialist Teachers and GEMS
Photo: @NCLE

Joined by colleagues from the DfE, 45 hub leads, and specialist teachers came together in Birmingham. The quality of discussion was excellent as we explored system leadership, educative mentoring, principled practice and the relevance of “best bets” to language learning. We focused on the international dimension with the British Council and enjoyed active learning in German through GIMAGINE with the G-I and their GEMS (German Expert Mentors) a nationwide network of German teachers who coach and mentor language-teaching professionals, supply updated teaching resources and materials to reenergise language learning free of charge.

Our NCLE website goes live

We were delighted to launch our new website, where you can explore more about the work with our Language Hubs, our Universal CPD offerings, and the work of our partners.

Our Universal CPD Webinar Series is warmly received

Principled evidence-based practice underpins our professional development, fostering teacher agency and confidence. We offer a diverse range of Universal CPD webinars. Webinars so far this year have included: Capitalising on the Value of All our Languages, by Professor Li Wei; Motivation through Foundational Knowledge, by Honorary Professor Bernardette Holmes and Professor Suzanne Graham; Language Trends 2023, by Vicky Gough, Dr Jayne Duff and Dr Ian Collen.

If you would like to register for any of the upcoming Universal CPD webinar sessions, you can do so by scanning this QR code or visiting our dedicated Universal CPD webinar webpage.

Please see our webpage for more information on the programme: click here, and visit the websites of our consortium partners, the British Council, and the Goethe-Institut.

If you would like to be kept up-to-date on our activities, join our mailing list.

Follow us on social media: @ncle_ioe @IOE_London @Schools_British @GI_London1 @educationgovuk #LanguageHubs

And the story continues …

Language Hubs launch activities nationwide

Photo: @NCLE

We are delighted to share that our NCLE Language Hubs, have formally begun their work with their Partner Schools. To learn more about our Language Hubs, including information on how to contact your local hub, check out the NCLE website here.


Enjoy the birthday highlights from the Goethe Institut


The Goethe-Institut’s German Expert Mentors (GEMs) have been supporting teachers in schools across England since last October, re-energising language learning with free coaching sessions. 32 German departments have already booked GEM support and requests are continuing to come in every week!

The GEMs offer wide-ranging specialisms which are matched with the requirements of each deployment. The most popular request has been for ‘Refresh and Update your Resources’ as schools think about updating their KS3 and KS4 curriculum to meet the demands of the new GCSE.

The Goethe-Institut is now actively recruiting for more GEMs in England, as well as in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The GEMs at their introductory workshop, Goethe-Institut London
Photo: Goethe-Institut London


Programmes for student motivation

Over the past year, our motivational programmes have reached over 7000 students from primary and secondary schools across the country. Our popular Career Roadshows visited London, Bristol, Coventry, Aberdeen, and Nottingham, showcasing the many career and study opportunities that open up with German.

Additionally, we have offered some wonderful workshops and competitions with German authors and celebrities, including a cooking workshop with Maya from Fitgreenmind, a popular German influencer with over 3M followers on social media. Fantastic visits to Germany also gave young people a first taste of German(y), whether it was through creative exchanges in Berlin or football camps in Hamburg.  

Visitors at the Goethe-Institut stand, Career Roadshow at the University of Warwick
Photo: Blue Forest Photography

Exchange2Change – Youth exchange group in Berlin
Photo: @Olad Aden
Cooking workshop with Maya from Fitgreenmind at Channing School
Photo: @David Poultney @In-Press Photography

Support for schools and school leaders

We successfully launched our new programme ‘Vorsprung Deutsch’ which has been designed to address short-term recruitment challenges faced by German departments. To date, over 400 students from seven schools across England have already benefitted from more than 200 hours of dedicated German teaching through the programme.

In addition to this, our efforts have extended beyond the classroom, as we facilitated immersive study tours to Berlin for over 30 key decision-makers within the UK education system. Our targeted engagements have effectively underscored the crucial importance of German and language provisions in schools nationwide, thereby amplifying awareness and advocacy for linguistic diversity in educational settings. 

Goethe-Institut Study tour to Berlin for decision makers from across the UK
Photo: @Goethe-Institut London

Enjoy the wonderful events that have been held with the support of the British Council

Celebrate Speaking!

Picture: Celebrate Speaking

Led by the British Council in partnership with the Association for Language Learning (ALL), we are delighted to have joined this initiative to celebrate t the language skills of the young people across the UK who joined our festival of languages in February. Schools helped to Celebrate Speaking by posting on social media their students speaking, singing and reciting in 34 different languages from Arabic to Yoruba via French, German and Spanish. Over 160 individuals and classes showed off their skills in a language they are learning at school or speak in their community. See for yourself on X by searching #CelebrateSpeaking.

Our judges have picked their favourites who will perform at our live celebration event on 25 April 2024. You can join us online and find out more about the festival.

‘Support for teaching German’ events

We’ve been helping to turn around the decline in the numbers of students choosing to study German at GCSE.

Our Where can German take me? webinar on 28 November introduced four speakers from GCHQ, the FCDO and the British Council talking about their journey learning German and how being able to speak the language has helped them in their career.  The event was aimed at Year 9 options students and was joined by 56 schools, which equates to over 1000 students accessing the live event.

Inspire your students by sharing the recordings of the event and the individual speakers here.

Welcome to German and the German speaking world was a face-to-face pupil event held on 20 March 2024 at Durham University introducing German to primary and secondary school students from the North East of England.

In the morning, 35 students age 9-11 from three primary schools took part in language, culture and craft workshops. Later, in the afternoon, 50 students aged 12-14 from three secondary schools joined us for workshops based around language, culture and music. With the aim to encourage a love for learning languages, especially German, this lively event gave students the chance to engage with language learning in a different way to the traditional classroom.

Want to run your own taster workshops? The resources created for this workshop will be available on our website later this term. Look out for these and other resources on the Support for teaching German webpage.

Photo: @British Council

Valorising Home, Heritage and Community Languages (HHCL)

The NCLE is working with teachers and national organisations to amplify the excellent work already taking place across England, raising awareness of the benefits of multilingualism and jointly finding ways to recognise and support young peoples’ full linguistic repertoires.  This learning is not only limited to the schools within the hub network but will also be shared via the NCLE’s Universal CPD offer.  We are working at every level involving communities and collaborating with embassies to make a difference, changing attitudes to the value of all languages spoken across the country. Coming up on 22 May 2024 will be a session focussing on Polish as a HHCL, with speakers including colleagues from the Polish Embassy and stakeholder groups and Judith Rowland Jones, Head of Curriculum, from the AQA Exam Board exploring ways to support Polish across the country.  Learning from this session will be used to develop future strategies to support all languages.

Sharing with the wider community: NCLE at ALL Language World 2024

Impressions from this year’s ALL Language World Conference 2024 – Photo @NCLE

Make our story your story!

If you would like to register for any of the upcoming Universal CPD webinar sessions, you can do so by visiting our website.

Please see our webpage for more information on the programme: click here, and visit the websites of our consortium partners, the British Council, and the Goethe-Institut.

If you would like to be kept up-to-date on our activities, join our mailing list and don’t forget that our E-Learning platform is launching this autumn. Stay tuned! Feel free to contact us:

Follow us on social media: @ncle_ioe @IOE_London @Schools_British @GI_London1 @educationgovuk #LanguageHubs

Stay up-to-date

We currently offer Universal CPD synchronous webinars and are building a UCPD platform. Sign up to our mailing list if you would like to be kept up-to-date on our activities like this.