IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Towards a vision statement for Languages and Culture

This project aims to critique and examine current Modern Languages (ML) practice and pedagogy for the teaching of modern languages in London schools.

By maintaining an open dialogue between the PGCE Languages team at IOE and practitioners in schools, we will use discussions, reflections and other outputs to:

  • inform the development of the IOE PGCE Languages’ vision
  • respond to policy and assessment directives in evidence-informed ways
  • ensure the PGCE Languages curriculum is maintained as a beacon of the teaching of excellent, relevant, recent research-informed practice.

Project timeline: January 2022 - July 2030.


Project leads


  • Catherine Ames - Head of Curriculum, Grey Coat Hospital School
  • London Network for Principled Communicative Language Practice
  • PGCE Languages partnership schools/Subject mentors
  • PGCE Languages Alumni.

In England, central government policy directives for both Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Modern Languages (ML) as a secondary school curriculum area have led to a recent focus on curricular narratives and rationales. 

During this period of centralised direction, both in terms of what and how we teach, it is essential that subject experts review their practice to be able to present a research-informed curriculum rationale/narrative with confidence. 

IOE is the largest ITE Provider in the country and, as such, has a responsibility to be involved in the conversation about what constitutes best practice in second language teaching and learning. 

Professor Li Wei addressed the national ITE ML subject community in July 2021 - see the presentation Expanding Horizons for Modern Language Education in Schools (PDF) - and followed it up with an article in the subject association’s magazine entitled No dogma.

Partnerships with schools sit at the heart of our work and so we want to collaborate with our school practitioners to write our vision and to support them in doing the same for their own teams.

We are establishing shared understandings across the IOE languages teaching community. They in turn are reinforcing our vision as they train our student teachers. 

This project also contributes to UCL’s vision of teachers as enquirers as we encourage teachers to ask questions and collaborate as we seek answers together.


Dr Catherine Ames at Grey Court Hospital School sought to work with us, as she shared our desire to determine ideas relating to best languages teaching and learning practice in London’s multi-cultural and multi-lingual schools. 

Along with her, and our contacts, we launched an initial 'hub' of schools to explore what we understand by principled communicative practice. 

A vision statement was composed, which was shared across the 'hub', and consequently with our 2021-2022 cohort of partnership schools. The 'hub' developed into the London Network of Principled Communicative Language Practice.

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PGCE Languages Subject Mentors, meeting July 2022. Photo by Caroline Conlon and Camilla Smith (IOE).