Background to the Department for Education (DfE) Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Programme


MFL Hubs were first announced in the DfE social mobility action plan (pdf), published in December 2017, that states:

“In particular, we will make it our mission to improve access to high quality modern foreign languages subject teaching, particularly for disadvantaged pupils, drawing on the findings of the Bauckham review – building expert hubs to share best practice, targeted in disadvantaged areas.”

The DfE identified 280 high performing schools in languages that met specific criteria regarding GCSE languages entry and attainment and schools performance data, outlined below:

  • Above average P8 and A8 in 2016 and 2017;
  • Ofsted outstanding or good;
  • EBacc entry rates of 38.2% or higher in 2017, which was the national average for state-funded schools;
  • EBacc attainment at grade 5/C of 21.3% or higher in 2017, the national average for state funded schools.

And either:

  • GCSE languages entries of 75% or higher in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and at least average proportion of A*/A grades in 2017 (23%);


  • Have increased their GCSE languages entry by at least 15% since 2011, have at least 60% languages entry in 2017 and at least average proportion of A*/A grades in 2017 (23%).

In March 2018, the 280 schools were sent Expression of Interest (EOI) documents with an invitation to submit an EOI by May 2018.

54 EOIs were received and evaluated by a panel and 18 schools were invited to interview.

Nine Lead Schools were selected to lead the Hubs. Each Hub comprised of 5 schools: 1 Lead School and 4 Hub Schools, which were selected by the Lead School. For information on the schools, see the Language Hub School Network web page.

Centre of Excellence

The DfE published a Prior Information Notice in late February 2018 announcing the open procurement process for a Centre of Excellence to implement an MFL Hub programme.

The one-step bidding process was opened with an Invitation to Tender (ITT) on 5 July and closed on 6 August. A selection panel reviewed the bids and The University of York and The Cam Academy Trust was successful.

In December 2018 the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy (NCELP) was launched.

Read more about NCELP.