What people are saying about NCELP resources and CPD
Former headteacher and primary adviser, Kathryn Wild, shares her experience as an Spanish learner using NCELP
We interviewed Joanna Cairns, NCELP Course Leader, and Head of MFL at Archbishop Temple Church of England High School.
We interviewed Jenny Hopper, NCELP Course Leader, and Head of MFL at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School.
From my initial encounter with the work of NCELP in October 2019, I felt this approach addressed a number of issues facing so many MFL teachers I knew and worked with, including myself. A lack of definition in the content of the curriculum and the resulting episodic learning was leading, time and time again, to inconsistent outcomes, disillusionment and demoralisation for teachers and students alike.
Within the NCELP schemes of work, the rigour of the language mapping and…
Author: anonymous MFL Advisor I recently spent an afternoon in a school with a modern language department. Alongside all MFL teachers in the school, the specialist TA and the two initial teacher trainees also attended the session. I won’t name the school, or the area in which it is located, but it is an ‘improving’ school catering for a generally white working-class area. I know the school and its headteacher quite well. Huge progress has been made there under the current headteacher’s leadership by systematically developing more rigorous curricular thinking and practice, and in growing the expertise of teachers in evidence informed pedagogy. I agreed to spend some time with the MFL team at the headteacher’s…
“I am in awe of the research, meticulous planning and resource making of the NCELP team and the commitment of the course leaders like yourself. In what has become a very challenging teaching context, it really is motivating to be able to share our passion for MFL teaching.“
“I love learning Spanish using NCELP. Their resources are brilliant and help me to learn a language in a way I never imagined I could. I am able to revise for vocabulary tests and know the grammatical rules of Spanish. I am so grateful for NCELP and their work as well as our fantastic Spanish teacher.“
“I loved the phonics bits of lessons. We had such a giggle at first but then realised that we could read anything aloud and sound all right. I tried to teach my dad, but he was hopeless. “
“Excellent. So useful to see it in practice“
“I found the phonics lessons important because it was hard to revise and learn at home (for example I could easily practise reading and writing from the textbook). I also think that pronunciation was quite hard in German because of long and short vowels and the difference in umlaut sounds. Overall, I enjoyed phonics! “
“It was great. Good pace/level for after work training where it got me thinking and reflecting and I learnt new things without my brain hurting and feeling overwhelmed! I also love that we get the slides as there are a couple I will share in department, which demonstrate the rationale. In particular the slide about meaningful activities with the pets nouns/genders task, and the graph about the impact of high frequency vocabulary. Some of my department are still attached to teaching on topics, and concerned that we haven’t taught the usual Y7 basics. So I will use these as a way to demonstrate why the rationale is good and promote discussion. I think doing the task to adapt the traditional tasks so they are more meaningful worked really well and would be nice to get colleagues to do as I think that will make the difference between our old curriculum and NCELP, and why NCELP is better for students as it’s more tangible. It might also improve our shared planning for the higher years who are still doing text book based curriculum. I have looked into the NCELP rationales quite a lot and discussed with Head of Spanish as we are leading on introducing NCELP in the department and are both excited about it and it’s working well. I think as well as learning more about NCELP myself it will help me better articulate new and existing learning about it to SLT, to colleagues, to other schools, other contexts, which will be useful. It was good to hear the trainer’s experiences too as they are further ahead. Thank you“
“As an experienced MFL teacher and subject leader, I would wholeheartedly recommend this course. I really liked the fact that it was split into different sessions, allowing for reflection time and space to trial ideas between them. Our facilitator was knowledgeable and perhaps most importantly, an MFL teacher herself. As such, she could give us some great insight into how the NCELP curriculum design had impacted on the progress of her own students. It was refreshing to feel truly inspired by CPD and it has really made me think about my own approach to curriculum as I look towards the new GCSE and the challenges and opportunities it will bring.“
“It was useful to learn more about what is happening with the development of MFL teaching. I really feel we need to make MFL lessons more engaging.“
“Excellent! I feel so much more confident now as a new teacher and excited about the new GCSE.“
“I really enjoyed the phonics lessons. I found that the phonics helped with my pronunciation especially with letters with umlauts. There were also words where the vowels were shorter and longer so this gave me an understanding of how to say these words.“
“Very thought provoking and helpful to adapt teaching as we move forward!“
“Absolutely blown away by the amount of work that has gone into these resources! Thank you so much!.“
“I wish we still did them. They were very helpful for pronunciation, but it helped me understand words easier. I think it helped my confidence. I loved the pair work tasks when we had to cross off words when we heard them.“
“It was superb. I would be interested in the summer course. Thank you so much.“
“Well delivered and clearly explained.“
“Thanks – a really useful session and great food for thought. As a new MFL teacher whose school is very keen on sentence builders, I’m very interested to hear an alternative approach about the importance of teaching grammar explicitly (as I was taught at school and an approach I personally favour). Also, it’s really interesting that there is a trend for going back to the idea of teaching individual words which can be applied to different contexts rather than ‘chunking’. I wonder if there is space for both approaches to be used alongside each other – or whether they are incompatible? Thanks again – some really interesting stuff. “
“Really interesting approach on the umbrella concept. This is similar to our approach but it has made me think about some of the topics we are doing that perhaps could be changed. I will look at the resources from NCELP to see if we can improve some aspects of our design. Thank you very much!“
“Excellent tips and resources for vocab acquisition – it’s always brilliant to listen to you Rachel as you have some realistic and useful ideas!“
“We have just recently started using your fabulous resources with our Year 7 German group and I have also signed up to the CPD twilights starting in January. We are amazed at what the Year 7s can do already and how confident they are getting in their speaking. My colleague and I have also found that we are using a lot more target language.“
“I have been impressed by the detailed planning of every word, the vision of what the end product will be as far as the resources and the Pedagogy are concerned. The Phonics pillar is a huge success as far as I can see. It has made us wonder why we haven’t done it before. It is helping all other skills. It is perhaps the easiest to use with other materials, has a big impact quite quickly and it is easy to have an overview of it all. It is good to know that the resources are ready made and you don’t have to make yet another PPT but you can’t dip in and out without a real understanding of the approach. The Grammar works. Year 7s can do plural nouns better than Year 11 and I am convinced they will be in a better position at GCSE to tackle a range of task and texts on a variety of topics even if they are not prepared in the usual way. The new approach has given me new energy for teaching MFL. I am enjoying the challenge of a different approach. Teaching phonics and listening to the students’ lovely pronunciation is a joy. Even if they forget some SSCs, I know we can recap and it will work again! It is highly motivating for them and me. Tongue Twisters have become such fun because they can do them
Vocabulary learning is something we have all been doing for ever. The expectation that it should remain in their heads for instant recall is what we have aimed for but the NCELP materials have this built in. The research-based approaches work! “
“We have been using the NCELP resources with our Year 7 and Year 8 German classes this year and are blown away by what our pupils can already do. They are more accurate in their pronunciation and their writing is really accurate and creative!.And all this without teaching them topics! Plus we as teachers are using more target language than ever before so that’s another box ticked. In short, the resources are fab, the kids feel successful and it has truly transformed our teaching!“
“We have been using all of the NCELP resources with our KS3 and they are stunning. The quality of them, the fact that they come with homework, research and explanatory notes is amazing. The included listening is invaluable.“
“I am passionate about this. We’ve lost the path in this country – we do what’s needed to get students through exams with strategies, the ‘frilly bits around the edges’. The NCELP approach has infused all areas of my teaching. Now I’m really teaching languages rather than teaching skills to pass a GCSE.“
“I feel passionate about the pedagogy, and I’m doing lots of training locally. I’ve been told: “it’s not going to work for lower ability”. I said you wouldn’t just take a text book and just use it. NCELP has provided a road map – it’s the teacher’s job to iron out bumps in the road. That is our job – be prepared to adapt for your classes. We are doing it and it’s working and I want to share it. We’re living it in the classroom.“
“It has demystified a lot and revitalised my teaching. I really enjoy empowering others and working collaboratively to share this.
It’s important to ask ‘are the words useful or restrictive?’ Older students have silos of knowledge that they can’t transfer to new contexts.“
“I’ve been asked about students who are going to sit the existing GCSE and if an NCELP-style SoW is good preparation. I have to say yes. Course books don’t have enough phonics, for example. The systematic NCELP approach shines such a light on phonics – I am so impressed with the pronunciation of our current Y8 students. And high frequency vocabulary is absolutely needed for the current GCSE.“
“I’ve loved seeing the rewards in the department, seeing the learning gains in Y8. Progress in the last six weeks has been incredible, they’re so positive about it, too. Previously you might have seen the students like the topic “holidays” more than “school”, but that was nothing compared to the motivation in students to complete learning tasks in class now. They don’t cheat in speaking tasks because they don’t need to, they can do it, and they know they’re making progress.“
“I love it. It’s come maybe 10 years too late in my career, but it’s so amazing that I had to be involved. It’s re-energising the way languages are taught right across a department. I’m teaching it and thinking ‘why have I never done it like this before?’ I am so convinced about the richness of this model.”
“I really believe in this approach. I see the positive effect in my school and our hub schools. I am looking forward to the prospect of spreading it further to lots more schools.”
“After attending the online session last week, at last, I felt excited to be a languages teacher as I have been getting increasingly disillusioned over the last few years – and thinking about leaving the profession. I felt there was some really serious thinking behind the NCELP schemes of work and resources. I have raised with my department here the exciting glimmer of hope you offer the languages world in teaching.”
“It is great seeing what students are now capable of working with, and also how we are slowly transitioning into KS4-style tasks. As always, wonderful explanations throughout all materials. As a teacher, I will be sure to use them with older year groups as well. Danke!”
“I work closely with a previous NCELP Specialist Teacher who is doing great work in reforming our school’s MFL curriculum along NCELP principles. It is really exciting. I can see the progress students are making over time so clearly and it is because of the consistency of the methodology and approach on vocabulary, phonics and grammar. In what is now our second year of working this way I can point to how the materials, with that emphasis on repetition and then retrieval, have really supported to move knowledge into longer-term memory”.
“This was one of the most thought-provoking and useful CPD sessions I’ve attended in a long time! It was a joy to have a session be so focussed on MFL pedagogy, with free resources and assessments, based on the latest research, and all feeding into the forthcoming GCSE syllabus. Clearly explained and modelled, there was lots to take away and discuss with my leadership team – we will be adapting and implementing many of the ideas, our schemes of work and assessments as a consequence. Thank you so much to all involved in the research, the creation of the materials and delivery of the CPD!”
“My team and I are really impressed with the amount of research and careful planning that has gone into the development of the schemes of work and resources. It is reassuring to know that vocabulary and grammar are mapped so carefully to ensure retrieval and retention throughout KS3 and that students will gain confidence in grammar that is at the same time ambitious and manageable. Our students have already responded very positively to these lessons and we are pleased to see that students who were previously disenchanted with languages are suddenly thriving. We look forward to rolling these schemes of work out with other year groups and have high hopes for the future. Many thanks!”
“I just set and marked a piece of free writing to my year 7 French class…and this is why we do it…and this is why it works…and this is why we don’t need topics…and another example of how we can add in words that aren’t on the NCELP SOW if they come up. I told them they could look up a word in the dictionary if they absolutely, desperately wanted to say something – I think she’s looked up about 3?
I’ve never taught them how to give opinions explicitly, yet they can still do it!
Yes, it’s not got fancy subjunctive phrases or si clauses (like some Year 7 sentence builders you see). But can this girl use the French she’s learned since September? – absolutely she can! Can she say what she wanted to (with the vocab that people are worried is ‘limited’)? Absolutely she could! She didn’t have any pre-learnt phrases in front of her whilst writing this – she did it all herself!!”
“I will definitely be drawing on several of these slides in my sessions with incoming MFL trainees over the summer. I find the NCELP presentation of research so accessible, and it’s extremely useful to have so many of the key ideas we use and engage with distilled into a format that’s ‘ready to go’.”
“I wanted to pass on my thanks for the course yesterday led by Rachel and Nick about designing a KS3 and KS4 curriculum. Probably the best course I have ever been to and certainly the one with the most helpful resources. Such exciting food for thought.”
“Taking inspiration from my daughter rewriting fairy stories during an English lesson, I used the MultiLingProfiler to help me rewrite the story ‘La Princesse au Petits Pois’ for World Book Day for my Year 7 French class. I wasn’t sure it would be possible by the end of term one and was surprised that they knew so many relevant words already after following the NCELP SOW. Seeing it brought to life by our ITT for an online lesson was the icing on the cake!”
“In terms of teaching some of the grammar areas such as direct object pronouns/personal ‘a’ sequence and gustar- type verbs with indirect object pronouns, whilst we always made students aware of these things, it was never taught in detail at this level. We have found that it was actually very well received when taught using the NCELP format and has certainly boosted our confidence in approaching these areas.”
“We have been thrilled to have free access to such a well planned and structured scheme of work. The resources are so well organised and easily adaptable for our classes. It has made a big difference to our workload.”
“Really well organised, engaging and easy to follow with a lot of effort put in from teachers. Great to see their enthusiasm about participating in the project and how well their students are doing!”
“Having had some CPD previously on the NCELP schemes of work at ALL Yorkshire/Humber events, I really appreciated seeing the application of the resources by teachers. I would very much like to see NCELP being a nation-wide approach being taken into Key Stage 4. Thank you so much for an excellent conference!”
“The session was helpful and made me realise that with NCELP teaching MFL shouldn’t be stressful or boring but engaging and fun.”
“I thought the presenters were really good – they spoke with knowledge and experience of what NCELP is doing. Real teachers with real experience – this is so valuable.”
“I would just like to say how much we are enjoying using the NCELP resources with our Year 7 French and German classes this year. We have been really impressed with their progress so far and the activities are very enjoyable to teach”
“…Just to also say a big thank you for all the excellent resources you have created on the NCELP Portal. Awesome!
I did start using NCELP resources with my student teachers last year. Hopefully, it will be an effective way of disseminating key principles and ideas, as well as raising awareness across partnership schools of the excellent schemes of work and resources available. Longer-term, it should lead to further collaborative planning and resource creation.
What’s great is having the research, the underpinning principles and extensive resources all in one place. The TRG themes fit nicely into my existing teacher training programme, which can be used for additional pre-session readings and group discussions. I see some of these possibly featuring in my students’ master’s assignments. I will keep you posted.
[The video recordings of lessons on Oak] will no doubt be a fabulous resource, in the absence of student teachers being able to go into schools to observe lessons this semester.”
“… we gave our Year 7s a language aptitude test this year for the first time and used the resource from the February Residential. Thank you for the idea! I planned a lesson around the test for the Department, incorporating some of the other materials from your PowerPoint. Feedback from the other teachers who taught it was really positive and the students were engaged in the pattern-recognition and problem-solving – so thank you very much for the great resources!
We don’t set our Year 7s for languages (-they all do French in their teaching groups and then choose a second language too) but we thought the results of the aptitude test could be useful as baseline data. Thank you!”
“I love your teaching and learning philosophy. I have done all the CPDs and I realised that I think the same and it is wonderful to find support and the space to develop”
“I just wanted to say a big thank you for the wonderful Hub Day Webinar [on 3 July]. It was such a delight to be re-engaged in thinking about the subject I love, seeing all your hard work from the last couple of years, and I am looking forward to trying out new ideas and techniques. I am grateful to all the contributors, and the whole day was incredibly slick, despite remote working.”
“I would like to share with you my complete amazement at the resources you are creating. I have been following your newsletters for a while and only wish my school could have taken part in this pilot project. I fully agree with the way you introduce the language and love the grammar progression which will greatly help students become independent learners and more confident speakers. I intend on starting our Year 7 on your course from September and thank you so much for all the resources that you share. As Head of faculty, it makes my job so much easier.”
“I am amazed at the amount of work that has gone into this, how deeply it is linked to the research and how many resources have been created. I am very much looking forward to teaching in this way. It makes so much more sense than the topics based approach in the first few years of language learning.”
“We’re really pleased we can continue to contribute to this great work. It’s become a significant part of the buzz around teaching and learning in school, within our hub and broader outreach activity locally.”
“I think the KS3 SOW is inspirational! Thank you to everyone for all the resources and CPD information and videos. They are fantastic!”
“The use of NCELP has been extremely beneficial in the delivery of MFL lessons. As a maths teacher teaching Spanish as a 2nd subject I have found the resources that the HoD [who is involved in the NCELP project] has come back with to be extremely helpful.”
“Thank you all so much for all your expertise and efforts – I’m new to HOD in the past 3 months so you’ve opened my mind and inspired me to work on adapting my SOWs and getting my team of teachers on board to the NCELP way of thinking & working.”
“I am very much looking forward to embracing the NCELP Yr 7 French and Spanish Schemes of Work from September in my department. Both myself and my languages team are most passionate about your grammar teaching sequencing, resources and vocabulary lists.”
“There are plenty of different sources where you can find teaching resources but there are just a few where top-quality resources for excellent teaching can be found. In my opinion, one of those top sites is the NCELP portal. I get brilliant ideas on how to help students acquire the language through a quality lesson. It makes my life easier!”
“We know where we are going with the methodology now and are even adapting our Yr 9 and 10 lessons and resources to use NCELP techniques, particularly with vocabulary pre-learning and minimal pairs in grammar to get the key points across.”
“I wanted to say I love all the resources and the work put into them is amazing. We’ve been wanting to change and update our SOW in my school to something more systematic for a while, and this is such a great set of resources for us to start using. I’m really looking forward to using it next academic year.”
“The benefits of adopting [the NCELP Schemes of Work] are a much greater consistency for us all, and better engagement by the students are they really are obliged to work things out for themselves more regularly, rather than only relying on pre-learnt phrases which they either don’t understand or can’t manipulate.”
“We are finding students are more engaged with language as there is a finite, planned vocabulary set to introduce each week and they are able to do more with the language they have learnt.”
“The schools are finding that having ownership over the resource creation and partaking in the process is very rewarding.”
“I taught KS3 Spanish phonics first and it just clicked with all of them. All of a sudden, their confidence has risen and they can attempt every word that they see. They can work out how to sound out words whereas before they were saying: “I don’t know how to say this”. It has completely changed!”
“Our students appear more confident and secure in their language knowledge…The vocabulary taught has also given students more independence and autonomy.”