Empty classroom
Language Assistants: What is their role?

Their role is to bring language and culture alive in the classroom and across the school community, motivating students to learn and develop their understanding of the world around them.

Language Assistants can be employed to: 

  • work together with a teacher in the classroom
  • work on their own with small groups of students to introduce basic language or improve linguistic ability, with a focus on oral skills.
  • help to prepare pupils for oral examinations
  • contribute to cross-curricular work in collaboration with other subject areas
  • develop lesson plans and extra-curricular activities (e.g. lunch time clubs) focussed on their country’s culture, suited to particular age-groups
  • support the creation and/or development of an international partnership with a school in their country

Language Assistants can undertake exercises in reading, comprehension, pronunciation, dictation and oral composition, and may also contribute to international projects.

As the majority of Language Assistants are not trained teachers, they should not be asked to take sole responsibility for a whole class, deal with discipline issues or mark students’ work.


When will my Language Assistant start work?

The standard period of appointment is from:

  • 1 October 2014 to 31 May 2015 in England and Wales
  • 1 September 2014 to 31 May 2015 in Scotland and Northern Ireland 

This period may be extended for up to a month either side of the appointment by mutual consent. The Language Assistant must be paid for any extra work pro-rata.

Can Language Assistants be shared with other schools?

If a Language Assistant is shared between two or three institutions a host school must be appointed to: 

  • be the principal point of contact for personnel matters
  • co-ordinate requests for the Language Assistant's presence
  • draw up the Language Assistant’s timetable and assist with travel arrangements
  • arrange full payment for the Language Assistant and request reimbursement from partner schools.

When drawing up sharing arrangements and timetables, you are asked to ensure that travel between schools does not become unreasonable for the Language Assistant. Where local public transport is limited, you should consider offering lifts to or from school. Where the Language Assistant is required to travel to more than one school on the same day, the schools involved (or the local authority where applicable) should reimburse the assistant’s additional travel expenses.