Photo of a modern language assistant in the classroom

Modern Language Assistants are speakers of French, German, Irish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish who can help students in the UK build their cultural capital by developing their linguistic and cross-cultural skills. A real life foreign language speaker is an additional resource for you in the classroom giving context to language learning, talking about their experiences in their home culture and inspiring students to develop their ability to communicate their own world views. 

Insight shows that a foreign language speaking assistant makes a significant difference to language teaching, exam results and learning outcomes. In our 2020-21 programme review, 98% of hosts schools saw improved standards in listening and speaking and 99% would recommend the programme

The British Council can help you with the process involved in selecting and hosting a language assistant.

Introduce a modern foreign language assistant to your classroom to enhance language learning and enrich pupil experience. With our flexible options and support, we want language assistants to work for you.

[the Chinese language assistant] is just playing such a huge and significant role. It means that we’ve been able to do some really interesting extra things in our class. We’ve brought in some qigong calligraphy and a lovely tea ceremony that she puts on once a month." Keri Bosley, director of learning and achievement for languages at Crickhowell School in Wales.


Applications for the 2023-24 academic year closed on 30 April 2023 (for Chinese Language Assistants, applications closed on 31 March 2023). Applications for the 2024-25 academic year will open in early 2024.