Please note that the information provided below applies to the 2020-21 academic year. Guidance for assistants taking part in the 2021-22 programme is subject to change, particularly the timelines involved, and we will update this page with the relevant information as soon as possible.

Appointing a language assistant is similar to appointing a member of staff, there are various HR and administrative tasks that need to be completed to ensure they transition well into your institution and local community.

Before the language assistant arrives

To help prepare for the arrival of your language assistant, the below tasks need to be completed between the months of June and August.

Read application dossiers

Host institutions or the local authority will receive (via email) the application dossiers of their language assistant(s).

The documents will be used throughout the academic year. Please save these documents.

Appoint a contact and mentor

Institutions must appoint a main contact for the language assistant to help coordinate any administrative tasks and answer questions.

Host institutions must also appoint a 'mentor teacher' to each assistant. The mentor will be responsible for welcoming the language assistant and helping with their integration into the workflow.

We recommend that the mentor is a member of staff who will be working closely with the language assistant and is willing to take responsibility for supporting the assistant and completing any necessary paperwork. 

Offer the role

The role should be offered to the language assistant at the institution/local authority for the upcoming academic year.

Send assistants an offer letter by email (we will provide a template for this). If your language assistant requires a visa to come to the UK (as is the case for any non-UK/non-Irish citizens according to current UK government guidance), the candidates will require this offer letter in order to apply for their visa.

If you are sharing a language assistant, please plan thoroughly to ensure the sharing arrangements are suitable for all institutions. It is also important to ensure timetables and travel arrangements for language assistants are reasonable and agreed with the language assistant.

Please keep in touch with your language assistant(s) in the months prior to their arrival to help them plan any accommodation, travel etc.

After the language assistant arrives

There are a number of HR and administrative tasks which should be completed within the language assistant's first week of appointment. This will include completing the relevant police check, applying for a National Insurance number, and completing any payroll-related paperwork.

Host institutions will be sent guidance on these processes over the summer and further information can also be found in our MLA Information Booklet for 2020-21.

Induction day

Assistants will be invited to an induction day and are strongly encouraged to attend. We provide comprehensive information regarding the programme as well as classroom activity suggestions and useful teaching methods.  It is also a chance for assistants to meet other language assistants in their local area to create support networks.

Chinese language assistants will attend a specific induction meeting in London on arrival.

Observation period

Institutions are encouraged to observe language assistants and offer advice where necessary. After initial observation classes which usually last between one and two weeks, assistants will take on their full role as a Modern Language Assistant. 

Please make sure a Statement of Employment (contract) is provided to your assistant - we will provide a template for this.

Before the language assistant leaves

Before the assistant leaves, there may also be some administrative tasks to complete. These may include closing UK bank accounts, claiming any overpaid tax, requesting a reference letter, or completing an end-of-year evaluation. Some further information on these processes can be found in our MLA Information Booklet for 2020-21.