If you have been accepted to be a language assistant in a UK school, find information and resources below to make your assistant placement a success.

Prepare for your arrival

An information booklet for language assistants in UK schools is available to download from the bottom of this page. It contains all the information you should need for your placement, such as arranging travel, visas and accommodation, and sorting out payment and taxes, as well as information about your role as a language assistant, settling in, and life outside work.

Set up a project during your placement

Former language assistants have found that one way to make an impact during their placement is to organise a language-based learning project to engage and inspire students as well as show the relevance of learning a language.

A project is a sequence of activities that you carry out in class over a number of weeks that will lead to a visible product or outcome at the end.

Any language assistant can set up a project, but it is important to get agreement from your mentor teacher and the teachers you work with first.

In Scotland, the British Council works with SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages) to provide extra support for language assistants undertaking a project.  

Below you will find popular projects implemented by former language assistants that should easily fit in with most departmental programmes of study.

Project examples

Drama

Establish a drama club and produce a play in the target language.

Culture in a box

Organise an exchange of parcels with a class in your country of origin.

Pen pal

Establish (or build on) an existing link or a partnership in one of your allocated schools with a school in your home country (perhaps your old high school).

There are numerous ways of encouraging students to learn each other’s language, e.g., through the creation of a bilingual magazine, the joint writing of a story, or an exchange of PowerPoint slides about a topic of mutual interest, such as a ‘typical’ school day, current fashion trends etc.

eTwinning

eTwinning offers a platform for all staff working in a school in one of the European countries involved to communicate and collaborate, develop joint projects, share ideas and be part of the most exciting learning community in Europe.

You can use the eTwinning platform, which is supported by the British Council, for the Culture in a box or Pen pal projects. One of the teachers at the school you are working in will need to open an eTwinning account and allow you to have access.

Interdisciplinary project

Turn your knowledge about other subjects into a project that lets pupils experience the relevance of language learning, e.g. subtitling, radio shows etc. Find out more and get some ideas together.

Education packs

Take a look at our education packs to help you design your project.

Language leaders

Ask your teacher if they would support you in training senior pupils to promote language learning to pupils in a local primary school or to Year 7 / S1 pupils.

Competitions

Why not persuade your teacher to enter a group of students, or a whole class, to one of the many language-based competitions? 

The British Academy Schools Language Award is a UK wide competition to encourage the learning of languages. In England and Wales the Foreign Language Spelling Bee for Year 7 is very popular.

In Scotland, there is the AMOPA speaking competition (for Advanced Higher students of French) and for pupils in S1-S3 there is Word Wizard, the final of which is held at the Scottish Parliament.

Lastly, pupils in their senior years with an ambition to work in translation might be inspired by the Juvenes Translatores organised by the European Commission.

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