Education Endowment Foundation:Foreign Language Learning in Primary School

Foreign Language Learning in Primary School

Implementation cost
Evidence strength
Impact (months)
Project info

Independent Evaluator

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The Institute of Education

Testing the link between a structured foreign language learning approach and literacy development.

Schools: 40 Grant: £200,000
Key Stage: 2 Duration: 1 year(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed January 2014

The Foreign Language Learning (FLL) programme aimed to improve the English language attainment of Year 3 and 4 pupils through a detailed curriculum of weekly French classes with linked activity in English lessons. The programme, created by the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT), lasted for three half-terms. French classes were 45 minutes long and the linked activity required an additional 15 to 30 minutes of English class time per week. Teachers were provided with detailed lesson plans and three days of training in delivering the curriculum.

The project was a randomised controlled trial. 46 schools participated, mainly from Greater London, the South East, and the North East of England. 169 individual classes in the 46 schools were randomised to receive either FLL or business as usual. The process evaluation involved observations of the teacher training, observations of the lessons, and interviews with teachers. The trial took place between January 2014 and March 2015. The project specifically evaluated the impact of the particular FLL curriculum with its linked English literacy activity. Some children in the control group also did foreign language lessons, but without the FLL curriculum and the linked English activity.

ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
English Language
Months' progress
English Language FSM pupils
Months' progress