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Bilingual Strategy 2020 - 2025

Bilingual Strategy Poster(1)

Bilingual Strategy 2020-2025: Update May 2023

It has been a busy year at the Bilingual Primary School with the passing of some important milestones in our 5 year bilingual strategy (2020-2025).

The first 2 years of the strategy:

The strategy was developed during the 2020-2021 school year with a work group comprised of governors including parents, staff and our Canadian bilingual education adviser: Norman Sieweke. The first year was about establishing a clear direction and laying foundations for the development of our bilingual programme towards a 50:50 Spanish English education model by the end of 2025. Last year, we started by embedding changes throughout the school in the teaching of Music and Art through Spanish. This also involved a complete review of our curriculum in each area including professional development for staff in each subject area, investing in resources and lots of opportunities to support, coach and reflect on practice as a team. It was also the first year where the Reception pupils had 50:50 Spanish English provision.

Strategy Photos 1

Developments this year:

This year (2022-2023) the children from our first 50:50 cohort have moved into year 1 and we have been developing a 50:50 Spanish English curriculum for them there. This has been supported by senior leaders; our bilingual consultant and by providing extra release time for staff to plan collaboratively and learn from successes. We started teaching all of our PE throughout the school in Spanish from September and all of the Design and Technology in Spanish from February. Again, this has been accompanied by complete reviews of the curriculum in each subject, investment in resources and professional development activities for all staff.


We also introduced a new model for the teaching and learning of Spanish Literacy across the school. Previously, this had been taught through 2 intensive sessions per week by specialist teachers. The new model involves each class having daily Spanish literacy lessons taught in combination by their class teacher and a specialist bilingual teaching assistant (SBTA), new roles which have developed in each year group this year.


To provide quality learning experiences for pupils and statutory release time for teachers, we created the new roles of specialist teachers for Music, Computing and Spanish Reading. The intention is that all these subjects can be taught through Spanish across the school. Recruiting to these new roles has not always been easy given our high standards for teaching in the school, but we have had great successes in the learning of Music through Spanish. This has facilitated the successful introduction of year group sharing assemblies where pupils have shown their skills in playing instruments and singing in Spanish. The standard of computing learning has also benefited, though this is currently being learned in English. Children have shown great engagement in their Spanish reading, developing and extending their love of books and stories in Spanish. This has helped expose them to wider vocabulary and language structures through engaging narratives that can be worked through in depth.

Collaboration with others:

To further deepen our understanding of quality bilingual learning, explore different models and identify useful resources, myself and our Deputy Headteacher, Jon Bateman, made a flash visit to two established bilingual schools in Madrid earlier in the year. We spent a day each in 2 contrasting schools: the British Council School which has over 80 years of history as a large private bilingual English Spanish school in Madrid, following the English national curriculum; and Felix Rodriguez de la Furente school in Coslada, just outside Madrid, who have over 30 years’ experience in their state funded bilingual school model where they follow the Madrid educational model and curriculum through Both languages, employing some highly creative, innovative methodologies. We have maintained links with both schools and hope to host a reciprocal visit from their staff in future years.


As a result of the early successes of our strategy, a delegation of education leaders from Wales came to visit our school to learn from our innovative 50:50 language model. Though there is a long history of Welsh / English bilingual learning in Wales, their schools tend to focus on either one or other language. To increase accessibility and appeal, they are opening a 50:50 Welsh / English school on a new development in Cardiff and felt that our model would provide answers to their many questions about how this could work.

The delegation came for a day in March including members of the Welsh government, Local authority leaders, and senior staff and governors from the soon-to-open school.

They were suitably impressed by the learning in Spanish and pupils' attitudes and skills in Spanish learning across the school. On seeing the reality against our strategic plan, they commented that they felt we had already surpassed where we intended to be by this stage in developments. They saw classes, looked at books, spoke with children and met with leaders, including our pupil’s leaders in the school council and Spanish ambassador teams.

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During the last couple of years, I have been involved in the development of the Bilingual Learning Association of England which is a new network of schools and educators engaged in bilingual education in the country. We have members from state and private schools as well as academics, consultants and those involved in embassy education. This has helped with school self-evaluation and reflection as well as supporting others and building a platform to ensure that the value of bilingual education in the country is well represented in future. I have also been engaging with the Association of Language Learners and was invited to speak at the first post-covid network event in the City in March.


We constantly monitor the standard of learning in school, including the quality of bilingual education through lesson observations, looking at books, speaking with children and ongoing monitoring of the learning environment. Recent monitoring has shown a marked improvement not only in the children's skills and attitudes across the 4 skills in Spanish, but also in the quality of learning in subjects taught through Spanish. For example, the renewed focus on the teaching of art is evident in the quality of work and clarity of the learning journey in Art sketchbooks across the school. Similarly, the breadth and depth of learning in D&T has clearly progressed since the launch of the revised curriculum taught through Spanish. Staff have shared that teaching through the second language causes them to be even more focussed on the essential skills and concepts of the subject and that the need for clarity and novel repetition ensures that these key learning points are better embedded with the children. This is not to say that this journey has been easy or plain sailing, but the unwavering commitment and motivation of our amazing staff team have ensured that we see success building on success with every step of the development of our ground breaking strategy.

We are looking forward to building on successes so far to take the next steps in the realisation of our strategy and vision towards 50:50 English Spanish learning across the school. We have come so far because of such a dedicated team of staff, governor’s parents and, of course, our fantastic children. Watch this space!

Simon King


The Bilingual Primary School

A Video from Señor Simon King -Bilingual Strategy 2020-2025

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