LGfL Primary Modern Languages

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27th October 20
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Trail : home / Foreign Language Assistants (FLAs)

Foreign Language Assistants (FLAs)




IN 2015-16 (Flyer sent to schools in March)

Further to the flyer from the British Council sent to schools in February giving full details about the Foreign Language Assistant Scheme, I am writing to invite applications from all primary and secondary schools in the county for the service of foreign language assistants to support primary and/or secondary modern languages teaching. If you would like to employ one or more FLA, please complete and return the attached form. We will then collate the overall numbers of requests and send a composite return to the British Council. In June, the British Council will send me the requested number of FLA dossiers, which I will then send out to schools.

Key points to note are:

·     Assistants are employed for a core period of eight months (October - May), but this can be extended by mutual agreement between the school(s) and the assistant(s).  Additional pro-rata payments are then appropriate.  This pertains to French, German, Italian,   Chinese  , Japanese and Russian FLAs.                                   


·     Schools can employ more than one FLA if they so wish.  The current minimum gross annual allowance is £7,030 (exclusive of the employer's NI contribution).  The rate for 2015-16 will be announced by the DfE in August/September, and may or may not change this year.  A maximum of 12 hours work per week per assistant is assumed.  Schools must guarantee this payment, even if a full 12 hours work is not offered.


·     Schools may wish to share assistants. The British Council says that one assistant should not however be shared between more than three high schools/colleges. Some high schools share FLAs with primary schools, or primary schools share with each other. Where primary schools are involved, the British Council advises that there should be no more than three institutions sharing (i.e. one high school with up to two primaries, or clusters of up to three primaries). Sharing arrangements should be agreed and set up locally by the schools concerned, with one of the schools agreeing to act as the lead school. If assistants are to be shared, the lead school only should return the attached form giving the names of the partner school(s).


·     FLAs are usually students rather than qualified teachers. As such, they must not be used to teach whole classes (e.g. to provide PPA cover). It is important to have a ‘named’ person in the school, who will make initial contact with them, help them to settle in to life in an English school and assist them in finding their way through any bureaucracy. Schools should also be prepared to help FLAs find accommodation.


·     Where primary schools are planning to employ an FLA, I would advise that, to get good ‘value for money’ and to help ensure the arrangement is successful, the school should have the following:


o   existing experience of teaching languages or alternatively a well established plan for their introduction and the role the FLA will play

o   arrangements for pastoral support and for the FLA to gain some insight into the primary curriculum

o   consideration given to any transport issues for the FLA to travel between schools involved in sharing and the potential costs

o   consideration given to the amount of time the FLA will spend in each school (if shared) and the timetabling of this


·     Schools may also need to help their FLA find some accommodation, though are not expected to provide it for them!


·     If schools share an assistant, it is important to agree the proportion each school will pay, as county personnel staff will arrange for them to be payrolled and individual school budgets charged. Please give an initial indication of the proportion each school intends to pay on the return. Schools may wish to revise this later however.


·     With the exception of French assistants, the British Council does not allow schools to employ existing assistants for a 'second' year, as there is always a shortage of placements and new applicants have to be given preference. If schools wish to employ a French FLA for a second year, please indicate this on the attached form. Should any assistant currently working in your school wish to work a second year as an assistant but not in your school, they should complete a British Council form which they will send directly to the FLAs. Please let us know about this separately.


·     If you wish to employ a named individual as an assistant (e.g. because of a town twinning link, etc.) please provide the details on the form. The British Council will then take this into consideration, when they send us the FLA dossiers> There is however no guarantee this can be arranged


·     It is important that you are confident that you will have sufficient funding available to pay them. Should you need to withdraw or change your initial request, it is vital you let us know as soon as possible, so that these young foreign nationals are not disappointed at the last minute. Please contact the Service AdminTeam on the above number. 


·    Once schools have submitted a request to us, we collate numbers and send these to the British Council. Then, in June we receive a set of FLA dossiers, which we then allocate to schools. Schools then make direct contact with the FLA to confirm their appointments


·    Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the scheme, please contact the Service Admin Team on 01772 531904.