These are exciting and challenging times to lead in Languages. 

This course will consider what excellence in a Languages department looks like, and the role of the Head of Languages in helping to achieve and maintain such excellence. It will examine strategies for successful recruitment of students, for optimizing teaching and learning, for managing teachers experienced and inexperienced, and for establishing and maintaining a position for Languages within a school. It will conclude with an overview of what the working year of a Head of Languages involves, and of the opportunities and challenges the job presents at various stages in its life cycle. It will offer constructive, pragmatic advice derived from experience, and will aim to incorporate lively discussion and question-and-answer sessions. Delegates will leave equipped with effective practical strategies and ideas

This course is designed for current Heads of Languages and for anyone interested in holding such a position or in contributing to the management of a Languages department.



  • Considered what makes a Languages department excellent, and the role of the Head of Languages in achieving excellence
  • Looked at a range of strategies for improving and maintaining recruitment of students
  • Looked at ways in which a Head of Languages can develop and improve teaching and learning within the department
  • Enhanced their ability to lead, support and nurture teachers in the department
  • Examined the yearly workload of a Head of Languages and the life cycle of the job
  • Reflected on strategies for dealing with the challenges and making the most of the opportunities presented by a Head of Languages position
DATE & LOCATION  London | Friday 24 June 2022
London | Friday 21 October 2022
  • Heads of Languages Departments
  • Aspiring Heads of Languages Departments
  • Heads of Languages Faculties
  • Senior Leaders responsible for Languages
  • Notes prepared by the educational expert leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

10:00 – 10.30am: What is a successful Languages department?

  • The position of Languages within a school: variables, challenges and opportunities
  • The quality of teaching and learning
  • Managing staff towards happiness and fulfilment
  • Expectations and outcomes: senior leadership, the intellectual environment, public exams and progression to higher education

10.30 – 11.30am: Student recruitment

  • Key Stage 3: curricula to attract and retain students
  • Engaging interest in language work at GCSE
  • Engaging interest in literature work at GCSE
  • Stretch and challenge without intimidation
  • Developing the department as a physical space
  • Beyond the classroom and the curriculum: educational visits and trips
  • Promotion and advertisement using traditional and new media
  • Languages in a digital world

11:30 – 11.45pm am: Morning Break

11:15 – 12:30pm: Leading outstanding Teaching and Learning in Languages

  • Implementing effective strategies to ensure a consistent and effective experience for all learners in light of recent curriculum changes
  • How a Head of Languages can model outstanding teaching and learning
  • Developing curricula and schemes of work
  • Making effective use of assessment and assessment data
  • Understanding when to be restrictive and when to allow creative autonomy
  • Using a range of monitoring tools to track performance, recognise underachievement and motivate learners in order that they meet the needs of the new curriculum
  • Selecting appropriate pathways for learners: recognising exceptional circumstances and balancing the needs of the student and school/college 

12.30 – 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30 – 2.40 pm: Staff Development: How to support and develop your staff.    

  • Strategies for managing your staff, from experienced to inexperienced teachers and NQTs
  • Making observation and appraisal processes as effective as possible
  • Involving others in decision-making, planning and delivery
  • Making the most of departmental meetings
  • How to introduce change: reducing resistance and addressing concerns
  • Developing curriculum expertise in your department
  • Matching your curriculum and your staff and to your team
  • Strategies for maintaining the highest quality of teaching and student performances over time
  • Making the right appointments and coaching for successful performance
  • Professional development: what type, how and who?
  • Implementing and managing departmental systems and paperwork

2.40 – 2.45pm: Afternoon Tea

2.45 – 3.40pm: How it works: the Head of Languages

  • Managing one’s time and workload: variables and the work-life balance
  • The pros and cons of delegation
  • Planning ahead and finding time to do so
  • Preparing for Inspections
  • Department evaluation – driving up improvements to enhance performance
  • Maintaining freshness and enthusiasm: professional and intellectual development
  • Peaks, troughs and the long run: responding to success and failure
  • Working with the SLT; the confidence to champion and compromise

3.45pm depart

Maria O’Neill

Maria O’Neill spent 20 years of teaching Modern Foreign Languages abroad and in the UK. During her career she led Spanish and MFL Departments both in state and independent schools teaching pupils of various ages and abilities. For her commitment to excellence in teaching and learning and outstanding results, she was awarded the status of Advanced Skills teacher which allowed her to make further difference to MFL learners in the LEA through working with Heads of schools, delivering teacher training and contributing to sustainable and innovative MFL curriculum which she presented during DfE learning visits. She is now in the final year of studying for a PhD and sharing her knowledge and experience via training sessions.