WoLLoW is an exciting new curriculum aimed at putting joy and fun at the heart of languages teaching for children in KS2 and KS3.

WoLLoW – World of Languages and Languages of the World.

The WoLLoW resources and lesson content have been created to encourage children to be curious about languages, to understand the links and see the patterns between languages, and to help them to think about how a language works. We want pupils on the WoLLoW programme to love words and love how their own language works. The goal is for WoLLoW pupils to be filled with the wonder of how languages intermingle, how they have built on each other and how they enhance our lives.

Why Use WoLLoW?

WoLLoW aims to inspire, encourage and excite pupils in junior schools and the first years of secondary school to:

  • be curious about language and languages, their history and their diversity
  • understand the links and see the patterns between languages
  • think about how a language works
  • develop skills in learning, reading, writing and hearing both in English and other languages
  • see how languages relate to other topics of study, for example history, geography and science.

What is WoLLoW?

WoLLoW is a curriculum package for primary and secondary schools, which teaches children the history, culture and development of all languages and how they have shaped our lives. WoLLoW uses ideas and activities from a range of different subjects and helps pupils to understand patterns of grammar, uses of script and how learning through language can help shape their understanding of the world.

The primary and secondary courses run for a year and are aimed at one lesson per week. Resources are free to download, are flexible and can be adapted to suit the skills of your teachers and the needs of your learners.

What Inspired WoLLoW?

The teaching of ancient and modern languages in this country – whether European or Asian – is, at best, problematic and, at worst, declining towards extinction.

There is no question that the English language is remarkable – the product of conquest, migration and empire, combining words – and grammar – from Celtic, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Norman French, Latin (again), ancient Greek and the languages of the British Empire. However, the result is that the teaching of English can become mired in technical, and wearying, language.

WoLLoW challenges this. The curriculum draws on the rich diversity of our multi-cultural and multi-lingual society here in Britain to help inspire a love of language and address the following key issues:

  • The decline in the number of pupils learning languages nationally.
  • The fragmented and disjointed way in which languages are taught in junior and senior schools, both in the independent and state sector.
  • The lack of co-ordination between departments in schools which are teaching languages, English, Modern Foreign Languages and Classics.
  • The failure of our schools to see and use the remarkable linguistic diversity of our pupils, many of whom are bilingual, if not trilingual: EAL is seen as a problem whereas it could be a remarkable opportunity.

How is WoLLoW Taught?

WoLLoW has been developed through the partnership and collaboration of language teachers and experts in their field from a range of state and independent junior and secondary schools, to create a dedicated curriculum for pupils in KS2 and KS3, with the following aims:

  • to encourage a curiosity about language and languages, where they came from, how they developed and are developing, and how they are related.
  • to help pupils to understand how languages work in terms of grammar and thereby to provide a foundation for the study of specific languages at secondary level.
  • to develop the capacity to learn languages, including English, by encouraging thought about etymology, the similarities between languages etc.
  • to link the teaching of languages with other aspects of the curriculum.
  • to enable pupils who have a rich linguistic history to bring that history into the classroom.

WoLLoW offers a comprehensive range of resources, lesson content and schemes of work, both for pupils and teachers, which explore:

  • the history of the English language and the history and etymology of English words.
  • the relation of English to other languages, in particular Germanic languages, Romance languages and Indo-European languages.
  • the ways in which different languages work in terms of grammar, syntax, idiom.
  • the creation and decipherment of codes and artificial languages.

I have crossed an ocean
I have lost my tongue
from the root of the old one
a new one has sprung

Poem by Grace Nichols, a Guyanese immigrant

What pupils are saying

“I like the fact that there are so many languages in our county that we get to experience every single day but never normally take the time to see. WoLLoW opens your eyes to that.”

WoLLoW gives you a better understanding of the world around you and it opens your eyes to the fact that there are so many other cultures and languages”

“It was brilliant”

“I like learning about the diverse languages around the world and how different they are to English”

“I learn lots of things about different languages like Latin and Greek, and the lessons are very fun.”

“I like learning about the different languages around the world and how different they are to English”

“It was lots of fun and I loved seeing that I know more languages than I thought”

WoLLoW gives you a better understanding of the world around you and it opens your eyes to the fact that there are so many other cultures and languages”

What educators are saying

WoLLoW offers more of an open-ended ‘let’s find out together’ approach which really drives learning and generates discussion. It gives me as a teacher a lot more confidence and it energizes me to see the children responding so positively and engaging so brilliantly. WoLLoW facilitates deeper, more meaningful discussions about language. I feel that WoLLoW has brought some direction and vision which has been absent from languages teaching for some time.”

Elliot Thorne, Year 6 Teacher, Avenue Junior School

“It’s great to see the children so responsive and curious; they are looking at the links between other languages, and their own languages they speak at home and also the languages that they know from school. They are also linking WoLLoW with other subjects they are learning like geography, history and biology.”

Georgina White, Form Teacher at West House School, Birmingham

“The lesson on ‘Yodaspeak’ was lovely to teach. Very clear and useful resources, that were easy to use. It was very interesting and engaging for pupils”

Falina Richardson, MFL Teacher

“Your ideas are a breath of fresh air to me”

Joan Dickie, Discovering Language

“I have not previously encountered such a rich and deep curriculum experience for pupils embarking on their journey learning about language and languages; this ground-breaking approach cannot fail to develop a lifelong appreciation of what the place, value and role of languages has in the world today. It is the perfect preparation to help all language educators create successful linguists in the future.”

Suzanne O’Farrell, ASCL

Who are we?

Profile picture of Abigail Dean

Abigail Dean

Modern Foreign Languages specialist, Norwich School & Co-Founder of WoLLoW

Abigail Dean is a teacher of French and German at Norwich School. She studied Politics and German at the University of East Anglia. She is an active contributor to the course content and resources on this site.

“Lessons are fun, accessible and enjoyable for all pupils regardless of their language, linguistic or literary ability. They are engaging and spark curiosity and a conversation. Teaching WoLLoW is the best part of my week.”

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John Claughton

Retired headmaster, King Edward’s School Birmingham & Co-Founder of WoLLoW

John Claughton was Chief Master at King Edward’s School for 10 years. He was a pupil at King Edward’s himself, and went on to complete a Master of Arts at Merton College, Oxford. He received a Double First in Classics and has written two books for CUP, Herodotus and the Persian Wars, in addition to a translation of Aristophanes’ Clouds. He retired in 2016.

“We want WoLLoW to encourage children to really think about languages; to be curious about language, to understand the links between languages and to see the patterns they create. We also want them to think about how a language works.”

Steffan Griffiths

Headmaster, Norwich School & Co-Founder of WoLLoW

Steffan Griffiths joined Norwich School in September 2011. After reading Classics at University College, Oxford, he taught at Tonbridge School (1995-1999) and Eton College (1999-2006). In 2006, he was appointed to the role of Usher (principal deputy head) at Magdalen College School, Oxford. Steffan also holds a first-class honours English Literature degree from the Open University.

WoLLoW is an attempt to try and put joy and fun at the heart of our languages teaching for children in Key Stage 2 and 3. We want pupils to love words, to love how their own language works and to be filled with the wonder of how languages intermingle, how they have built on each other and how they enhance our lives.”

Profile picture of John Wilson

John Wilson

Head of Modern Languages and Director of Partnerships, Cheadle Hulme School

A Spanish specialist, he is also Partnerships Lead for The Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association. Outside of teaching, John is co-founder of a charity, Cricket Beyond Boundaries, and loves dividing his time between this, his family and rugby (both codes).

Thank you to James Livesey (a Norwich School pupil) for website creation and maintenance.

Get to know us

We are a group of educators who provide a solid understanding of how languages work, teach about the history of language, and foster an appreciation of both modern and classical languages.


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