Department of Education

Modern Foreign Languages

Course Leader: Clare Stenning

What does the Sussex ITE partnership offer?

You can apply directly to the university to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL). Alternatively, many schools work in partnership with the University to offer School Direct places which also lead to an MFL PGCE award. Either route will prepare you, as a trainee teacher, to teach MFL at Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) with enhancement opportunities in the Post-16 MFL curriculum.

Successful trainees will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Why is Modern Language teacher education distinctive at Sussex?

"A different language is a different vision of life
Federico Fellini

The Sussex Partnership believes that language education matters. Young people need to be prepared for a world where communication with people from other countries and backgrounds is a national imperative. Studying other languages and their culture helps students to develop their understanding of their own language, fosters intercultural awareness and provides a whole host of cognitive benefits that support their wider academic achievement. It also enhances students’ career opportunities.

You have chosen to enter the profession at an exciting time where languages are a statutory element of the primary curriculum as well as an important choice for students at GCSE and beyond. For this reason in the current market, qualified teachers of MFL are particularly employable.

We take trainees from a wide variety of backgrounds and pride ourselves on the high quality programme of bespoke support we give our trainees. Our trainees are inquisitive, critically reflective and motivated to keep learning and improving their practice. They are well-prepared for the realities of teaching, with the confidence, resilience and skills to be innovative, to take risks and be creative.

Trainees appreciate the creative and modern approach to language teaching which enables them to critically and effectively make progress in planning, teaching and assessing successful language lessons. Our university based sessions are led by outstanding experienced practitioners from local schools as well as by university teacher educators who will share their enthusiasm and professional knowledge to provide you with opportunities to engage and enthuse your students.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to be a Modern Languages teacher through a combination of taught sessions at the University and school-led professional development and classroom practice. You will start your course with a 2-3 week induction at the University in September, which is followed by a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops every Friday. These involve presentations, group work, role play, classroom modelling and peer teaching for which you will explore ideas and approaches and reflect on your own experiences.

Over the course of the acdemic year, you will undertake two periods of professional practice in two different schools (these may vary slightly in length, but will equate to a minimum of 120 working days in total). You will be supported in your professional placements by a languages specialist who will act as a mentor, offering you tutorial support and developing a programme of practice-based professional studies for you. Your progress will be assessed through observations, feedback and discussion. To this end, you will create and maintain a portfolio of evidence demonstrating how you have met the various Teacher's Standards.

You will engage with the theoretical foundations of classroom practice and demonstrate the depth of your professional knowledge by completing three academic assignments during the course.

Additional entry requirements

To be accepted on this course, you must meet the partnership's established entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally, Modern Languages applicants should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A strong knowledge and understanding of Modern Languages, and a sound awareness of how the subject is currently taught within Secondary state schools
  • A good honours degree (2:2 or above) in at least one modern language, with competence in a second - preferably at AS level or equivalent. The most commonly taught languages in UK Secondary schools are French and Spanish. A number of schools also teach German and a small minority teach Italian and other languages. Applicants without a second language might be eligible for a fully funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. 

Undertaking a short classroom type teaching task and showing an awareness of the curriculum and school life is part of our interview process, so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.

All candidates offered a place on a teacher training course will be required to satisfactorily complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a CRB check), including a check of all cautions and warnings as well as convictions, before their place can be confirmed. The University will pay the costs of this check on your behalf.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the Government's Department for Education websiteSee also our 'Applying' web page for a step-by-step process for how to apply to train to teach at Sussex.


See our Scholarships, fees and living costs web page for information on fees and eligibility for financial support. Specific information on bursaries, financial incentives and other sources of funding for Initial Teacher Education are available on our PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and from the Department for Education.


See full details of the Secondary Modern Foreign Languages PGCE course at Sussex on the Prospectus.

General enquiries about any ITE course, including application queries, should be directed to the ITE admissions team:

Specific course enquiries can be directed to the Course Leader: