our words make worlds

Spanish First Language Initiative Evaluation

Parkwood primary pupils in a Spanish lesson

In 2019 Language Acts was first approached by Bernadette Clinton of Hackney Learning Trust for Small Grant funding to organise an event for Hackney primary and secondary teachers. This event was to reflect on and evaluate the relative success of the borough's introduction of Units of Work in Art, History and Geography which drew on CLIL principles and emphasised an inclusive curriculum. The Art unit focused on the work of Wifredo Lam and Laurence Zuñiga, the History unit looked at the role of the Conquistadores in the power relationship between Spain and Latin America, and the Geography unit explored the Amazon and global warming.

Following this Language Acts and Bernadette saw the opportunity to collaborate further, by conducting an evaluation of Hackney's introduction, since September 2013, of Spanish as the First Foreign language in both primary and secondary schools to encourage transition between phases. All primary and secondary schools were involved by September 2014, and starting with teaching year 3 pupils, by September 2018 Hackney had its first cohort who had studied Spanish for 4 years transferring to Hackney secondary schools.

Spanish First Language Initiative Evaluation

The Diasporic Identities and the Politics of Language Teaching, and the Language Transitions strands employed researcher Cathy Baldwin to gather and analyse data on the initiative, including interviewing relevant past and present teachers, HoDs, pupils and parents.

The research aimed to evaluate the impact providing Spanish as the first language throughout the borough has had on pupils learning Spanish at primary level, on secondary teachers building on prior learning, and on overall transition arrangements in the borough.


In March 2021, Hackney Learning Trust launched the Spanish First Language Initiative Evaluation Report. Dr Ana Maria Sousa Aguiar de Medeiros of Language Transitions and Cathy Baldwin both gave presentations, followed by a broad discussion about the report's findings.

The final report can be downloaded here.

Presentation slides can be downloaded here.

Hackney's press release about the report is available to read here.