Image with text: NCELP Schemes of Work Cultural Collection

A new ‘Cultural Collection‘ has been created which will be useful for teachers wishing to see how and where cultural content is integrated into the NCELP Schemes of Work (SOW) and lesson resources.

The slides included in the collection are standalone examples and may serve as templates and ideas for teachers looking to use other poems, songs, extracts of stories in their own lessons and SOW, and what activities can be done to exploit such texts.

Why is culture important and why is it included in our SOW?

Research has found that “The process of teaching a foreign language should imply teaching the cultural aspects connected to such a language and not just its grammar and vocabulary.” (Cortés, 2007). The National Curriculum for Languages also states that “learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures” (DfE, 2013). The new GCSE Subject Content also states: “It is important that students following a GCSE course should become familiar with aspects of the contexts and cultures of the countries and communities where the language is spoken.”

An obvious goal of language learning is communication; that is, the ability to understand and be understood by other speakers of the new language.  Intercultural competence is a sibling concept, denoting a person’s ability to relate to people who speak a different language and live in a different cultural context. It may also be a motivational reason for learning a language in the first instance.

Culture is therefore an essential and integral element of language teaching, present not only in finding out geographical, historical or popular culture details about different cultures, but also in the phonics, vocabulary and grammar of the language itself which all help to enrich our understanding of the worlds around us.

How the cultural collection is set up and how to use the spreadsheet and materials. 

The Cultural Collection consists of an Excel spreadsheet and several PowerPoints.

The spreadsheet is the starting point and contains sheets with details of all the lesson resources that contain cultural content for French, German and Spanish in Years 7 and 8. There are links to each lesson, details of which slides contain the cultural content, the type of cultural content (categories include geography, festivals, popular culture, literature and arts, history, sociolinguistic etc), the types of exercises involved (reading, listening, speaking and writing), whether it is linked to a Phonics, Vocabulary or Grammar strand, and then specific details of that focus (for example, which SSC, which grammar points are being practised, etc.)

Each language collection includes PowerPoints that contain all the slides with cultural content. There is a collection of slides for each term (e.g. Year 7 Term 1, Year 9 Term 2…).

Related links

Culture and Cultural Capital in the languages classroom‘ presentation by Rachel Hawkes for the Association of Language Learning (ALL) London webinar held on 5th December 2020.


Cortés, N.C. (2007). Language meeting culture in the foreign language classroom: A   comparative study. Interlingüística, 17, 230-237.

Department for Education. (2013). National Curriculum. Languages programmes of study: KS3.

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