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What is TELT?

TEachers Learning to Teach languages (TELT) aims to increase and improve language provision in primary schools. Teachers simultaneously learn a new language and the skills to teach that language in the classroom.

TELT seeks to:

  • Primary school pupils and their teacher seated on the classroom floor. The teacher is holding up a book.Make language training for teachers available across Scotland and beyond, including in rural and remote areas
  • Help harmonise the standards of language and pedagogical skills in primary language teaching across Scotland and beyond
  • Encourage the introduction of additional languages to primary by offering this course in four languages: French, German, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish
  • Establish a community of practice of primary teachers teaching languages across Scotland and beyond
  • Teach students not only language and language teaching skills but also develop digital literacy.

TELT is inspired by and contributes to delivery of the Scottish Government’s 1+2 language policy. It was developed in collaboration between the OU and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

Who is it for?

TELT is open to all primary teachers, and secondary teachers with a secondment in primary, across Scotland. It is also possible to take part in TELT across the UK.

Participants can be employer-sponsored or independently-funded students.

How does it work?

TELT is a distance learning programme. There are two strands:

  • The language strand is available in four languages at Beginners or Post-beginners level. Students can study the language of their choice, at the appropriate level, and can gain 15 OU credits contributing towards an Open Degree. The options are Beginners French, German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese, or, Post-beginners French, German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.
  • The teaching strand is taught at postgraduate level and teachers will receive a certificate upon its successful completion. In Scotland, teachers can additionally opt into a professional recognition programme for their pedagogy study.

I have never taken part in CPD (Continuing Professional Development) which was this long-running before. It forces (or encourages!) you to keep your own learning relevant and in the forefront of your mind and, more importantly, to make it part of everyday practice.

Former TELT student

TELT requires nine months’ study in total, with around five hours of study each week. This is done online, including online tutorials.

Participants also collaborate and share ideas and practice through course forums and social media. 

Teachers and their pupils have the chance to collaborate with peers in a different part of the UK with our eTwinning programme, providing exciting opportunities for language activities and to develop teaching practice.

Students have reported that their study of TELT developed their digital literacy skills considerably.

During the Covid-19 pandemic this helped them to adapt to the challenges of supporting pupils and parents with home-schooling. 

What past students say

Hazel TaylorHazel Taylor, an Aberdeen-based primary teacher, studied French at post-beginners level.

She enjoyed working with other students on the programme, and found the course was "ideal as it brought the language and pedagogy strands together". 

More adventurous in planning languages activities due to TELT, Hazel says her pupils have had a "more varied and engaging experience".

The course is having a huge impact on my confidence to teach another language. Starting from scratch and learning alongside the pupils has been very humbling.

Former TELT student

Language learning and ICT [Information and Communications Technology] went together well and pupils developed their skills in both areas.

The eTwinning really made me focus on including language learning as a priority in the classroom. And I could see benefits from that across the curriculum.

Former TELT student

Recognition for TELT

General Teaching Council for Scotland Professional Recognition award logoThe TELT programme is officially approved by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) with a Professional Recognition award.

Teachers in Scotland who sign up to the professional recognition element of this programme and complete it successfully can add this to their achievements with the GTCS stamp of approval.

The GTCS accreditation panel commended the TELT programme stating that it “is evidently underpinned by the national model of professional learning, and the interconnectivity between the teacher as a learner and the learning of children and young people is a real strength...The teacher’s learning is clearly informed by the experiences and needs of their learners”.

The panel also noted that teachers can co-shape learning experiences with the children and young people they teach.

The University of Strathclyde’s School of Education accepts GTCS Professional Recognition from the TELT programme as 20 credits worth of Accredited Prior Learning towards their MEd Educational Leadership or MEd Education Studies qualification.

Anyone who has achieved the award from the TELT programme since it started in 2017 will be eligible on proof of award. 

Shortly after our first cohort of students completed their modules, TELT was recognised with an OU teaching excellence award 2018 and was shortlisted for the partnership category at the 2018 Herald Higher Education Awards.

I have become the 1+2 (Languages) champion of my school because I am studying this course.

Former TELT student

I have really enjoyed the online course and it has enabled me to get a job in the EAL (English as an Additional Language) department in Aberdeenshire, where I start on Monday! Super happy!

Former TELT student 

For more information or to register

Visit our TELT: Frequently asked questions page and Study materials and computing requirements page for further details about TELT studies.

Information webinars take place each year, usually in mid June. Please contact for more details. 

Students can select the language of their choice, at the appropriate level: 

Our How to register for TELT page includes contact details.

Teachers at Newtonhill Primary School in Aberdeenshire share their experiences of TELT in a blog.