Bringing Language into All Elements of School Life

Camões Institute is the Portuguese organisation for cooperation and for the promotion of Portuguese language and culture worldwide. Here the team outline some of the work they do, and how they support schools and the wider education sector to deliver language teaching and learning.

Camões Institute is a public institute connected to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Operating from Portuguese embassies, consulates and cultural centres all over the world, Camões organises the Portuguese educational network for primary, secondary and higher education in the UK and abroad. The whole network comprises 317 teachers, over 67,000 students and around 4,000 courses worldwide.

We manage a network of 26 fully qualified teachers and 3,500 students in 60 schools across the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands. We also support 18 lecturers and 1,300 students in 14 universities.

This network is fully available for schools and universities to explore. Our teachers and lecturers are fully qualified professionals with extensive experience and pedagogical expertise. Their professional and affective connection to the Portuguese-speaking countries is a valuable source of linguistic and cultural capital.

The institute provides Portuguese language courses and certification to schools and universities alongside teacher training and a wide range of educational and cultural resources.

Camões can offer Primary and Secondary schools:

  • Full-time/part-time specialist language teachers
  • Full courses of Portuguese YR-Y6; Y7-Y9; Y10-Y11 (Portuguese GCSE); Y12-Y13 (A Level)
  • Support in planning transition between schools
  • Engaging language classes
  • Book libraries and audio-visual resources
  • Online and blended learning
  • Language Ambassadors programme
  • Promotional materials
  • After-school clubs
  • Enrichment classes

The positive impact of the partnership between Camões and the Schools on language learning and overall achievement is evidenced in the feedback that we get from partner teachers and headteachers.

At Henry Fawcett Primary School, in London, our partnership was established in the academic year of 2012-2013 and we now offer the school the full curricular and extracurricular Portuguese language provision. We work with the school to agree the skills and outcomes expected for the pupils.

The headteacher says that:

"(the) Camões teachers are the key to the success of our MFL provision. They have all been talented teachers who are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate about children’s learning and achievement not only in MFL but also in all aspects of our curriculum. The teachers ensure that lessons are exciting and interactive. Whenever a Portuguese lesson is in progress all the children are smiling and totally involved.”

The Portuguese provision has facilitated intercultural awareness and boosted the confidence of the bilingual speakers of the school. Another advantage has been an improvement in the relationship between the school and the families,

as they have someone to talk to in their own language, this barrier is removed, strong links have been created and families are integrated. We can support families in all aspects of their children’s life for example ensuring there is a Portuguese translator available to support the secondary transfer process” (Headteacher, Henry Fawcett).

At La Retraite Roman Catholic Girl’s School, Portuguese is offered as a Modern Foreign Language alongside French and Spanish. One main aim of Camões here is to prepare pupils for the Portuguese GCSE and A Level exams.

“The high quality of the provision contributes strongly to La Retraite's outstanding atmosphere and has a very positive impact on our national exam results, at both GCSE and A Level” (Headteacher, La Retraite).

In 2020, Camões founded the first Portuguese bilingual school in the UK. Starting a new school during a global pandemic has had its challenges, but has provided us with important learnings e.g.

  • Being the first of its kind in the UK we have developed rapidly
  • Bilingual learning has brought a sense of belonging, identity and well-being to our students during a period of uncertainty
  • Bilingual learning has integrated our school into the community and there is a supportive and dynamic network

APSoL welcomes children of all language abilities and the motto is bilingualism for everyone. The school opened in September with a cohort of pupils from a variety of backgrounds and language proficiency spectrums.

Our first cohort of parents at APSoL are incredibly pleased with the progress and enthusiasm children are showing. They notice that the children feel supported to work on their strengths and nurtured in their individual talents. Some parents say that attending APSoL is changing their children’s lives, as they feel understood in a school where different languages are seen as an advantage and an asset” (Chair of Governors).

Our culture at Camões UK is tied directly to the core values of community building and serving the community. We believe deeply in being aware of each other, celebrating unity and collaboration in diversity, we cherish multilingualism and intercultural dialogue.

To find out more about Portuguese language provision for your school please visit


Connect with colleagues and learn more about effective approaches to language teaching and learning at the National Modern Foreign Languages Conference.

mfl conference