Meet our Languages Subject Lead and Languages Consultant


David Shanks

Languages Subject Lead and Languages Consultant

David shanks header2What does your role entail? 

My name is David and I am the Lead Languages Consultant for the Harris Federation. I work to develop the Languages provision across our federation of London-based schools and lead a team of 10 Languages consultants who work across French, Spanish and Chinese. Our consultant role is varied but mainly focuses on teaching and supporting students, providing training for Languages teachers, raising the profile of our beloved subject and developing curriculum, assessments and resources. As the Harris Initial Teacher Education Languages Course Lead, I lead and design the delivery of our Languages School Direct Programme.


What are your credentials/experience to your current position?

Prior to completing my PGCE in French the Institute of Education, I taught English in France, as well as Maths and Computing in Norway. I have experience of teaching to pre-school, primary and university-level students and have worked in a range of schools, from challenging inner city London schools to a flagship academy and a top-rated international school.  I have taught secondary French in London for the last 12 years. My previous positions have included Director of Initial Teacher Training, NQT Co-ordinator, Head of KS5 French, Professional Mentor, Subject Mentor, Associate Tutor and AQA examiner.  I have delivered on a range of Languages teacher training courses, am regularly invited to the Institute of Education and Kings College London to present, and previously sat on the Association for Language Learning’s National Council. From 2018-2021 I worked as a Subject Specialist for the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy. I have also contributed to Oxford Education’s MFL Blog and in 2019 completed a MEd at King’s College London, including a dissertation that investigated the use of Oral Homework in MFL I am passionate about lifelong learning, sharing best practice and initial teacher training.  My main interests lie in technology in education, behaviour management, streamlining Assessment for Learning and the use of film and creativity.


What is the highlight of your role?

The highlight of my role is getting to keep teaching and stay attached to the classroom, whilst also having the opportunity to work alongside trainee teachers and see the huge progress they make in such a short space of time.

Après le pain, l’éducation est le premier besoin d’un peuple.
After bread, education is the first need of the people.
Georges Danton, 1793