Community Village

Frequently Asked Questions - general

What is the Learning Village?

The Learning Village provides targeted online and offline learning for 6-14 ('The Village') and 11-18 ('The Islands') year-old English language learners in schools where English is the language of instruction.

It focuses on three strands of learning:

  • Survival Language provides day-to-day vocabulary and language structures to enable, for example, conversing with friends, talking to teachers (beginner to intermediate level English)
  • Curriculum Content provides academic language that can be aligned to the learners' curriculum of study. 
  • Phonics provides study of letters and sounds and high-frequency words.

How can the Learning Village help me?

  • Saves you time by providing ready-made, customised resources
  • Increases your capacity to support more learners
  • Increases the progress of the learners
  • Increases the capacity of the learners to support themselves
  • Supports quick English learning 
  • Strengthens home-school bonds

What does the Learning Village do?

The Learning Village offers EAL blended learning for learners in schools (for induction to English, gap filling and pre-teaching vocabulary and language structures) both for independent learning and small group teaching. Suitable for learners of any language due to its image-based methodology, including those not literate in their home language.

What is the impact of using the Learning Village?

The impact of the Learning Village was tested in the following schools:

  • Woodend Academy, UK
  • International School of Milan, Italy
  • Yew Chung International Primary School, Hong Kong
  • Bradford Girls Grammar School & Lady Royd Primary, UK
  • Academie Ste Cecile International School, Canada
  • Heidelberg International School , Germany
  • St Johns C of E Primary School, UK

Longer term research has commenced in Lea Forest Academy, Birmingham and Wood End Academy, London.

Testing showed significant results:

You can find a document containing several case studies and testimonials demonstrating the impact of the Learning Village by clicking here.

You can find a case study of the impact of the Learning Village in Tudor Primary in London, UK, by clicking here.

Download a PDF for student 'Ali' here (right-click then 'Save as').

What methodology does the Learning Village use?

The Learning Village is built on tested methods of learning and developed from Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11 (2012) by Caroline Scott, Director.

It is based on a form-focus approach to learning vocabulary and language structures (through strategic use of flashcards online and offline) and is designed to be used in collaboration with communicative approach (immersion in the mainstream).

Research evidence supporting the strategic use of flashcards to learn vocabulary and language structures alongside a communicative approach to language learning is strong.

Nation and Waring point out:

  1. There is a very large number of studies showing the effectiveness of such learning in terms of amount and speed of learning. See Nation (1982), Paivio and Desrochers (1981) and Pressley et al (1982) for a review of these studies.
  2. Research on learning from context shows that such learning does occur, but that it requires learners to engage in large amounts of reading and listening because the learning is small and cumulative (Nagy, Herman, and Anderson 1985; Nagy, (1997). This should not be seen as an argument that learning from context is not worthwhile. It is by far the most important vocabulary-learning programme. For fast vocabulary expansion, however, it is not sufficient by itself. There is no research that shows that learning from context provides better results than learning from word cards (Nation, 1982).
  3. Research on the learning of grammar shows that form focussed instruction is a valuable component of a language learning course (Ellis, 1990 Long, 1988). Courses with a form-focuses component achieve better results than courses without such a component. The important issue is to achieve a balance between meaning-focussed activities, form-focussed activities, and fluency development activities (Nation, 1997). Direct learning of vocabulary from cards is a kind of form focussed instruction which can have the same benefits, perhaps even more markedly so, than form focussed grammar instruction.

Nation, P & Waring, R (1997) Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists in Schmitt & McCarthy (1997) Vocabulary, Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy, Cambridge

Further methodology is published in 'An Engish as an Additional Language Programme: Learning through images for 7-12 year olds.' which will be released this year.

How does the Learning Village work?

The learning of new vocabulary and language structures is taught through speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is delivered through pictures, making learning accessible to students of any mother tongue.

Teachers enroll their students, and can then monitor usage, view progress, assign curriculum content (lessons in all areas of the curriculum are available e.g. weather in Geography, Ancient Egypt in History, measurements in Maths and Sound in Science), request content and send messages to their students among other features.

There are over 10,000 words/phrases that have been designed to be aligned to the National Curriculum, the International Primary Curriculum, Cornerstones Curriculum, International Baccalaureate PYP and any other curricula.

Flashcards come with every lesson as well as games to support usage.

Lessons are split among three strands of learning:

  1. Survival language - New-to-English/intermediate lessons including the basics of vocabulary and language structures
  2. Phonics – The teaching of reading through sounds
  3. Customised curriculum content - Vocabulary and language structures for the curriculum

The Learning Village is designed to allow students to take ownership over their language-learning journey with a private website login. At the heart of the student experience is the Learning Village map, which closely mimics the student’s move to a new town in 'The Village' and islands in 'The Islands'. A tree-house in 'The Village' and the cafe' in 'The Islands', the student’s private quarters within the map, displays the aforementioned three strands of learning and provides a journey-like experience for each. As students progress through their strand-journeys, friends are made and populate their map. Friends can be visited at any time and facilitate the writing and speaking elements of the learning journeys. They also support the student with motivational messages.

Which learners should use the Learning Village? How does it align to my curriculum?

Learning Village comparison guidelines

This information will be useful to anyone using the Learning Village in collaboration with other assessments e.g frameworks such as Common European Framework (CEFR), NASSEA, Language in Common and the new English National Curriculum Proficiency in English or tests such as the New Salford Reading Test or old QCA National curriculum level tests.

*Note that a reading age may be over 7 years old but vocabulary and language structures may not be secure. If you believe this to be the case, assess learners on the content of the sessions using the hide button on the ‘learn pages’ of the demo learner. You can then note down your findings using the assessment for learning grid for tracking survival language (found in your toolbox).

**Phonics is based on Letters & Sounds (Department for Education & Skills), high frequency words (New General Service List) and New National Curriculum.

What makes the Learning Village a good tool for SEND learners?

You can read more about how the Learning Village can help learners with SEND needs in our SEND booklet and on our SEND page.

How can the Learning Village fit with my curriculum? (IPC, PYP, New English National Curriculum & others)

The Learning Village has been developed based on the needs of teachers in schools in the UK and internationally. Lessons are developed from the New English National Curriculum, the International Primary Curriculum, International Baccalaureate and other curricula. 

Simply choose the curriculum topic you are studying and source it on the Learning Village for your students to learn. All lessons are built on assessment and include sections on:

  • Learning
  • Practising
  • Reviewing

All online lessons come wth flashcards to that can be used offline.

How much is it?

Please see the pricing here: Pricing

Here is an example: 1 learner (if you buy 15) = £39.66 per learner

If a learner spends 30mins x 5 times a week  for 12 months each = 120 hours tuition for £39.66 per learner 
(total hours tuition available exceeds this)

It's also fully customised to suit your learner! How much would it cost a member of staff to provide this much tuition?

In addition to this you receive:
An EAL support programme, demo student for whole group teaching, monitoring of progress reports and flashcards to support every lesson.

I've lost my username/password, what can I do?

Go here: and enter the email address you registered with. You will be sent an email with the username visible:

You can then click on the link to log in without a password.

Once logged in you should update your password by clicking here:

At which point you'll be taken to your profile page where you can change your password:

Who are we?

The Learning Village is resource developed by Across Cultures. We provide teachers and parents with the skills and resources needed to successfully support their young English language learners within the demands of the curriculum.

Here's our team:

Caroline Scott
Director, Author & Trainer

Caroline Scott BA, DipM, NPQH, MA has been working in schools developing English language skills for young learners, catering for beginner through to fluent learners in culturally rich, international minded learning environments. She has taught young learners and trained teachers in the Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East. Caroline was the founding Head of Primary at CES, A British International school in Cairo, Egypt (3-18 IPC school) and the Primary Principal at the International School of Milan, Italy (3-18 IB PYP school). As well as delivering training across the UK and overseas, Caroline links to a school in London where she continues to work with teachers and learners.

Caroline is the author of 'Teaching Children English as an Additional Language: A programme for 7-11 year olds', 'Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11: A Whole School Resource' and 'An English as an additional Language (EAL) Programme: Learning through images for 7-14 year olds'. She has also developed EAL teacher trainingresources and online learning ( to support teachers catering for new-to-English learners in the English speaking mainstream.

Isabelle Bridger-Eames
EAL Specialist

Isabelle is one of our EAL Specialists responsible for demonstrations, training and memberships. She is an experienced teacher having taught KS2 and 3 for over 10 years. She has a Master's in Educational Leadership and Management. She is a freelance author of educational books, having had four KS2 English revision books published. Furthermore, she has also been a consultant teacher trainer for a large education company, training teachers on an online learning platform. She is very excited to be part of the Learning Village and Across Cultures team.

Gemma Ross
EAL Specialist

Gemma has worked in the education sector for the past 15 years, accumulating a wealth of experience and knowledge. Prior to joining Across Cultures, Gemma has held numerous EAL leadership roles in the international sector, which commenced at Dwight School, London and culminated in her role as IB Diploma Coordinator, at King's College, The British School of Madrid. During her career, Gemma has co-edited the IATEFL book 'Teaching Children English: From Research to Practice', as well as writing articles for Across Cultures. Gemma is a graduate of the University of York, where she studied a Master's degree in Teaching Children English.

Jane Bryan
EAL Specialist

Jane Bryan is an EAL Specialist at Across Cultures, where she is responsible for demonstrations, training and memberships, as well as content development. Prior to joining Across Cultures, Jane held the position of Lead EAL Specialist, teaching across KS1 and KS2. She has over 14 years’ experience in English Language schools for Primary, Secondary and adult learners, both internationally and in the UK, where her roles have ranged from ESL teacher to Director Of Studies and Projects Director.

Breda Matthews
EAL Specialist

Breda Matthews, MA, B.Ed, Dip TESSOL, is responsible for demonstrations and training in the Australasia region, as well as content development. She is a facilitator and teacher of English language learners and has wide experience and expertise in programme design, teaching and assessing English language learners, resource creation and professional development in New Zealand. Breda has designed and delivered face-to-face and online programmes to English language learners. She is the founder of the English Language Resources Centre in New Zealand.

Miranda Howell
EAL Specialist

Miranda, MEd. BA Hons Trinity Dip TESOL, Mindlab, is responsible for demonstrations and training in the Australasia region, as well as content development. She is an EAL specialist who has taught in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary organisations in the UK, NZ, Malaysia and Oman. She has worked as an academic leader and as a teacher professional development coach. She also has experience across a range of international curricula, including NZCEL, NCEA, PYP, IMYC and Cambridge. Her specific area of interest is blended learning to meet individual student needs in a relevant context.

Christine Hanley
EAL Specialist

Christine, TTC, Dip.Tchg (Primary), BA (Linguistics), PGDip.ELT, is responsible for demonstrations and training in the Australasia region, as well as content development. She is a facilitator and teacher of English language learners who has taught in primary schools and the tertiary sector in New Zealand where she specialised in EAP programmes. She has worked as an academic leader, professional development coach and project director in primary, secondaru and tertiary contexts. Christine has developed and delivered face-to-face and online programmes to English language learners.

Simon Lobo-Morell

Simon joined the Across Cultures team to work collaboratively in developing our online EAL learning environment, the Learning Village. Simon has over 10 years' experience as a programmer and has a keen interest in languages, having also taught English as a Foreign Language in the past. Simon runs CDU Digital, a website development and digital marketing business.

Beverley Roby

Beverley is often the first person you'll speak to if you register on the Learning Village. She'll help with all your initial questions and set you up with your EAL Specialist, who can provide you with initial training and ongoing support. Beverley lives near Manchester with her dog, Poppy, and is the proud mother of Jasmine. 

Heidi Niederkofler
Digital communications and content creation

Heidi is responsible for our social media channels, digital communication and all things Marketing. She is also responsible for our content creation and development of the Learning Village. She has a BA in Business and Management and is currently doing a degree in Primary Education. Heidi has worked as a primary English teacher and speaks three languages fluently. She spends most of her free time reading and playing with her dog, Pixie, and two cats, Haku and Miso.

Hannah Dymond

Hannah facilitates managing new and existing memberships for the Australasia region. Based in Auckland, NZ, Hannah has a BA in Psychology & Linguistics and has previously worked for several NZ universities, freelanced as a graphic designer and taught English in Spain and South Korea. In her free time she enjoys painting and design.

Alex Turner
Admin assistant

Alex joined the Across Cultures and Learning Village team in November 2020 and is responsible for admin support, as well as creating the images and audio for the Learning Village lesson content. Alex studied illustration at Falmouth UNiversity and works as a freelance illustrator in addition to her work at Across Cultures. She lives in the countryside near Bath (UK), and in her spare time enjoys knitting (badly) and growing her own vegetables.

Jess Jeffrey

Jess, BA, WSET2, WSET3, UKAWP, works as the finance person for Across Cultures and the Learning Village. She studied Spanish at Cardiff University and spent a year abroad studying and working in Granada and Parma. She has experience teaching English in Spain and tutors Spanish, Italian and French. Jess also works as a Wine Educator with Clifton Wine School and hosts vineyard tours and wine tastings when not working with the team at Across Cultures. She is currently studying for the Spanish Wine Scholar and enjoys spending time outdoors with her gentle giant, Arthur the Irish Wolfhound.

Yzanne Mackay
Editor and Content Writer

Yzanne joined Across Cultures and the Learning Village in 2018. She has worked for over 20 years as a writer and editor and has a wealth of knowledge of the educational sector. Yzanne genuinely enjoys correcting grammar and spelling and loves working out the best ways of communicating: she gets to grips with the nuts and bolts of the Learning Village programmes, tidies everything up, writes articles for us and creates new resources.

Sara Marchetto

Sara does an incredible job of bringing the Learning Village to life! Sara lives in a beautiful, small village in the Italian Alps and loves walking in the mountains and practicing yoga. She started her illustration career by creating a little ugly, but adventurous, comic series about her and her primary school classmates in her first days of school. She started to publish in 2006 and, since then, she's been creating illustrations for textbooks, educational projects and fiction books, collaborating with publishers and public and private clients in Italy and worldwide.


Tel (UK): +44 (0) 118 335 0035
Tel (New Zealand): 00 64 9 889 8153
Fax: +44 (0) 118 335 0036

Special thanks to all those who have been part of developing the Learning Village, with particular mention to:

Our Pilot Schools
St John's C or E Primary School, Tower Hamlets, London, UK
Wood End Academy, Ealing, London, UK
Bradford Girls' Grammar School, Bradford, UK
Heidelberg International School, Germany 
International School of Milan, Milan, Italy
Lea Forest Academy, Birmingham, UK (went on to become a hub school)
Yew Chung International Primary School, Hong Kong
Academie Ste Cecile International School, Canada
Aston University Engineering Academy, Birmingham, UK
Hylands Primary School, Havering, UK (went on to become a hub school)
Parsonage Farm Primary School, Havering, UK 
Kelvin Grove Primary School, Gateshead, UK
St Mark's Primary, Mitcham, London, UK (went on to become a hub school)

Also to the following individuals:
Laura Haines, EAL Coordinator, International School of Milan
Sally Flannagan, Mother Tongue Coordinator, International School of Milan
Terry Haywood, Headmaster, International School of Milan
Vicki Wilson, EAL Team Leader, Yew Chung International Primary School
Norm Dean, Deputy Director, Yew Chung International Primary School
Rachel Parsons, EAL/SEN Teacher, Bradford Girls School
Sharmila Shah, EAL, Bradford Girls School
Amy Tilson, OCT, Academie Ste Cecile International School, Canada
Nick Parkes, English Support Teacher, Heidelberg International School, Germany 
Rebecca Richardson, School Leader, Bradford Girls School
Michelle Wain, Ethnic Minority Achievement Adviser, Havering
Sue Crane, LA Consultant, Tower Hamlets Ethnic Minority Acheivement 
Ann Cobden, Deputy Head, Wood End Academy
Anne Hayes, Headteacher, Wood End Academy
Jasminder Manku, EAL Teaching Assistant, Wood End Academy
Terry Bennett, Headteacher, St John's C or E Primary School
Angela Vasey, Inclusion Coordinator, St John's C or E Primary School
Hilary Thompson, Headteacher, Lea Forest Academy
Sarah Jones, EAL Coordinator, Lea Forest Academy
Sarah Brown, Head of International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
Coreen Seers, EAL Consultant & Author, Independant 
John Regan, Director, TeacheHorizons
Alexis Toye, Director, TeacheHorizons
Tom George, Director, Happy Hour
Owen White, Mentor, Edtech Futures
Adam Sefton, Director, Reading Room
Kim Dolman, Mentor, The Business Inqbator

How we got started

Caroline Scott, Author and Director at Across Cultures originally began writing an induction to English, funded by the Local Authority of Tower Hamlets in 2002.

This funding was awarded to accommodate the distinct need for additional support for new-to-English learners in the mainstream. After writing her first draft, Caroline went on to develop this further, eventually providing training for many schools in Tower Hamlets and beyond. After some years, Caroline left Tower Hamlets to start an international School overseas. There, she was able to develop ideas further. Following significant additional research, she wrote her first book, 'Teaching Children as an Additional Language: A Programme for 7-11 year olds'. She later went onto write her second book, 'Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11, A Whole School Resource', which encompassed many more facets of language learning, including language learning strategies, additional assessment and differentiating further for all levels of language across all curriculum subjects. 

The Learning Village was a natural evolution of her work. It allows increased flexibility for learners and teachers, as well as significantly more content and assessment opportunities. Caroline also delivers a three-day training for senior teachers/leaders on supporting EAL learning across the curriculum (the EAL Framework course), as well as whole-school insets and one-day courses on how to achieve effective EAL teaching through the Learning Village.