Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus – information for school leaders

The Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus replaces the language-specific K-10 syllabuses listed below.

The Modern Languages K–10 Syllabus replaces these language-specific K–10 syllabuses: Arabic (2019), Chinese (2017), French (2018), German (2018), Hebrew (2003), Hindi (2019), Indonesian (2018), Italian (2018), Japanese (2017), Korean (2018), Macedonian (2019), Modern Greek (2019), Persian (2019), Punjabi (2019), Russian (2003), Spanish (2018), Tamil (2019), Turkish (2019) and Vietnamese (2019). It also replaces any School Developed Board Endorsed Course developed for a modern language without a language-specific syllabus, for example Serbian.

The NSW Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus recognises the critical importance of communicating in the target language as the central goal in language learning.

What you need to know

  • The Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus is one of 4 languages syllabuses to be released as part of curriculum reform, along with Aboriginal Languages K–10, Auslan K–10 and Classical Languages K–10.
  • The decision regarding which language/s to offer is made at school level, based on available resources, including access to qualified languages teachers.
  • In K–6, languages are not mandatory. As such, schools are not required to introduce a languages program in response to this or any other new languages syllabus. However, primary schools which do run languages programs are required to use the relevant syllabus.
  • In 7–10, students learn one language over one continuous 12-month period, preferably in Years 7–8 (the mandatory 100 hours).
  • For mandatory 100 hour courses, there is no mandate for a school to implement a modern languages program – they can implement any of the K–10 languages syllabuses.
  • In 2023, teachers engage with the syllabus, and plan and prepare for implementation of the curriculum.
  • In 2024, implementation commences in schools, with:
    • K–6
    • 7–10 mandatory 100 hour courses
    • new 100 and 200 hour elective courses.

Classes which commence a 100 hour or 200 hour elective course in 2023 should continue to use the existing language-specific syllabus until the end of 2024.

  • The Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus is a framework – schools implement the syllabus through the study of one or more modern languages, for example French, using NESA’s language-specific support (where provided).
Image: The image shows the overview of Modern Languages K-10 Syllabus structure

Overview image is from the Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, (2022)

In the Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus:

  • the central goal is communicating in the target language
  • there are 3 focus areas – interacting, understanding texts and creating texts
  • all focus areas emphasise using and understanding culturally-appropriate target language (culture cannot be taught in isolation from the language)
  • emphasises that interacting is primarily through oral language
  • includes examples for 3 learner levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced
  • a framework approach is used – teachers plan and program using the syllabus, together with language-specific examples
  • language-specific support will be provided by NESA for 19 modern languages
  • Life Skills outcomes provide an option for students with disability who cannot access the regular course outcomes.

Prior to implementing the Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus, leaders will need to consider the following.

  • With the stronger focus on communicating using the target language, interacting orally and using culturally-appropriate language, a qualified teacher of the modern language is required.
  • Schools cannot teach about a language, or about culture(s), as this will not meet syllabus outcomes.
  • All syllabus content is considered essential learning in order to successfully demonstrate achievement of the outcomes. Schools cannot pick or choose from the dot points.
  • Teachers may need to access professional learning relating to:
    • the focus areas, outcomes and content of the Modern Languages K–10 Syllabus, and the impact these will have on planning and programming
    • building student ability to interact spontaneously.
  • Resource and budget implications, including adequate release days for professional learning and collaboration.
  • All decisions about curriculum options for students with disability should be made through the collaborative curriculum planning process.
  • Before deciding that a student should access Life Skills outcomes and content, consider other ways of helping the student to engage with regular course outcomes. This may include a range of adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment activities. If the adjustments do not provide a student with sufficient access to some or all outcomes in Stages 4 and 5, a decision to access Life Skills outcomes and content might be appropriate.
  • Some students with disability may find Years 7–10 courses based on Life Skills outcomes and content are the most appropriate options to follow for the RoSA.

The Modern Languages K–10 (2022) Syllabus is based on evidence summarised in the bibliography published by NESA.

  • With communicating in the target language and interacting using oral language key focus points in the syllabus, does the school have an appropriate number of qualified languages teachers? If not, what processes are in place to support this?
  • What school practices and systems are in place to support teacher professional learning? How are these evaluated to maximise support for teachers?
  • If your school only has one languages teacher, what explicit systems are in place to foster collaboration, for example access to local language networks and relevant statewide staffrooms?
  • How has the school engaged with departmental resources and support for curriculum implementation, for example, Curriculum Reform Communities, curriculum resources, professional learning, and DEL network initiatives?

Languages curriculum teams and web page


  • Teaching and learning


  • All staff
  • Educational Standards
  • Kindergarten
  • Languages
  • Teaching and learning
  • Web page
  • Year 1
  • Year 10
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Year 4
  • Year 5
  • Year 6
  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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