Language Learning

Footscray Primary School has a proud history of language learning. In 2021, we will introduce an Italian bilingual program grounded in evidence of best practice for our Foundation and Year 1 students. 


We will also be enhancing our Vietnamese language learning program to provide a high-quality language learning experience for every child at Footscray Primary School.


This framework is the beginning of our journey and will be strengthened by our students, our staff, and our community as we move forward together.


Please visit the Vietnamese Language Learning page or Italian Bilingual Program page to learn more about these programs. 


Community Meeting

Thank you to all those who attended our community meeting in May. Please find the presentation slides via the link below.


Community Meeting Slides


Vietnamese Language Program – Fact Sheet

  • Vietnamese is offered by the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) and accredited community language schools (CLS). In 2020, Vietnamese is being delivered at 21 accredited CSL campuses across the state including at Footscray Primary School.
  • In 2019, there were four government primary schools and six government secondary schools providing a Vietnamese language program in Victoria.
  • In 2021, Vietnamese language learning will be offered at Footscray Primary School as a high quality language education program 2 hours a week for Years 2 – 6 through a 1 hour language lesson and an hour of content and language integrated learning (e.g. Arts, Music or PE). Planning is underway to create strong connections between the Italian bilingual program and the Vietnamese language program.
  • The bilingual program at Footscray Primary School is not a mother tongue maintenance program. It is a program that should deliver academic and content-based outcomes as well as language and culture to all students, regardless of which language they speak at home.
  • The eligibility criteria of the Department’s Designated Bilingual Program has minimum requirements around instruction time in the target language (minimum of 7.5 hours up to a maximum of 12.5 hours) and numbers of students participating.
  • Due to persistent recruitment issues, Footscray Primary School has only been able to deliver between 3 - 5 hours per week of Vietnamese language learning. The ability to find casual relief teachers qualified to teach Vietnamese has also been an ongoing issue.
  • Vietnamese is not offered in Victorian universities. This has contributed to difficulties recruiting VIT registered teachers with a Vietnamese language qualification which requires a three-year major in the language, or a Statement of Equivalence (for language proficiency at Third Year exit level) from a Victorian university which teaches the language.
  • In 2018, there were 16 qualified Vietnamese language teachers in Victorian government schools. [1]
  • In 2018, there were 337 qualified Italian language teachers in Victorian government schools.
  • The Vietnamese bilingual program has been given significant time, resourcing and funding, from both the school and the Department of Education and Training and has not been successfully sustained, placing significant strain on operations and finances, despite extensive efforts.
  • The bilingual program has not achieved the educational or language outcomes expected for Footscray Primary School students due to ongoing operational challenges. Other bilingual programs in the Designated Bilingual Program, are running fully staffed programs with students graduating at Year 6 with Year 9/10 level language proficiency.
  • Footscray Primary School will continue to support the Vietnamese community language school held at the school on Saturday mornings and is committed to the school’s ongoing participation in the sister school exchange with Phước Tiến PS in Nha Trang.
  • The new Vietnamese language program will be developed collaboratively by the school’s Vietnamese teaching team and senior leadership in line with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority guidelines.
  • Vietnamese community members and the Vietnamese Teachers Association will be invited to provide feedback on the language program to ensure that it will be of the highest quality and reflects the needs of the Footscray Vietnamese community.


Feb 2020

Research undertaken on identifying factors for implementing a successful bilingual program including historial recruitment data, bilingual subcommittee meetings, visits to bilingual schools, attendance at bilingual network meetings.

12 February – Bilingual subcommittee meeting

19 February – School council meeting

28 February – Bilingual update provided in school newsletter

March 2020

18 March – School council meeting

26 March – Bilingual update provided in school newsletter

April 2020

7 April - Bilingual newsletter released confirming commitment to re-establishing a successful bilingual program at Footscray Primary School in 2021.

15 April – School council extraordinary meeting

20 April – Second bilingual newsletter released announcing commitment to establish a rich, comprehensive Vietnamese language program to sit alongside a re-established bilingual program with a new target language to be determined through community consultation. Members of school community invited to join the bilingual subcommittee to develop a consultation process with the community.



24 April – School meets with Chairperson, Vietnamese Community Australia, Victoria Chapter; Chairperson Victorian Multicultural Commission; and local member for Footscray.

29 April – School council meeting

May 2020

22 May – Bilingual subcommittee meeting

25 May – Online community meeting to outline the future of language learning and consultation process for a new bilingual program language.  Participants invited to contribute questions for discussion.

29 May – Languages subcommittee (subcommittee name changed to incorporate language and bilingual program)

29 May – Language update provided in school newsletter

June 2020

5 June – Languages subcommittee meeting

12 June – Languages subcommittee meeting

12 June – Language update provided in school newsletter

17 June – School council meeting

19 June – Languages subcommittee meeting

24 June – Bilingual survey opens with notifications to school community on compass and school website.  Surveys provided to current and future families in English and Vietnamese, online and in hardcopy.

26 June – Language update provided in school newsletter

July 2020

15 July – survey closes with over 180 responses from current and future Footscray Primary School families and staff. 

17 July – Languages subcommittee meeting

20 July – Presentation by Languages Education consultant to Languages subcommittee

21 July – Languages subcommittee prepares report for school council consideration on future bilingual program target language

29 July – School council meeting

30 July – Language update includes school council decision to deliver Italian as the bilingual program language commencing in 2021.



14 August – Language update in school newsletter




[1] Languages Provision in Victorian Government Schools, 2018 p50