Skip to main content
 Group of school children in traditional dress with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Centres and institutes_

Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education

Excellence in community languages education
We support linguistic diversity and educational opportunity through research, teaching and professional learning programs across NSW.

About us

Community languages schools have been operating in Australia since the 1850s. In NSW there are over 36,000 young people learning one of 62 languages taught by 3000 volunteer teachers.

Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education (SICLE) works in four main areas:

  • conducting research to inform policy and evidence-based approaches to teaching languages
  • providing professional learning pathways for teachers in NSW community languages schools
  • developing curriculum materials, resources and assessment to support students learning in more than 50 languages taught in community languages schools
  • supporting schools with IT systems and training to streamline their organisation.


In partnership with the NSW Department of Education, to support the development of teachers working in community languages schools, we offer:

  • Community Languages Teaching Program
  • Community Languages Teaching Program – Advanced
  • Community Languages School Leadership and Management Program

These free programs are available to anyone teaching in NSW Department of Education-funded community language schools. They help teachers become more effective in the classroom, and offer qualifications for entry-level and experienced teachers as well as those in leadership positions such as principals and committee members.

Find out more about our programs


The Institute was established to undertake a program of research in community languages education to support teachers, student learning, policy and program development. We have several research initiatives including:

Research seminars

We offer a regular research seminar series. Past speakers and topics have included Dr Anne Reath Warren (Stockholm University) on developing multilingual literacies in Sweden and Australia and Dr Simone Smala (University of Queensland) on community languages and social cohesion. To join our mailing list, email us at

Research studies

We have completed a study of the professional learning strengths and needs of volunteer teachers in NSW community schools. This ground-breaking report involving survey data from 30 per cent of the 3000 teachers and interviews with more than 50 teachers highlighted the key role played by community languages schools and the educational, linguistic and economic benefits this group of teachers represents. This study will be launched in September and is available through SICLE.

We are currently completing a scoping study of the resources, organisation and teaching in community languages schools involving surveys and interviews with teachers and principals.

We have also produced a bibliography of recent research internationally into community languages education. For more information email us at

Tertiary working party

An advisory group of researchers from NSW and ACT universities is being established to coordinate research efforts into community languages.


School IT enrolment trial

Ten schools and 1000 students are participating in a trial of an enrolment app to streamline school management. The project is being run by Sentral Education, a web-based software solution.

Our people


Associate Professor Ken Cruickshank

Michelle McAlinden

Programs Manager

Featured news

See more