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Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

What is the Common European Framework of Reference?

The CEFR is a set of global benchmarks for language proficiency.

It is a framework of Reference to help teachers monitor and plan for language learning.

There are 5 communicative skills:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Spoken interaction (for example, a two way conversation with questions and answers)  
  • Spoken production (for example, saying a prayer) 
  • Writing
There are 6 levels of proficiency within each skill area. 

The first 3 levels are:-

  • A1 Breakthrough
  • A2 Waystage 
  • B1 Threshold 

They reflect the minimum proficiency required to access the curriculum.

The other 3 levels are :-

  • B2 Vantage
  • C1 Effective Operational Proficiency
  • C2 Mastery


DE Policy (FAQ Question 9) states that when a pupil has reached all the benchmarks on the B1 level, they  are no longer designated a ‘Newcomer’ pupil and the ‘end date’ must be included on SIMS.




DE does not require that pre-schools record a CEFR level for pupils, however some pre-school teachers have found ‘working towards A1 ‘ benchmarks useful.


If you need support or training on the use of CEFR , contact the IDS office