pics p9

Strengthening European collaboration in language education
– the role of the ECML

Sarah Breslin

          The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe is a unique intergovernmental institution which acts at the interface of policy/research and practice. It provides a platform for language experts from across Europe and beyond to share their expertise and learn from each other as they develop innovative resources adaptable to different national and regional contexts or deliver training modules addressing key challenges in language education. 

          Sarah will demonstrate the continued relevance of the centre as it approaches its 25th anniversary. She will also sketch out the priorities identified for the next ECML 4-year programme 2020-2023, explaining how new programme activities will be determined and outlining the benefits for CercleS members of taking part.


Since October 2013, Sarah Breslin has been the Executive Director of the European Centre for Modern Languages, an institution of the Council of Europe, based in Graz, Austria. A passionate linguist with a thorough understanding of both policy and practice in language education and general education, Sarah has worked in a range of sectors and countries since she graduated with first class Honours in French and German from the University of Glasgow in 1986. After training to become a language teacher, Sarah worked for 15 years in Catalonia as an EFL teacher and became first Director of Studies and then Director of a prestigious language school in Tarragona. She then moved into Higher Education, where she was Head of Modern Languages in the Faculty of Tourism and teacher of English and German. On returning to the UK, she worked for 4 years in further education, teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Spanish, before becoming Head of International and EU programmes. Before taking up post as Director at SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde, Sarah worked for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) where her focus was on education policy both at UK and EU level, as well as cross-border qualification recognition. Sarah is currently studying for her Doctorate of Education where her research focus is on the contribution of the ECML to the professional learning of language teacher educators.