A primary school is being used to advise others how to teach languages, after the success of a pioneering scheme.St Paul’s Primary, in Brighton, is the first mainstream school in the country to teach children in Spanish as well as English.
It will now be used to advise other schools in Brighton and Hove on how to teach languages to four to 11-year-olds.
The school, which is one of just six bilingual mainstream primary schools in the country, teaches PE, art and music in Spanish to older children in the school. Children in Year 6 were recently tested and found to be at a grade C or D GCSE level in the language.
Children in the school’s nursery and infant classes are given weekly Spanish lessons and staff hope to gradually increase the number of other lessons that are given in Spanish.
Headteacher Linda Dupret said: “What I love about it is the international factors – having all the different people sharing their cultural experience. The reason we chose Spanish is it is now the second most universally spoken language after English.
“Research shows that if children learn a language from an early age it helps the memory receptors link together.”
Even the school’s caretakers, teachers and office staff, have been learning the language as part of the scheme.
The school has bee praised by the Spanish Embassy and volunteers from Spanish universities for its work.
A Bilingual Primary Free School is also due to open in Hove in September and Ms Dupret is hoping the two schools will be able to “share and learn from each other”.