Freshwaters celebrates diversity in close to fifty languages

Education: Primary / Mon 16th Mar 2015 at 11:03am

Freshwater DiversityA SCHOOL with students speaking up to 50 different languages is celebrating its diverse culture.

Freshwaters Primary Academy, in School Lane, Harlow, has seen an increase in the number of pupils joining without any English skills.

To encourage non-English speaking families to feel a part of the school, a language of the month is being highlighted.

Marios Solomonides, head of school, is keen for his pupils to learn about different cultures from each other.
He said: “We have quite a few children start here without any English at all. We had one child start in Year 6 this year with no English and they are now achieving level four – that is the level children who have completed their entire education in England should be at, which is just amazing.

“The idea of language of the month is for teachers to use a bit of the language and to invite parents in who speak it to share their culture with the children. Language can be a barrier stopping parents from coming in and speaking to us, telling us what they want or if there is a problem. We believe they will feel more welcome if they are invited to share photos of their home country or maybe cook with the children.”

Children starting at Freshwaters with no English are helped with the basics of being able to communicate the things they need, like going to the toilet, or how they are feeling and to be able to respond to the register. Pictures are used to help develop communication.

Mr Solomonides said: “We have one child in Year 6 who has joined from Germany so close to his SATs that our colleagues at Burnt Mill Academy are creating a maths dictionary to help him. Maths should not be about understanding a language.”

The first language of the month focuses on Urdu, the countries it is spoken in and the children and staff at Freshwaters who speak it.

A display board in the school’s corridors celebrates the language of the month.

The school, part of the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust, has also launched a new website which can be converted into 90 different languages to improve communication with its families.

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