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Broadening horizons
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project will improve language provision in our school and give our pupils access to a whole new world of languages and other cultures. Our school is in a deprived area and their opportunities are limited. Many of them will have experienced little of life outside of their immediate surroundings. There is high unemployment and a high rate of early school leaving. We believe that language learning is a way for pupils to succeed, and we want to offer them the best possible quality learning experience. We need to train our staff so that they have the confidence necessary to teach languages themselves. This will greatly benefit our school as currently we rely on external provision which is infrequent and taught in isolation. There will be more cross curricular links and languages will be embedded into routines. This will greatly improve our pupils’ learning experience. We will have better resources and improved learning environments, and our staff will have new ideas about how to make languages fun and engaging for pupils. All of this will lead to a greatly improved experience for pupils, encourage them to think of themselves as language learners, and develop a love of languages that can last throughout their lives. This will then lead to higher attainment, more likelihood of pupils continuing with languages later in life, and increased career choices and aspiration. We also intend to make a strong link with the school in Spain that will give our teachers the chance to really assimilate true Spanish culture and get a great understanding of school life in Spain. It will also mean that we are able to develop projects using eTwinning and other ICT facilities that we have already in our school. We also have plans to develop an MFL network within our area so that our local schools can work collaboratively and support each other. One of our school priorities is involving parents, governors and the community and we already provide some adult learning facilities. We need to develop the confidence of our staff such that they are able to provide opportunities for the whole school community to be involved in the project and improve their language learning and cultural knowledge (e.g. through after school Spanish clubs for both parents and children). We plan to develop a whole school project that will lead to changes in the way we approach the teaching of languages and better opportunities for our pupils. We would like 15 members of staff to take part in Spanish immersion courses that will enhance their skills and allow them to feel confident enough to teach Spanish in their class. We have found suitable courses in Spain, focused on the particular needs of primary schools developing their language provision. They include intensive language classes, linguistic and cultural immersion including communicative tasks, cultural activities, teaching methodology sessions and time in a Spanish primary school. These courses will increase our staff’s confidence and knowledge, giving them the skills and language they need to teach languages in their classroom. Immersion in language and culture will help them to develop ideas for cross curricular links and new approaches. They will be able to bring in aspects of Spanish culture to their teaching and focus on areas that will interest our pupils so that they enjoy learning and see it as relevant to their lives. The focus on teaching methodology will give staff a bank of activities, improving enjoyment and attainment. Children will be excited about languages, value them and see the relevance and purpose of learning. By giving our pupils a positive early experience, we will encourage them to become lifelong language learners and this will have a positive effect on their future aspiration and career choices. The project will lead to enthusiasm for Spanish across our school community. We will develop authentic, exciting events and activities to which we will invite parents, Governors, community members and other local schools. We will offer training to parents and the local community. This will fundamentally change attitudes towards languages and other cultures within our area and have a great effect on our pupils’ attitude to learning and their future aspiration, and will inspire parents to continue with language learning themselves. We have planned this project to create the greatest possible impact within our school and community and to make a real difference to our pupils’ lives.
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