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Bilingual Primary School

Spanish at the Bilingual Primary School

Archeology

Staffing

In order to ensure we provide the best education possible a key priority is to appoint the most able staff in all roles. As a growing school, we are in the privileged position of being able to appoint new teachers and teaching assistants every year to complement the existing team. All our teaching assistants are native Spanish speakers and four are also qualified teachers in Spain. Teachers either speak Spanish currently or make a commitment to learning in their first year at the school.

The Spanish curriculum

Children have two lessons of Spanish a week, each lasting approximately an hour. These lessons are taught by our Spanish teachers Señorita Laura and Patricia and both are bilingual in Spanish and English and are qualified, experienced teachers. Lessons are taught in differentiated groups to ensure we meet the different needs of children from bilingual families and those learning Spanish as a modern foreign language.

Our Spanish curriculum has been developed over a number of years and is planned in a way that links learning to the National Curriculum. It is divided into topics which are related to the Key stage 2 and Key stage 3 Spanish objectives and ultimately to GCSE examination objectives

Topics are organised to link with those that children are learning in their other lessons through a wide range of engaging activities aimed at meeting differing language needs. Every lesson has a Spanish grammar objective and a general literacy objective which are linked to the year group objectives for literacy in the primary curriculum.

Admissions

About 7% of our children come from Spanish speaking bilingual families with a further 9% having a variety of different home languages. The Founders of the school wanted the opportunity provided by the Bilingual School to be available to non-Spanish speaking children as well as those with bilingual backgrounds. For these reasons being a Spanish speaker is not one of the criteria for admission and Spanish speaking children do not have any priority over those who do not speak Spanish.

Parental involvement

I am often asked whether it is essential for parents to be Spanish speakers for their children to be allocated a place at the school. There is no requirement for parents to speak Spanish but parental support and engagement is absolutely essential if children are to make the best progress and to make the most of the opportunity provided by the school.

Assessment

By the end of Year 6 the majority of the children are working well within the KS4 programme of study for Spanish and, for these children, we currently offer the opportunity to take their GCSE. In June 2018 out first cohort of Year 6 will be sitting the exam and we will use the opportunity following this to review  whether this is the best assessment approach given the age and maturity of the children.

Continuous exposure

Our teaching assistants and some of our teachers are all bilingual and will talk to your children in Spanish for all social and organisational language and, as the children develop understanding and confidence, will expect Spanish responses. Breakfast club, playtimes, lunchtimes and after school club are all conducted totally in Spanish and children are supported to use their knowledge of spoken Spanish through a graduated Spanish grammar spine.

Espanol(1)Topic Words

The wider life of the school

All decisions are made with our commitment to exposing children to a wider cultural experience in mind. For example, after school clubs all have a cultural focus including Flamenco, French, chess in Spanish and Spanish speaking coaches at the football club. Our school meals are provided by Ole Ole and many curriculum topics include a focus on the Spanish speaking world. Classes are all named after a Spanish speaking country and children carry out an in-depth exploration of their class’s geography, culture and customs.

Parents often asked me what does this mean on a day to day basis so we thought it would be useful to give a sense of how a day works at our school from breakfast club to when the school closes at 5.45.

  • Breakfast club is conducted totally in Spanish
  • When they arrive in class children will be greeted in Spanish. Any early morning social discussions will also take place in Spanish
  • Teachers often review the class charter (acuerdos de la clase) at the beginning of the day – this is done in Spanish and English
  • The register will then be taken with children responding in Spanish - either reinforcing vocabulary learned or answering a question posed by the teacher or teaching assistant
  • They will have a dedicated Spanish lesson twice a week
  • On a weekly basis, each group within a class will be involved in a Spanish guided reading activity
  • Children will be supported to use Spanish at all times using the grammar spine (see photos above)
  • Teaching assistants and Spanish speaking teachers will use Spanish for non-subject specific language
  • Solo Español activities will take place over the week when children can speak only in Spanish. This may include circle time activities or topic based challenges
  • If it is a Tuesday, children will attend the weekly Spanish assembly. On a Friday they will either be presenting at or watching a class assembly
  • At playtime and lunchtime teaching assistants will interact with children in Spanish. At times, Spanish games or activities are introduced
  • The afternoons are often dedicated to topic activities where all topic vocabulary is taught and reinforced in Spanish

Speaking Spanish

Please watch the videos below to see examples of our students from different year groups speaking Spanish...

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