Languages at St. John’s

Currently, there are 23 languages spoken at St. John’s and nearly a third of the children have English as an Additional Language. We are so blessed to be a multicultural community and we want to ensure that our children benefit from the wealth of languages, experiences and cultures that surround them on a daily basis.

Each term we have a focus language. Since the start of 2017, we have had Spanish, Malayalam, Polish, French and Tagalog. The native speakers from our school community support us in teaching others about the focused languages and the countries where they are spoken. We also try and link in cultural experiences for our children – for example, when our focus was Malayalam, the Upahaar school of dance (alongside two of our pupils) performed an ancient form of Indian dance for our children called Bharatanatyam.

Our Young Interpreters

In the Autumn term, many children applied to be the school’s first Young Interpreters. The Young Interpreters Scheme was devised in Hampshire to support children whose first language was not English. The Young Interpreter Scheme® recognises the huge potential that exists within our school community for pupils of all ages to use their skills and knowledge to support new learners of English so that they feel safe, settled and valued from the start of their time at St. John’s.

From the many applicants who applied, twelve children were chosen. They were selected on the basis of different personal qualities they had and underwent specific training to prepare for this role. In December 2016 they officially became ‘Young Interpreters’ and were given certificates, hats and badges in a special school assembly. In 2017, more Young Interpreters were added to the existing 12.

Currently, they support newly-arrived pupils helping them to become familiar with the school routines and translating for them when necessary. They help those in school with limited English and younger children who lack confident in using their spoken English. Alongside our EAL leader, Mrs Curtis, they support other children in become confident English speakers.

Click on the link to read the article written about them –  Young Interpreters Newsletter spring 2017

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