Improving Spanish at Summerhill - description
The 'Improving Spanish at Summerhill' (ISS) Project is part of a long term strategy designed to build Summerhill Primary School's capacity to teach Spanish and to enhance our profile as a truly European school.
We are a small, one-form entry community primary school in the suburbs of Liverpool with a large staff due to high numbers of children with complex special needs. Through a relentless drive to raise standards in the core subjects and a major focus on staff wellbeing we manage to achieve excellent academic results. But we also care about every other aspect of our children's development and provide them with a wide-ranging curriculum that includes Forest School and an inspirational Arts programme.
We have been confidently providing the new National Curriculum since its introduction in September 2014, but realise that our capacity to deliver the language programme is lacking compared to our prowess in other areas.
In 2014 we took our first major steps towards internationalising our curriculum when twelve staff engaged in Training and Teaching Assignments in Poland. From this we learnt that it is possible for pupils to develop competence in a foreign language at an early age, and we determined to achieve this at Summerhill. We have made important strides in the last two years towards achieving our aims, namely: to build capacity to develop and deliver a quality Modern Foreign Language programme and to promote staff well-being in order to maintain a strong professional profile.
The main activity funded by Erasmus+ during this KA1 project will be Teaching Assignments and Job-Shadowing activities for Summerhill staff in Spain. A group of 12 staff, comprising both teaching and non-teaching staff, will spend one week in our partner school in Alaqas, Spain in 2020. During the week they will develop their confidence and improve their teaching expertise by teaching lessons to English classes. They will also job-shadow Spanish teachers in order to observe their methods and curriculum content so that they can gain a greater insight into the Spanish education system. Participants will also engage in cultural activities in order to gather resources and knowledge to add to the Spanish Curriculum at Summerhill. Throughout the mobilities participants will be encouraged to practice their Spanish speaking and listening skills.
Alongside this main activity we will be working on supporting activities such as e-twinning projects and language classes in order to maximize the impact, and during the lifetime of the project will be hosting 12 Spanish teachers from our partner school.
The ISS Project will be led and managed by an Erasmus+ Management Group (E+MG) comprising Kath Coyle (Vice-Chair of Governors), Mrs Gleig (Headteacher), Mrs Kavanagh (International Co-ordinator - KS1) and Mrs Padilla (Assistant Head - KS2). This group will oversee all aspects of the project and ensure that the desired objectives are achieved as far as possible.
We will be investing a lot of time and energy into this project and expect it to have a major impact on whole school development.
The mobilities will greatly enhance staff foreign language competence, raise staff awareness and understanding of Spain and the Spanish culture, and offer the opportunity to build networks of international contacts. They will also help to develop staff pedagogical knowledge so that they return with a clearer understanding of how to teach a foreign language.
We know from previous experience that staff will also develop personally in terms of confidence and inter-personal skills, giving them improved capacity for promotion and greater job-satisfaction. From the excitement of learning a new language they will see the benefits of lifelong learning and be enthused to seek and take other opportunities as they arise.
Pupils will benefit from the project as their Spanish curriculum, implemented only in 2017, continues to improve and the school becomes bi-lingual in its approach. In the long term they will benefit from being involved in mobilities to Spain themselves and as generations of pupils receive an excellent languages education they will contribute to a more cohesive society and a more skilled and internationalised workforce. The school will be able to boast a modernised curriculum and be a truly European community with a robust understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity.