Spanish Springs at Summerhill!



 The 'Spanish Springs in Summerhill' (SSS) Project was designed to build Summerhill Primary School's capacity to teach Spanish and to enhance our profile as a truly European school.

 We care about every aspect of our children's development and aim to provide them with a wide-ranging curriculum that includes a modern foreign language. 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 others. The SSS Project aimed to address this.

 The SSS Project built on the learning from the Partners In Poland Project (see PIPs Page) and took us to a new level towards becoming an international school.

 SSS was a Key Action 1 Erasmus+ Project, co-funded by the British Council and the Erasmus+ Programme of the EU.  The main activity funded by Erasmus+ in SSS was structured training courses for Summerhill staff in Spain. Two groups of nine, then five, comprising both teaching and non-teaching staff, committed part of their allotted school holidays to week long training courses, which were selected for their capacity to develop personal Spanish language skills AND Spanish teaching skills. The fully-immersive training and preparatory work - whereby all staff involved had fortnightly Spanish tuition through the 2016-2017 school year -  greatly enhanced staff foreign language competence, raised staff awareness and understanding of Spain and the Spanish culture. It also enabled us to increase our network of international contacts. Staff pedagogical knowledge was developed so that they returned from the course with a clearer understanding of how to teach Spanish and how to respond to the needs of individual children in this subject.

 Following recommendations from other course participants we have since introduced a new Spanish scheme of work which is now being rolled out through out the school. Our Spanish Language curriculum now includes Years 1 and 2 as well as the Juniors, and all classes are involved in making links with Spanish schools through eTwinning (a safe, on-line space for European Projects). During a Spanish Day in December, the whole school got involved in a variety of Spanish activities which had been brought back from Malaga.

 Through the SSS project we have built capacity to begin to be able to develop and deliver a quality Modern Foreign Language programme, and also to promote staff well-being in order to maintain a strong professional profile. A longer term aim is to provide pupils with opportunities to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Spanish, and this we hope to fully achieve by organising pupil mobilities in later projects. We have invested a lot of time and energy into SSS and it has already had a major impact on whole school development. Pupils have already begun to benefit from the project as their Language curriculum has started to improve and the school is becoming more 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 SSS Project has enabled us to take important steps towards being a truly European community with a robust understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity.

 It is a tribute to the staff of the school that so many were willing to give up one week of their holidays in order to attend the LEAP Training course, putting themselves well out of their comfort zones in the process. Their enthusiasm and willingness to improve the school is truly admirable!