The Linguist

The Linguist 59,4 - Aug/Sept 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES Bernadette Clinton explains how Hackney has dealt with the thorny issue of transition from primary to secondary T he number of students taking a Spanish GCSE in Hackney, north London, increased from 808 in 2018 to 1,009 last year. Just 33 were taking a Spanish A level but this number was growing, with 83 starting an A level course in September. Now, it would be foolish to deduce that this was a direct result of all primary and secondary schools in the borough teaching Spanish as the first foreign language since 2014. In fact, the pupils who have studied four years of Spanish in Key Stage 2 (KS2; ages 7-11) are still in Year 8 (ages 12-13) and will not sit their GCSEs for another three years. However, there is certainly a buzz around Spanish provision in Hackney. By the end of Year 6, pupils had studied Spanish for 3-4 years in 74% of the schools that submitted relevant data in 2019 – an increase from 67% in 2018 – and 67% of pupils had reached the level required at the end of KS2. Spanish is becoming embedded in our primary sector as an integral part of the curriculum, and many external organisations are involved in supporting this. Three schools have been awarded International Spanish School status by the Spanish government because they are teaching another curriculum area through Spanish, using the Content and Language Integrated Learning approach (CLIL). Twelve primary schools have taken pupils to visit their partner school in Spain and 14 have received Erasmus+ Key Action 1 funding to send around 100 staff members on courses in Spain to improve their Spanish. The language consultants set about enlisting help from external organisations to help enhance the provision. The Museum of the Home offers a Spanish story for Key Stage 1 pupils (KS1; ages 5-7); the local Rio Cinema puts on Spanish films for schools; local musicians and dancers perform in schools during Hispanic Week; and the Consejería de Educación in London is closely involved, as is the Arsenal Double Club. The consultants set up the Hackney Primary Spanish Award to monitor and celebrate the quality of the Spanish provision. It is common for schools to organise visits to art galleries to explore Spanish artists, such as the recent Sorolla exhibition at the National Gallery and Velázquez at the Wallace Collection. A brave step None of this would have been possible without the leaders of the Hackney Learning Trust (the Council's Education Department) and headteachers agreeing to support the implementation of Spanish across all schools as the first foreign language. This was to avoid the Joined-up thinking FULLY ENGAGED Year 4 pupils at Parkwood Primary in a Skype lesson with their partner school in Alcanices, Zamora. Pupils from the school also visited their local secondary to teach Year 7 students, impressing with their confidence, aplomb and focus on correct pronunciation

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