Teachers from Millfield Primary School, North Walsham, off to India to learn about teaching languages

Millfield Primary School at North Walsham which has a partner school in India. Pupils Millie Markwor

Millfield Primary School at North Walsham which has a partner school in India. Pupils Millie Markworth 5 and Evie Thompson 5.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk primary is strengthening its links with a sister school in India where pupils can speak three languages.

Millfield Primary, in North Walsham, began a partnership with Shemford Futuristic School, in Pathankot, Punjab, a year ago.

And next spring two Millfield teachers hope to spend a fortnight at Shemford, picking up tips on teaching pupils two extra languages.

Millfield pupils age six to eight started learning Spanish this term from a native speaker, Ariadna Contreas , from Tenerife, who has joined the school for six months as a cultural assistant.

Miss Contreas is also introducing the children to the food and customs of Spain.

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At eight, children switch to learning French, said Robin Smith, teacher and international co-ordinator at Millfield, which has 280 pupils. 'That means that they are a bit tri-lingual by the time they leave here,' he added.

Languages were not only important for understanding different cultures but helped learners progress in their own tongue.

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'Understanding how grammar and phonics function in a second or third language helps the learner to reflect and progress in their first tongue,' he said.

Millfield has been awarded £3,000 through the British Council's Connecting Classrooms project which will be used to part-fund the teachers' trip and a return trip to North Walsham by two Indian teachers next June.

Mr Smith said he and another teacher would spend the time at Shemford sharing their teaching skills and learning about the Indian school's language lessons and its emphasis on outdoor learning, of especial interest to Millfield which is about to become a Forest School.

The native language of Shemford's 160 pupils is Punjabi. They learn Punjabi, Hindi and English, and all classes are taught in English.

'By the time they are in years four, five and six, the children can chat away in English. We want to find out how we can really embed second-language learning across the curriculum,' said Mr Smith.

? Millfield would welcome any sponsorship for the trip to India. Ring 01692 403172

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