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A local school with an international perspective
Three educators, Stephanie Parkin, Teacher, Bilingual Stream, Katie Hancock, Deputy Head Teacher, and Bunmi Richards, Head Teacher met with me to discuss the bilingual program at Shaftesbury Park Primary inaugurated in the academic year 2013-2014.
1. What curriculum does the bilingual stream in Shaftesbury Park follow?
Stephanie Parkin: We follow the British curriculum, specifically Early Years Foundation State (EYFS) National Curriculum in KS1 and 2.
Katie Hancock: Next year we will be looking to follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) that includes history, geography, and science in French.
2. Can you walk me through a day at Shaftesbury Park?
Stephanie: We begin the morning with core subjects. For literacy we teach reading and writing, speaking and listening, so the children get the vocabulary they need. We also teach maths. These are in English. The afternoon is all French: speaking and listening. We use French in art, drama and PE and encourage the development of language use. We do not teach reading and writing in early years but we do read stories in French.
3. When did the program begin and what was the intake?
The program began last year in 2013 and there were 27 students. There were more English first language speakers than there are for the 30 children in 2014.
4. Are the lesson plans designed by you?
Stephanie: Yes, I also have a native French-speaking assistant.
Bunmi Richards: Stephanie designs her class in conjunction with the rest of the school so the children who are not in the bilingual stream also benefit from the French provision.
5. Are you happy with the way the year went?
Bunmi: The feedback from parents has been very positive. And we think the children enjoyed learning French, too.
Stephanie: Our main aim was to make language learning fun.
6. What is your biggest takeaway from this year?
Stephanie: Allowing children to have a reason to talk helps language learning.
7. What has been your main challenge?
Bunmi: We've felt our way along. We came to the decision that children need a distinct time to speak another language. When we did this we received good feedback from the parents. My takeaway is to keep adapting to the needs of our children.
8. What future provisions will you have at Shaftesbury Park?
Katie: We are open to hosting CNED. We have already established relations with L'Ecole du Parc and L'Ecole de Battersea; they come to us for recreation. We hope to develop further links with other schools like the contact we have established with a school in La Réunion. We would also love to develop a network for Wandsworth's bilingual teachers so we can learn from one another.
9. What would you say your key message is?
Katie: We are a local school with an international perspective.
Find out more about the bilingual program in its second year at Shaftesbury Park here.
27 October 2014