"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A British School where Pupils Speak 31 Languages




London, June 9 (IANS) A primary school in Britain has its own quality of "unity in diversity". Its pupils speak 31 different languages including Bangla and Sylheti forms of Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati and Punjabi besides English and several other European tongues.
The English Martyrs' Catholic School in Birmingham has 414 pupils, the Daily Mail reported.
Children attending the school who speak English as their first language are in a tiny minority.
The other languages include Afrikaans, Arabic -- Iraqi, Lingala, Sudanese and Yemeni forms, Czech, Dutch, Gaelic, Gurmukhi, Hindko, Jamaican Patois, Kachi, Mirpuri, Nepalese, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Sudanese, Swiss French and Yoruba.
Mirpuri and Hindko are both from Pakistan.
Despite the challenges facing teachers, the diversity appears to have improved results at the school.
School head Evelyn Harper attributes high exam scores to the value many of the pupils' home cultures place on learning.
Last year, 91 percent of pupils achieved the benchmark level four or above in English, and 89 percent in maths.
The school sometimes uses translators, as well as a "buddy" system where new students are paired with one already at the school who has the same mother-tongue and can help them start picking up English words.
Figures obtained by the Birmingham Mail revealed that more than 120 languages are spoken across the city's schools.
Despite being a Catholic school, the majority of pupils at English Martyrs hail are from a Pakistani background.
Latest government figures show that pupils who speak English as their first language are now in the minority at more than a quarter of Birmingham schools.
Records from the Department for Education showed a majority of students at 117 of the city's 430 primary and secondary schools listed a different language as their mother tongue.
The English Martyrs school recently celebrated its centenary. It was a mainly Irish Catholic background in the 1950s and 60s. Around 11 percent of students are currently Catholic.
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http://www.englishmartyrs.bham.sch.uk/prospectus/School_Prospectus_2008-2009.pdf
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http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/

"....As you may know, during its last inspection in Mar-09, Ofsted inspectors judged your child’s school to be good. Schools which are performing well are now inspected less often than other schools. This usually means that good schools are inspected once in five years, whilst satisfactory schools will be inspected at least once every three years...
...I am pleased to inform you that our interim assessment shows that the school’s performance has been sustained and that we can defer its next full inspection...."

The following are the Ofsted assessment reports:

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