As part of our Curriculum for Wales reform, we’ve been looking at which international language to introduce. St Julian’s Secondary School teach Spanish and therefore, it made sense for us to teach the same language to ensure progression as children move through primary into secondary school.
Back in March, Miss Millett and Mr Mansfield visited a school in Nerja, Spain, to learn about Spanish language and culture ready to incorporate Spanish into our school curriculum.
Following our visit, we invited four of the teachers we met to visit us at St. Julian’s Primary School, to help us launch Spanish and get us started.
Candella (Headteacher), Kike (Deputy Headteacher), Rocio (Director of International Links) and Antonio (Spanish Language Teacher and Tutor) arrived on Sunday 18th June and stayed with us until Wednesday.
On Sunday, Mr Mansfield collected them from Bristol airport very early in the morning. From there, we took them to their little AirBnB house to get them settled in.
After checking in, we set off to meet Mrs Howells at St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life to give the guests a taste of Welsh History. They realised, when checking in, that they had forgotten European-to-Uk plug adapters, so we made a quick stop at Argos en route to St Fagans.
Mrs Howells met us at St Fagans and together, we all explored the houses and buildings, listening to the guides as they talked about the history behind each.
After St Fagans, we headed for Cardiff Bay. We saw the Senedd, the Wales Millennium Centre and the Barrage. We stopped for lunch at Wetherspoons and chatted about plans for their time with us.
Whilst in Sainsburys, the teachers had loved looking at the children’s books and couldn’t believe how much cheaper they were in the UK than Spain. Mrs Howells mentioned that Costco had some good deals on children’s books – so off we went to Costco next! After a couple of hours of browsing through books, we headed back to Newport via Castell Coch.
Mr Jones met us back at the AirBnB and we sat and ate and drank coffee together, whilst talking about plans for school.
After eating, we left them to catch up on sleep before the busy few days ahead.
On Monday, Mr Mansfield arrived early to collect the teachers and take them to school. We arrived early at St Julian’s Primary and had a tour of the school building, introducing each of the staff members. The Spanish teachers enjoyed seeing our displays and looking around our classrooms. They were impressed with lots of the resources we have, particularly the technology.
The bell then rang, and all the children arrived. The Spanish teachers loved meeting and greeting the children, particularly as lots of the children had been practising their Spanish greetings and arrived with a “Hola, Cómo estás?”
The Spanish teachers visited every classroom from Nursery all the way to Year 2. They then took the Foundation Phase assembly and gave a brilliant presentation on Spain, including some simple Spanish phrases and they even taught us a Spanish song.
They then visited the remaining Key Stage 2 classes and enjoyed chatting to the children and introducing themselves.
At lunch time, we treated the visitors to a homemade pizza. Kike had spotted our pizza oven during their tour of the school earlier and told us of his love for cooking pizza – he sounded like far more of an expert pizza-cooker that us! We got the oven out at lunch time and Kike set to work making delicious pizzas from scratch. He was a perfectionist and made sure his pizzas were *just right* before serving!
After lunch, the Spanish teachers split into two groups and visited Year 3 and 4 classes to teach Spanish language patterns.
The teachers finished the school day by taking the key-stage 2 assembly. Again, they taught us about Spain, Spanish traditions and culture as well as showing us beautiful pictures from Andalucia, the region where they live and where their school is.
After school, we held a Spanish language and Tapas event for parents and children. Lots attended and it was great to taste Spanish cuisine whilst being taught by Antonio.
After that, we took the teachers to play adventure Golf at the Celtic Manor Resort. Mr Jones and Miss Shepherd formed a team to take on Rocio and Candella as another team, and Kike and Antonio as another. Despite never having played Golf before, Rocio managed to get a hole-in-one, which was very exciting for everyone!
After that, we visited Sainsbury’s for the Spanish teachers to get ingredients for tea time – Kike and Rocio were going to cook! They made a great meal with a whole range of food to choose from. Laura, another teacher from Monmouth who had visited Spain with us also joined us for food. We enjoyed chatting about the similarities and differences between our education systems and schools.
The following morning, Mr Mansfield picked the teachers up early again. They started the morning off by teaching groups of children to cook a Spanish Omelette or Tortilla in our cookery suite. The children loved chatting away to the teachers as they cooked together and the Spanish teachers did a great job teaching us. After cooking, we of course at the tortillas and they were genuinely delicious – even the children said so!
Next, the Spanish teachers gave us a large pile of letters which their pupils had written to our pupils. They had written in Spanish and in English. Our Children in year 5 and 6 loved opening and reading the letters and also wrote back to them. The Spanish teachers collected the letters and packed them ready to take back to Spain with them.
After this, the teachers spent some time with Miss Shepherd chatting about how we use technology to support teaching and learning. The teachers had noticed that we had a lot of technology around the school and commented on how well the children could use it all.
During the afternoon, the Spanish teachers again visited each of the classes to teach more Spanish language.
Just before the children went home for the day, members of our department from Technology and communication wanted to interview the Spanish teachers on their podcast. The teachers agreed and sat down at our podcast station. You can listen to their podcast here.
After school, we went over to Caerleon to enjoy a meal out together. We again enjoyed chatting about education and the Spanish teachers said lots of lovely things about our school – they loved seeing how we used technology and loved how polite and confident our children were. They had made lots of notes of ideas they wanted to take back to their school.
After eating, the teachers fancied an ice-cream. I wasn’t sure where to get ice-cream from late in the evening, but some of our children had previously been telling me about a place called sub-zero… so we put it into Google Maps and off we went. It didn’t disappoint! We enjoyed a whole range of flavours before heading back to the AirBnB.
The following morning… on their last day in Wales, Mr Mansfield took the Spanish teachers over to Malpas Church in Wales school. The headteacher and another member of their staff had also visited Nerja with us back in March, so the Spanish teachers were keen to visit their school too. They enjoyed teaching Spanish lessons to their children, and also enjoyed chatting to some pupils who spoke fluent Spanish. Antonio was also happy that they had visited on Roast Chicken Dinner day – he had been looking forward to a Sunday roast which had tasted before when he lived in London!
At the end of the afternoon, Mr Mansfield picked them up from Malpas Church Primary ready to head back to the airport. They were keen to stop for some souvenirs, so we stopped at a little gift shop on the way. Time was against us and so was the traffic! We hurried as fast as we could to Bristol airport… it didn’t help that we missed the motorway turn off and ended up having to go through Bristol centre at rush hour!
With minutes to spare until their plane took off, we just made it and they sprinted through security and check-in ready to board, shouting goodbye/adios as they ran!
It was really great having them visit. Both we and they got so much out of it, sharing ideas and practice and of course new language phrases!
We hope to be able to continue the link in the future.