‘Amamos Español!’

(the above means ‘we love Spanish!’)

Whilst languages might be on the decline in many schools up and down the country, Warminster School is strongly fighting the trend, not only in the classroom but with an extensive language exchange programme.  We are lucky to have not one, but three language exchange programmes to France, Spain and Germany and many of our pupils make use of this fantastic opportunity to experience the languages and cultures they are studying in a native country.

Years 7, 8 and 9 establish their first links with pupils a long time before venturing out to meet their exchange pupils in person. Every pupil has (at least!) one pen pal who they write letters to. Both the letters our pupils write, as well as the ones they receive, are half in English and half in the foreign language to ensure that every pupil has the opportunity to practise both their understanding and their written skills.

During the first week in May, nine of our Year 9 pupils who are studying Spanish were lucky enough to go to the IES Miguel Servet school in Zaragoza and spend a week with their exchange partners. No classroom experience can beat the feeling of actually being in the country, listening day and night to the language, living with a local family, not to mention seeing and sampling what people eat and drink! As always, the initial ‘shell-shock-feeling’ quickly subsided and our Year 9 pupils made the most of every opportunity on offer.

A key element of the exchange is of course to spend concentrated periods of time in the classroom and we are grateful to both the teachers and pupils of IES Miguel Servet who welcomed our pupils so warmly into their classrooms. However, there was plenty of time for some fun including canoeing down the river Ebro, attempting the traditional dance ‘jota’ during a music lesson and compiling creative scrapbooks during arts and crafts activities. A lively audience participation tour around the city centre itself was a particular highlight and our pupils returned home armed with local Spanish recipes having learned to cook ‘tortilla de patatas’ and ‘salmorejo andaluz’. 

It was a truly fantastic week for everyone, visitors and hosts, alike and our busy MFL department eagerly await the next trip.  A big thank you to our Spanish teacher Mr Sustek, and language assistant Miss Godoy who looked after our pupils for the week, although as they proudly confirmed, they had been the perfect ambassadors.  Well done Year 9!

Our next exciting language exchange trips are not far away – France and Germany next!

10th – 17th October 2019 Y10 French exchange trip to Cognac

6th – 12th December 2019 Y9 German exchange trip to Holzminden

Barbara Mitterrutzner​, German Teacher