THE languages department at Churston Ferrers Grammar School near Brixham had a busy year in 2013.
A group of 25 Brazilians from the Devon School of English visited Churston to introduce students in Years 7, 11 and 12 to their country, the Portuguese language and samba.
Pupils in Year 8 embraced the challenge of learning basic Chinese. Using a range of technologies to access resources, and with occasional help from a Chinese assistant, they learned greetings, how to talk about family and friends, and how to count to 20.
Isabelle Bright, from the languages department, said: “These children worked independently in an already very busy school timetable.”
Sixth formers volunteered to take part in a national project aimed at supporting languages in the community. Fifteen Year 12 students each ran three consecutive Spanish workshops for children in Years 4, 5 and 6, helping them to improve their vocabulary and sentence structure on a range of topics from greetings to food and drink.
In the process, the students developed their personal, social and leadership skills.
The school also made it a special Christmas for residents in the area. Students rose to the challenge of making Christmas hampers for deserving people in the local community, the idea of new teacher Kate Wilkins.
Every single form from Years 7 to 11 produced a hamper, making a total of 25.
Kate said: “Ultimately this project was introduced so that, as a school, it could give some very deserving individuals a special gift: a hamper packed with countless goodies made by the students themselves.
“The hampers came in all shapes and sizes, with some in the form of snowmen, reindeers, Santa and even his sleigh. The students were given the opportunity to nominate people, young and old, who they felt truly deserved a special treat this Christmas. To add that special personal touch, those who nominated someone were asked to deliver the hamper.”
Sarah Hoff, project co-ordinator, said: “It has been very humbling to speak to those people the students so thoughtfully nominated: they have been so very grateful. Many of those nominated have suffered hardship, the loss of loved ones, loneliness or failing health.”