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Advanced skills in vogue

Deb Winnard has left her post as head of languages at a St Helens secondary to lead the drive to bring French and Spanish to Merseyside primaries.

As the town's only advanced skills languages teacher, she will continue to teach four days a week at De La Salle secondary but spend the fifth day working with the school's seven feeder primaries.

Mrs Winnard, 42, said: "I wanted to stay a classroom practitioner, but like the challenge of going into other schools and inspiring children to do languages."

The use of advanced skills staff is one of a raft of measures the Government is using to extend language learning to all junior children by 2010.

Funding was set aside for 200 language ASTs but only 130 teachers have applied. Of these, 65 have met the criteria, 53 are still being assessed and 12 have been turned down. The teachers are on a separate pay scale and receive between pound;3,000 and pound;5,000 more to spread good practice.

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