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Catching them young

OCKER Hill Junior introduced French lessons for pupils seven years ago. Two mornings a week, nine, 10 and 11-year-olds learn the basics with teacher Lucy Kelly, writes Alison Brace.

"What we aim to do is send children out of here who are enthusiastic to learn modern languages. If we achieve that then we have hit the target," says Andy Tromans, head of the 240-pupil school in Sandwell in the West Midlands.

"We deliver all areas of the national curriculum - nothing suffers." <> Mr Tromans suggested the idea to governors after hearing how the Midlands was losing crucial business because employees were sometimes unable to respond to a simple telephone inquiry from abroad.

Last year the school joined a research project being run by the Department for Education and Employment and the Centre for Information on Language Teaching looking at how best to deliver modern languages at key stage 2.

The school has links with five European schools.

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