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First Noel of bilingual carols

Pupils at Wendell Park primary, west London, speak 34 languages between them, and now Simon Robinson, headteacher, is introducing lessons in four more - French, Spanish, Italian and German.

The 340-pupil school is one of six involved in Hammersmith and Fulham's pathfinder project for languages this year.

The London borough is one of the 19 authorities running a government-funded project to find ways of introducing languages at primary level.

Mr Robinson said: "Our school is multi-lingual and we wanted this represented in the curriculum."

Under the pathfinder project, Karen Dalah, a linguist and reception teacher, will be released for a day each week to teach French to Years 1 and 5.

She will also be introducing Spanish, French and Italian to the reception class during lessons and a teacher and a PGCE student, based at another school, will visit to teach German to Year 6 pupils.

Class teachers, who will be present during her lessons, will be expected to make use of bits of a modern foreign language during the week, for example when writing the date on the board.

Mr Robinson said: "Our idea is that speaking more than one language is normal, not just a bolt on. Our Christmas celebration this year will have all the singing in French and German."

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