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Paul Toner of Shawlands Academy in Glasgow

(Photograph) - Paul Toner of Shawlands Academy in Glasgow was among 32 pupils from the city who ran the gauntlet of the French lorry drivers' strike last week to take part in the EU Euroscola programme for the first time, John Clark writes. They were among 500 students from the 15 EU member states who took over the European parliament in Strasbourg for two days of debate, discussion and sight-seeing. Pupils from North and South Lanarkshire also attended.

Mr Toner and Ewan Smith from the High School of Glasgow introduced the Scottish group to the young assembly in fluent French, belying the city's well-publicised problems with modern languages.

Alex Blackwood, chief executive of the Glasgow education-business partnership which supported the trip, said it was "a first step in tackling the low levels of study of modern languages in Glasgow schools".

The partnership also attached importance to European awareness, Mr Blackwood said. For the record, 16 of the Glasgow group agreed that Britain should join the single European currency, 10 disagreed and the rest were undecided.

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