Celebrating diversity

20th January 2006 at 00:00
One way of raising the profile of community language speakers in a school is to hold an event which celebrates the school's cultural and linguistic mix. This is what we did at Southend High School for Girls Language College when we held our first community languages fair.

The idea came out of a survey to gauge the level of linguistic diversity among our pupils. In what is considered to be a predominantly white English-speaking community, we were surprised to discover that more than 20 languages were spoken by our pupils at home. And what a variety there was- Greek, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian and Yoruba, to name but a few.

We felt that this cultural and linguistic diversity needed celebrating and the idea of a community languages fair was born.

All community language speakers were invited to organise and run a stall promoting their language, culture and traditions. They were encouraged to rope in any willing family members to help, and were given free rein to organise their stalls however they wanted. They did not disappoint.

The event was a real onslaught on the senses - Indian drums, Russian pop music, Bollywood films, Greek food, Indian nibbles, origami, henna tattooing, Chinese calligraphy, saris and bindis - a veritable cultural melting pot and a true sense of celebration.

The event was timetabled during an afternoon session in the refectory.

Different year groups were invited to visit the fair at allocated times and bring along families and friends. We also invited our local chamber of commerce to run a stall that promoted languages in business.

The success of the event was entirely due to the enthusiasm and participation of the whole school community. This, coupled with the superb organisational skills of our language college administrator, ensured the event was a triumph, definitely one to be repeated.

Penny Bowman Primary liaison and community co-ordinator, Southend High School for Girls, Essex

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today