Primary children in Caerphilly are studying modern foreign languages in after-school clubs, thanks to a pound;224,410 lottery grant. The council is the first in Wales to be given lottery money to support languages in after-school clubs.
Part of the award is being pumped into school drama productions. The rest will go towards enhancing work already started to introduce modern foreign languages at key stage 2.
CILT Cymru, the Welsh national language centre, has piloted the scheme, which involves children in activities such as ball games and shopping trips to improve their vocabulary.
The extra cash in Caerphilly has meant the work can be extended to after-school clubs where pupils can use games, songs and role-play to enhance learning. Steve Rees, head at Bedwas junior, Caerphilly, said the Lotto cash would mean the school could fund a Spanish tutor for the next financial year.
For the past year, a tutor from Gwent training and enterprise council has been giving Spanish lessons to pupils, parents and teachers. Bedwas's Spanish club has links with other schools in Malta and Spain.
Mr Rees said: "It means parents will not have to pay for our after-school Spanish club, which is great news. We've all really got into the Spanish club - we've arranged trips to Spain and even tried out some flamenco dancing."
More than 500 hours of drama sessions in nine targeted communities will also be provided over two years as part of the cash windfall. The Community Youth Theatre proposal aims to nurture the talents of young people within the Caerphilly council area. There will also be large-scale holiday schemes thanks to the successful bid.
Councillor David Hardacre, Caerphilly's cabinet member for education, said:
"We are delighted to hear of our grant-bid success and look forward to implementing these exciting schemes across the county borough."
The Caerphilly cash came from the Big Lottery Fund's pound;14.3 million out-of-hours childcare programme, set up to create 22,000 childcare places across Wales. This has now ended, but the lottery distributor says it is funding other programmes "designed to meet the needs of childcare in Wales".