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St Edmund’s is first in East Anglia to receive language gold

St Edmund's Catholic Primary school, in Bury St Edmunds, has become the first school in East Anglia to secure the prestigious Gold Linguamarque accreditation, thanks to the coordinated efforts of all the staff, children and governors.

The Gold Linguamarque is awarded for outstanding language learning, consistent progress and assessment, and an active involvement of the whole school to embed languages in every day school life.

St Edmund's has worked hard as a whole school towards achieving this award and staff have seen an impact on children's eagerness to learn and their results in other key STEM subjects; for example French grammar has helped reinforce the English grammar knowledge they need to obtain good SATS results.

Like every good story this one almost went wrong at the last minute as the school long-planned Linguamarque audit ended up coinciding with an OFSTED inspection of the school' but this was not enough to put off Aude Wallace, Primary Languages coordinator at St Edmund's, and the two inspections went on as planned, with the day ending in a gold award.

Aude said: "This was quite a challenging day but we had collected strong evidence. On the day, the Year 6 pupils who were observed did a really good lesson on transport and showed off how much they knew with confidence. They were fantastic.

"As a Catholic school, it really fits into our ethos of being open to other cultures, and preparing our young people to become open-minded, tolerant and caring citizens."

Dr Marina Dixon, Schools Choice languages adviser, wrote in her report: "It has been a real pleasure to see St Edmund's successful journey to achieving the Gold Linguamarque Award. The head teacher and staff's commitment to Primary Languages, coupled with the excellent leadership of the languages subject leader, Aude Wallace, have ensured that languages are taught at the school not only in line with the government's requirements but also in a vibrant, enthusiastic and exciting manner.

"I hope that the school pupils will continue to develop their appreciation and passion for languages throughout their lives. We are, after all, preparing our children to become the citizens of tomorrow's world, a "global village" where the ability to communicate with, and respect other people's languages and cultures will be of paramount importance. I hope that other schools will be inspired by St Edmund's model of excellence in primary languages."

Anne Hornsblow, the school's governor for primary languages, had visited the school a few weeks earlier and noticed the French calendar and weather charts in each classroom, the French labels and displays throughout the whole school, and how often she was greeted by the children with "Bonjours", and even with a rendition of the French "song of the month" in one class. She commented to the governing body on how happy all the children were to show off their knowledge and understanding of languages.

Dr Dixon presented the school with the first-ever Linguamarque Gold certificate on Thursday April 20 during assembly.

But the work is not finished as the school has started advising and mentoring other local primary schools to help them achieve Linguamarque, and help Bury St Edmunds become a place to watch for language learning!

Pictured above are Aude Wallace, primary languages subject leader at St Edmund's Catholic Primary School; Dr Marina Dixon, Suffolk Schools Choice languages adviser, and Maria Kemble, St Edmund's executive headteacher, pictured with pupils and the Gold Linguamarque award.