A group of bilingual youngsters have shared their pride at helping to teach their friends to speak English.
The 14 children, who attend the Bewbush Academy, are part of the Young Interpreters scheme, which was set up to support new pupils from other countries.
The academy is a melting pot of 20 languages, ranging from French and Italian to Urdu and Gujarati – the most common being Caribbean Creole French – and the children take joy from helping each other to develop their skills.
Maya Rogojs, of Eagle Class, was born in England to Polish parents and is fluent in both languages. She said: “I’m really proud of what I’ve started to do and the child I’m helping is slowly getting better.”
Ved Thakkar, of Kestrel Class, speaks English and Gujarati. He said: “I think I’m privileged to speak a different language and be a Young Interpreter. Other people who are not so confident can get some help and speak both at the same time.”
Some of the Young Interpreters know exactly what it’s like to be immersed in a new culture and language, having learned English since arriving at the academy.
Sara Nobrega, of Hawk Class, was born in Madeira, Portugal. She was speaking English within two months of arriving and was delighted to be able to help another child. Sara said: “There was a nice boy in my class who did not understand any English at all. I helped him with his words and his speaking.”
Tamas Palhazai, of Eagle Class, spoke no English when he joined the academy, having been born in Hungary. He said it took him only six months to learn, adding: "My class helped me."
The Young Interpreters work under the guidance of teaching assistants Sandra Potter and Kanta Vaid, who said the scheme helped the new pupils feel at home, thereby contributing to their learning.
Headteacher Christine Dickens added: “The Young Interpreters scheme helps settle children in who are new to the country but also builds confidence and self-esteem in the children in the role.
“We see our young interpreters as a valuable part of the school and are very proud of the way they take their role seriously.”
Eshal Yaser, of Kestrel Class, who speaks Urdu, perfectly summed up the children’s view of the scheme.
Eshal said: “I think it’s really helpful for Year 1 students who don’t know English yet and it feels really good when you help them out.”
That love of helping others was shared by Daniella Sburlea, of Eagle Class. Daniella, who speaks Lithuanian, said: "I like being a Young Interpreter because you can help different people who can't speak English. I do reading with the little ones."
Portuguese-speaking Diogo Queimado, of Kestrel Class, said: "I just like to help people to speak English and help them to learn."
Fatima Zahara Yadini , of Owl Class, speaks Arabic. She said: "I'm happy that I'm a Young Interpreter. Once, the language of the term was Arabic and I was helping my teacher and other children."
Jael Savrimootoo, of Hawk Class, who speaks Mauritian Creole, said: "I'm really happy I'm a Young Interpreter because it's not that easy because there's lots of languages and you might not always get picked. I'm really grateful to get picked because I like helping people."