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Viva España!

Date: 02/07/2008           Category: Learning and Achievement

The Spanish Embassy has declared Chatham Grammar School for Girls Spanish Secondary School of the Year. The award will be officially presented at a reception at the Spanish Embassy in London on Friday, 11 July. After visiting the school, attending classes and interviewing teachers, a team of experts from the embassy award the prestigious diplomas to schools they decide are “excellent”. Jose Antonio del Tejo, education consultant at the Spanish Embassy and one of the judges said: “The Spanish department seems to enjoy the right combination of expertise, passion and determination that makes the learning of Spanish a very enjoyable and useful experience. “The pace of the lesson, the quality of the resources designed and the variety of teaching styles displayed were outstanding.” The judges were also impressed with the school’s state-of-the-art lab used for Spanish lessons and students’ responses to all aspects of Spanish teaching. This is the third year of the competition designed to find the best providers of Spanish teaching, based on the take up of the language, use of ICT, innovation, extra curricular activities and international links. Chatham Grammar School for Girls was one of five secondary schools or further education colleges chosen from a total 32 applications. Around one third of the students at the school study Spanish, which is offered from Year 8 up to A Level. Around 63 students studied the language at GCSE in 2007 and almost half that number gained grades at A / A* level. Head of Spanish at the school Esmeralda Salgado has recently been accredited as an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) and will be joining the ranks of Medway ASTs from September where she will continue training teachers and supporting gifted linguists. The AST route will provide further excellent opportunities for sharing the good practice at Chatham Grammar School for Girls across Medway. Headteacher David Gundry said: “This award has come at a timely moment as the Secretary of State has recently confirmed that we are now recognised as a High Performing Specialist School. This means we will be funded for a second specialism in addition to our current Technology status – and our chosen second specialism is Modern Foreign Languages. This should bring great benefits to our own students and to learners across Medway.” Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks said: “Learning a new language is an important life skill and one that enables pupils to understand and appreciate different cultures. Well done to everyone at the school.” Medway Council’s Director of Children and Adult Services Rose Collinson said: “This is brilliant news and a real and well deserved honour for Esmeralda and her team and students at the school. We are extremely proud of our schools in Medway and this proves what excellent opportunities we can offer our pupils to make sure they are confident local and global citizens.”