Malcolm Sargent Primary School helps with language and learning at Gladstone Primary School

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Primary children have been helping youngsters from an inner city school where no pupil speaks English as a first language.

Malcolm Sargent Primary School in Stamford has started an exchange scheme with Gladstone Primary School in Peterborough.

The city school was recently given a glowing Ofsted inspection despite none of its pupils speaking English as a first language and some of that success has been put down to the scheme.

Malcolm Sargent Year 5 and 6 teacher Sara Noone said the four exchanges so far had been a great success. She added: “As the swaps have gone on, the children have become friends and are able to understand that although they live in a city and have different cultural backgrounds, they have a lot of things in common.

“We hope this continued link will widen our children’s understanding of cultural diversity. It will teach them to embrace difference and respect everybody no matter what their race, religion, background, likes, dislikes and beliefs.”

The link was first established early last year when pupils in the Malcolm Sargent school council went to Peterborough to discuss ideas with their Gladstone counterparts.

Mrs Noone added: “It was a wonderful day and we decided that it would be beneficial for the children to create a longer term link where they would class swap, giving the children the opportunity to experience a normal day in another school very different from their own.”

Year 5 pupils took part in the swap, with 15 Malcolm Sargent youngsters travelling to Gladstone and 15 coming the other way.

In Stamford the Gladstone pupils took part in maths, literacy and art lessons alongside the rest of the class.

They played games to introduce themselves and got to know each other. They also played together at lunch and break times where football matches and games of tag were a popular choice.

Gladstone Primary School headteacher Christine Parker said: “Making friendships with children who live and go to school in another town has been a great benefit.

“The characteristics of Stamford are very different to Peterborough. The children come from an area of deprivation so having that link widens their horizons and lets them see what children who live different lifestyles do.

“They are not just making friendships but learning together. It helps our children appreciate that they do speak good English which is very empowering for them.”