Modern Foreign Languages are an important aspect of the modern school curriculum and the developing links between Didcot and its twin town schools provide a perfect opportunity to encourage the young people in Didcot to broaden their horizons and to learn a foreign language. In this respect, the Twinning Association has been very keen to promote pupil interaction between schools in Didcot and those in Meylan and Planegg.
Although we are able to help with making introductions between schools, it does require a lot of effort by the school staff in both schools to make these interactions work and this is not always possible given the pressures on schools these days. However, we believe that if the effort can be made, there are enormous benefits for our children.
We were delighted with the previous links formed between Ladygrove Park Primary School and the Ecole Primaire des Béalières which resulted in visits and home-stays for Year 6 students in both Didcot and Meylan. Unfortunately this link is currently on hold due to teaching pressures at the British end.
Since then, other primary schools have taken up the baton and are having valuable relationships with primary schools in Meylan. Our twinning with Planegg is very recent and we are still looking at how similar links can be forged.
Local primary schools currently exchanging letters, cards and pictures are: Willowcroft, Stephen Freeman and East Hagbourne and we are hoping to encourage more local schools to participate.
At the senior school level a different set of issues arise. Whilst English is the first foreign language choice in France and Germany, in England there are more options to choose from and which language is chosen, often depends on the staffing resources available.
Didcot Girls School has a strong German department and consequently benefits from a long established link with the Feodor-Lynen Gymnasium in Planegg, and there have been many exchanges between the 2 schools over a period of almost 10 years.
St Birinus is currently in contact with Le Collège Lionel Terray in Meylan to begin links in September. Unfortunately, opportunities for links with the new Aureus School on GWP are limited due to their current curriculum choices.
DJ and PW 20 April 2018