Surrey School Holds Record For Number Of Languages Spoken By Pupils

21/07/2011 11:42 | Updated 22 May 2015
Surrey school has pupils with 44 mother tonguesPA
A Surrey primary school is thought to hold the record for the number of languages spoken by its pupils.

St Matthew's school in Redhill has 477 pupils on its register, but 178 of them do not have English as their first language.

The 44 mother tongues of the students include Afrikaans, Aramaic, Filipino, Ga, Kikuyu, Kissii, Kannada, Telugu, Yoruba and even Zulu.

The school's Head teacher Janet Lightfoot said: 'Many people see this as a difficulty but we celebrate our differences. It makes the school varied and special.'

She does however admit that the variety of languages means that slang terms are discouraged for fear of confusing children, saying: 'We have to be careful with words that the children don't recognise, like 'mufti day' and 'inset day', by calling them 'non-uniform day' and 'teacher training day'.

The school operates a 'buddy' system and individual lessons for new pupils who do not speak English, teaming them up with a helper to assist with any initial language difficulties.

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