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Judith Kerr Primary School says ‘Willkommen’ to the German Ambassador

On Wednesday, 20 March, the Herne Hill-based primary school welcomed Miguel Berger, the German Ambassador, to showcase its work on promoting bilingualism.

The visit came at an auspicious time for Judith Kerr Primary School (JKPS), which is currently celebrating its tenth year, and came about after the school was approached by the embassy earlier in the year.  Along with the Ambassador, Andrea Pfeil from the Goethe Institut was also in attendance. They took part in a tour of the school, met with a group of pupils and listened in on a German session. The visitors also met with some of the school staff to discuss how the Goethe Institut might be able to further support JKPS and help promote their German language programme.

At JKPS, they believe that bilingualism is for everyone, and they welcome children of all language abilities. The school seeks to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum in a multicultural environment whilst developing pupils’ proficiency in two languages.

From Reception through to Year 6, children at JKPS learn through stories, songs and role-play, and receive integrated language sessions to help them better understand language and develop their reading, speaking and writing skills. Each week, staff aim to provide up to two hours of language teaching and their German language lessons are streamed into two groups: those that can already speak German and those who are learning it as an additional language.

The school has several members of staff who speak German and throughout the year, they have regular German assemblies, music assemblies where pupils learn German songs, and they celebrate key German cultural events. In their learning environments, staff further embed German by making key vocabulary accessible in both languages.

In Year 6, the school encourages and prepares all children to sit an examination at the Goethe Institut, giving them an internationally recognised qualification based on the European Framework For Languages. 

Patrick Murphy, Deputy Headteacher at Judith Kerr Primary School said: “Everyone at JKPS was delighted to welcome the German Ambassador and Andrea Pfeil from the Goethe Institut to the school today to learn more about how we promote bilingualism in the school, especially with regard to our German language programme.  I have been keen to strengthen our links with the Goethe Institut as we share a vision to promote cultural exchange through language.  I look forward to seeing how we can work together going forward.”

Miguel Berger, the German Ambassador said: “I was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm with which the pupils at Judith Kerr Primary School learn German. I do hope that the school, its staff and pupils keep up this excellent work.” 

Andrea Pfiel from the Goethe Institut said: “Witnessing the joy the children had during their German classes was truly inspiring. Their remarkable proficiency in the German language, coupled with the vibrant international spirit within the community, stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of the school.”

Frederik Rissom, Anthem Community Council member said: “It was fantastic to see the Ambassador’s and the Goethe Institut’s enthusiasm to be involved in current and future plans for the language provision at Judith Kerr Primary School and the wider cultural role our school plays in the local community. We are proud of everything the school and the local community has been able to achieve in 10 years and look forward to more and closer joint collaborations with the German Embassy and the Goethe Institut - there is no shortage of ideas!”

Sal Wilson, a member of Anthem’s Board of Trustees said: “It was wonderful to see the children and staff at Judith Kerr Primary School showcasing their impressive knowledge of the German language and culture for the Ambassador’s visit. The school community have clearly worked very hard, and the Ambassador was impressed and delighted!”