Paula Bolivar(12), Mairie Barr(11) and Laura Vazquez (11) teaching each other Spanish and English at Tollcross Primary School during the visit of Colegio Joaquim Blume pupils to Edinburgh.

This week Tollcross Primary School becomes the first City of Edinburgh Council primary school to entertain language exchange students during a week long visit.

The Edinburgh Reporter met all of them on Monday morning when the Spanish schoolchildren had just arrived and found them exchanging some details about each other by way of an ice breaker. But this is not the first time the children have met each other as they have regularly conversed by video link or in writing over the internet in the last two years.

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Lynn Brand, Principal Teacher at Tollcross Primary School is already very good friends with her Spanish colleague Miriam Pastor who teaches at Colegio Joaquim Blume in Madrid.

There are great plans for this week’s visit. Lynn said: “This is a big experience for us having the Spanish students come here as we get to meet them in the flesh. We are including them in our sports day in The Meadows, there is an open top bus tour, we are putting on a ceilidh party on Tuesday evening, joint teaching plans on Wednesday, a presentation by the Spanish children on Thursday at school assembly and a film evening on Friday as we think everyone may be a bit tired out by then!”

 The very final part  is to sum up and write the report on the whole project and Lynn Brand is returning to Spain with the school group so that she can contribute to that.

The Comenius funded project is a local authority level partnership scheme with the Comunidad de Madrid education authority. There have been reciprocal visits for teachers in the past but this is the first time that any pupils have visited. Teachers have learned Spanish and taught joint lessons learning how the other country approaches language learning.

This is part of the City of Edinburgh Council 1+2 languages strategy to develop a real life experience of using languages.

Tollcross have not yet gone to Spain but there is every chance that may happen in future.