Some of County Durham’s language teachers will soon be brushing up their language skills abroad.

Teachers from 13 County Durham schools – as well as another two schools in the north east – will take part in week-long, intensive French and Spanish courses during their half-term holidays.

44 primary school teachers will be participating in the programme, which has been made possible by a grant of €90,000 awarded to Durham County Council from the EU’s Erasmus Plus initiative.

The programme is also supported by the Spanish Embassy.

The courses – to be held at language schools in France and Spain – will not only focus on improving the teachers’ own language skills but will also give them tips on how to enhance their classroom teaching.

Before they go abroad, the teachers will prepare by working alongside the council and staff and students from Durham University.

A separate event – closer to home – will help teachers learn about new trends in Spanish language learning. The training day – entitled Jornados de Espanol – will bring professionals together to share their ideas on Saturday 23rd June.

The event – led by the Spanish Embassy’s Education Office in cooperation with Durham County Council and Durham University – will feature a range of workshops from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Though Jornados de Espanol is free, those wishing to take part should book here. The event will be held in Durham University’s Chemistry Department.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, Cllr Olwyn Gunn, said, “Teachers play an extremely important role in instilling a love of languages in pupils at an early age and so it is vital that they are equipped with the best and most up-to-date methods.”

“Giving school staff the chance to immerse themselves in these overseas workshops is a great opportunity for them not only to improve their own skills but pass on what they have learnt to their pupils.”

“We are also looking forward to welcoming professionals from Spain and across the UK to the city for the Jornados de Espanol event and we are confident everyone who attends will take home some valuable lessons to put into practice.”

(The featured image shows the Spanish Ambassador His Excellency Don Carlos Bastarreche Sagues visiting St John’s School and Sixth Form in Bishop Auckland.)

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