The Guernsey school where more than half of students speak an additional language

  • ITV Channel's Roisin Gauson visits the school which caters for children from more than 27 different countries.

Students at a school in Guernsey are collectively speaking 25 different languages - making it one of the most culturally diverse schools in the island.

Notre Dame de Rosaire Primary School in St Peter Port caters for children who speak languages such as Polish, Arabic and Portuguese.

Head Mary Robertshaw has been teaching in the island for two decades.

She said: "Guernsey has changed massively. Five years ago about 25-30% of pupils had English as an additional language, now it's about 55%. Over half of our children speak another language and in some classes that's up to 70 per cent, so it's changed hugely and for the better.

"I think it's so important that our school reflects the world that we live in nowadays. We have children from all around the world. It has such a wonderful inclusive feel here and I think our children have so much respect for each other. That's a vital skill as they move out into the world."

Around 10% of Guernsey schoolchildren, approximately 669 students, do not speak English as their first language.

The change over recent years is believed to be due to the relaxation of the island's population rules with families relocating from places such as the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Poland.

Rebecca Le Marre teaches the school's reception class and says it is fulfilling to work in such a diverse place.

She explained: "It's got a very different feel to it than other classes I've worked with in the island, but it's so rewarding because you have children that come in and you see them interact, particularly in early years when we have our constructive play."

It is not just the children who are learning new languages, Rebecca says the parents are learning too.

She added: "A lot of parents here are learning English themselves and it's amazing to get feedback from them as their child is doing phonics, learning to read, that's improving their English at home.

"I had a parent tell me that their English is improving so much because their son is correcting them and helping them to learn how to speak English more fluently and that's amazing!"