'There is a big sense of pride' - The school reviving the Cornish language

A primary school in Cornwall has become the first to take part in a brand new Cornish language programme.

Treloweth Primary School in Redruth is teaching the programme to its Year 4 students right through to Year 6.

Go Cornish was commissioned by Cornwall Council and masterminded by Golden Tree Productions - the award-winning team that created the Man Engine and Kerdroya.

The idea is to give every child growing up in Cornwall the opportunity to learn about the language and discover the culturally rich heritage of the county.

Riley, who is in Year 5, has loved the programme so far. He said: "It is nice because not everyone can do it. It's really rare to speak Cornish. Only like a couple of hundred people can speak it in the world."

Macey, who is also in Year 5 said: "My dad is Cornish. So basically, I can just teach him. So I find it quite weird but also quite fun."

Riley says he has "really enjoyed" learning Cornish since September. Credit: ITV West Country

Since Go Cornish launched, 30 schools have signed up to take part. Year 6 teacher, Rachel Reed, had never spoken Cornish before taking on the teaching role.

But she said that did not matter because the learning resources were very clear and guided her every step of the way: "I think there's a big sense of pride in the school that we've got children learning their own language, applying it outside and teaching their families.

"They're proud of themselves, to either be Cornish or learn Cornish and be involved in their local community.

"Personally I'd found out that some of my family could speak Cornish and that we'd lost that along the way. So to be able to spread it with the children and get them to learn more about their culture was really important."

Rachel Reed had to get to grips with the language quickly before she started teaching it to her students. Credit: ITV West Country

Kate Evan-Hughes, Director of Education at Cornwall Council, said: “Inspiring children and young people to feel connected to Cornwall is important for Cornwall’s future economic growth.

"The Go Cornish resources will support our development of the broader curriculum and, most importantly, make language learning fun!”.  

Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor added: “In order to understand the Cornwall of the future, we need to understand the Cornwall of past, and that’s exactly what this programme does. 

"It perfectly brings together our heritage and culture, which our young people should be rightly proud of. Golden Tree have done some fantastic work on this programme, which will be delivered to all primary schools in Cornwall that register to take part.” 

The Year 5 group have learnt Cornish numbers, stories and songs. Credit: ITV West Country

Go Cornish is available for free to all primary schools in Cornwall, providing teachers with a bank of cross curricular learning resources, a clear framework of delivery, and language support along the way.  

The programme requires little time commitment or admin and is available at three award levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold).

Crucially, teachers do not need to be able to speak Cornish themselves. Golden Tree Productions hopes to raise awareness of the language and inspire teachers, young people and their families to connect to Cornwall's heritage.