· Are immersion methodologies applied within the early years / primary setting and what is the immersion policy for the area?
· Early Years provision – when can children begin learning through their regional language?
Children are entitled to pre school education from 0-6.
100% of 3 year olds are in state education and a high percentage of 2 year olds are also in education.
Low birth rate is possibly due to lack of funding available to families.
The focus is on learning orally.
In a school with 60 children there were 6.5 teachers.
· If immersion is applied, when are pupils introduced to Spanish / other European languages?
All pupils in the D model are fully immersed in Basque from age 0; English is introduced at the age of 4. Spanish is introduced at the age of 7 because Spanish is a main language and most of the children will already be familiar with it. French is introduced at the age of 12 and they do 2 hours per week.
When children are introduced in English they learn through subject projects and initially shorter sessions.
· Are all subjects in the primary school taught through Euskara or is there a bilingual approach to learning in the upper primary?
There is a bilingual approach throughout the primary. There will always be a bilingual or trilingual approach no matter what model parents choose for their children. The Law of normalisation 1982 “ all citizens have the right to know and use Basque and Spanish. 1993 Law stated pupils must achieve genuine competences in both languages.
· CPD opportunities for teachers on immersion language learning and teaching development
Teachers can choose to learn Basque and leave their teaching job and be taught in total immersion for 3 years. The teachers are on full pay while they are learning the language. There is a top up course available for teachers in order to brush up on their Basque language and again supply teachers will be put in their school and the teacher will be on full pay whilst learning. The course is personal choice the head of the establishment cannot force a teacher to do the course, it can only be recommended.
· How long has the present strategy/policy for Immersion Education been implemented?
· Has it changed little / radically over the years and if so how?
30 years was the first time the Basque language began to be developed in schools. 1994 they introduced multilingual provision. The reason for this was firstly was the levels of English were not good, competence in English / foreign language was poor. Language and identity issues were connected to political issues and it was not a healthy situation. The reason for this was also to use language as a learning tool and move the political debate from schools.
· How is the curriculum devised and are there differences across schools/ specific to individual schools? (Including Special needs / support for learning)
There is a standard curriculum that is taught across all school but it is up to each individual school how the curriculum is delivered. Language should not be competed against each other.
· Is there external evaluation as well as whole school/individual teacher self-evaluation? How is evidence relating to performance /attainment collated? How does this inform future council strategy?
As a cultural group they have just started to look at the evaluation process. There is a kind of evaluation for a child that allows them to progress to the nect level but results are not publicised. They don’t have an inspector system they are more like support and challenge advisors.
Things that weren’t working for them – the children see Basque as only a school language as much as they show commitment to the language the minute they are out of school they speak the language that is most used – Spanish.
Promoting the D model is not necessary, as there seems to be a biased attitude towards the D model.
Very little research done or evaluation been done. In the last 2 years they have started evaluating the 4th year of primary and the 2nd year of primary.