Hawick’s Polish School celebrates success

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The two-year-old Polish School in Hawick has held an open day.

The school has grown from 32 to 50 children since it was launched in April 2013 and has a minibus taking children from Galashiels to Hawick every Saturday morning.

The Open Day gave everyone an opportunity to meet the teachers, and take part in cultural activities, which this year included a special guest from Sweden.

Marcin Dominik Gluch, a Polish pianist living in Gothenburg, visited the project and ran a series of creative workshops with the children. He was delighted to see how well the Polish School in Hawick is working.

He said: “I have visited Polish schools in England and Scotland as well as in Italy, Spain and other countries. Not everywhere are the Polish communities as involved and proactive as here in the Borders.”

The next day, Mr Gluch played a public concert in Melrose Parish Church.

This was a unique chance for Polish migrant families living in the Borders to present their culture in the form of music, some of which brought some tears to the eyes of those Poles who miss their country.

Earlier this year, the Polish School in Hawick was awarded a generous grant from the Communities and Families Fund of the Big Lottery Fund and is using this to help with the running costs of the Saturday school, as well as towards events which will help the Polish children and their parents integrate and meet with their local community.

Dr Beata Kohlbek, project manager, said: “This year, for the first time, our Polish school will offer six pupils the opportunity to pass a GCSE exam (equivalent of national 4&5 levels) in Polish as a modern foreign language.

He said: “We need to start recognising that a heritage language spoken at home is also a modern foreign language, which can be formally assessed.”

One of the parents stated: “The Polish school in Hawick has a lovely atmosphere and we want our children to join the school.

“We feel that this is a great help.”