Belfast Telegraph

Movie lessons at Armagh school where the pupils speak six languages

Drelincourt pupils with principal Eileen Trew, teachers Dawn Boyd and Sharon Walker, and Lorraine Magee of Into Film
Drelincourt pupils with principal Eileen Trew, teachers Dawn Boyd and Sharon Walker, and Lorraine Magee of Into Film
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A small primary school in Armagh where the the pupils speak six different languages has been praised for using a weekly movie club to help with learning.

Drelincourt School has just 20 pupils under the age of eight, with most speaking English as a second language.

The staff and pupils have now won the UK-wide Into Film Club of the Month award for the innovative project.

Every Friday afternoon the school turns into a mini-cinema with the children in charge of all aspects from choosing the film, taking tickets and serving popcorn.

Popular titles to date have been Cinderella, Cars, Bedknobs And Broomsticks and The Peanuts Movie.

A vintage choice is next on the listings with a classic black and white Laurel And Hardy movie.

Teacher Sharon Walker said bringing the silver screen into the classroom has been hugely beneficial for children facing the challenge of learning a new language on top of their other studies.

"I love seeing the look of excitement on their faces every Friday morning and the way the children are growing in confidence. One child told me that Film Club is the best day ever. They're learning so much but it's so much fun," she said.

"We've had a film club for the past five years but wanted to make it an even more important learning and developmental tool.

"With just 20 pupils, our children speak six languages between them - Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian and English. Film has the power to unite them.

"We've had such amazing support from Into Film. I hadn't been aware of the amount of resources that they have online; there are so many valuable teaching tools and they're all available free.

"They provide the films as well and have come out to the school to see what we are doing and to encourage us."

Pupils earn their weekly cinema ticket by participating in school activities and popcorn is served once a term, with children making their own recyclable paper cones.

After the screening each child reviews the film and is given topics to discuss like the quality of the music and acting.

The valuable skills learned include literacy, language development and maths.

Social skills are picked up along the way with pupils choosing a film together and waiting patiently in line.

Adding to the praise for Drelincourt School, Lorraine Magee from Into Film has now awarded the school with £100 to spend on their club.

"We are so impressed by the way they've taken their film club to the next level," she said.

"This is such a happy place and by using film to teach, the children really look forward to coming to school and participating in the club."

Into Film is a UK-wide organisation with the aim of using film to support young people's education.

The organisation also runs an annual children's film festival and supports film-making projects.

Later this month the Drelincourt pupils have been invited to a free screening of Peter Rabbit in the Armagh Omniplex as part of the Into Film Festival.

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