By Monica Gibson

Pupils across East Renfrewshire will be getting a helping hand with their language lessons, thanks to the arrival of teaching assistants from Germany, France and Spain.

A number of foreign students will spend the next year helping youngsters in the Barrhead area get to grips with another language.

The project is being supported by the British Council, which is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

Kerry Crichton, who works for East Renfrewshire Council and has helped to organise the project, said: “The foreign language teaching assistants each have a base school and will spend 12 hours a week working with students. They will work largely with high schools and also with the cluster primaries.

“We already have five French, two Spanish and one German student will be joining us soon.

“When they are working with a class they will communicate only in their native tongue, so it will fully encourage the children to immerse themselves in that language and also allow the assistants to improve their English and give them a fantastic experience.”

All of the assistants chose to come to Scotland in particular so it is a wonderful adventure for them as well.”

Pupils at St John’s Primary, in Barrhead, staged an event to welcome the assistants, presenting each of them with gifts such as shortbread.

tartan bag with some shortbread in it and a leaflet full of ideas and tips for places to go and things to do.

Ms Crichton said: “The kids were so thoughtful and put on a lovely show for their guests. They welcomed them in a way that only children can.

“This is a great initiative that will be beneficial for everyone involved. We are delighted to have the assistants in East Renfrewshire and we hope they enjoy their time here as well.”

invites young adults who are mostly under graduates or recent graduates and is in line with the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy.

The policy aims for primary pupils to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.