The BAPS Swaminarayan School in Brent has been presented with a British Academy Schools Language Award for its provision of Gujarati teaching. The supplementary school, operated by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, was one of only 14 winners from more than 150 applicants across the UK.
The award is given to mainstream schools and colleges as well as secondary teaching institutions for “innovative projects aimed at increasing the numbers of students learning languages at higher levels.” A panel of judges assessed the originality, credibility and potential replicability of the proposals, with particular emphasis on building partnerships.
The School was one of the winners in the Supplementary Category and was the only school to receive an award for Gujarati Language development.
The aim of its winning project is to provide professional training for voluntary teachers of Gujarati and to build capacity by developing the academic skills of current students in order to develop the next generation of Gujarati teachers.
The formal presentation of the award was made by the British Academy in a ceremony held at its offices in London on Tuesday 15 December 2015.
Alun Evans, Chief Executive and Secretary of the British Academy, said: “Our Awards aim to find innovative and inspiring ways of encouraging more students to study languages at higher levels of education. We’re delighted that schools across the UK have responded passionately with such high quality applications, understanding the importance of language skills. We aim to inspire and challenge our pupils with learning initiatives and help to ensure the next generation are thoroughly equipped with the language skills they need. ”
Jignasha Patel, a leading volunteer trainer at the School, added: “We are delighted and grateful to receive this award from the British Academy. We have seen growing research which shows that bilingual and multilingual children are better learners all-round – in communication, cognition, and social interaction. So learning Gujarati not only allows our children to access their rich religious and cultural heritage, but also excel in a whole range of life skills that will help them to grow individually as well as to contribute to our country.”
This latest award follows a Gold Award for Supplementary Education from the National Resource Centre and a similar award from the British Academy, both received in 2012.