VIDEO: Pupils and staff at Great Ballard have triple celebration

It has been a term of triple celebrations for pupils and staff at Great Ballard School.

Over the past few weeks, they have been learning about Chinese culture, sampling traditional English food and using new classroom facilities.

For the past four weeks, the school in Eartham has been hosting a group of pupils from Fang Cao Di International School in Beijing, China who have been experiencing British teaching methods as well as sharing

knowledge of their own culture.

The guests have been joining academic classes and arts and sports activities and have also been enjoying visiting famous sites such as Windsor Castle and Stonehenge.

During their stay they also visited the mayor of Chichester, Michael Woolley in his parlour.

Headteacher Richard Jennings said: "They have been having a lot of fun and they are great children to have around. They have a fantastic work ethic and sense of humour.

"Our school is hugely different to theirs – they have little or no space so when they looked out at the countryside round here, they couldn't believe it.

"The adults have been getting used to it as well. They have brought three of their own teachers and as well as coming into our lessons they have been keeping up with their work. Their English is very, very good.

"They have had a chance to share their culture with us and our pupils have been learning basic Mandarin during one lesson."

During their visit Great Ballard has been taking part in British Food Fortnight, with the guests having the opportunity to sample British cuisine and enjoy a whole range of traditional dishes such as fish and chips and toad in the hole.

Great Ballard pupil Elise Kings, ten, said: "The visit has been fun, but learning Mandarin was quite hard and we have been practising it. It has been fun learning about all the culture."

Jack Shi, ten, who has come over from Beijing said: "It has been a good visit and I have been practising English every day. The food is a lot different and I love the school grounds."

This term pupils have been enjoying using a wide range of new facilities which were completed during the summer holidays.

Younger children have been using a new outdoor classroom while aspiring Jamie Olivers can learn how to cook in the newly-refurbished kitchens.

One room has been converted into a dedicated drama studio and the science laboratories have also been refurbished with the latest computer facilities.

In addition, an area of astroturf will be laid during the school's half termMr Jennings said: "We have had a lot going on this term and the new facilities are excellent. We are very pleased with them, and it means the children can learn in a better environment."

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