A bilingual free primary school has been given the green light to set up in Lincolnshire, in a move that will create new teaching vacancies and classroom assistant jobs.
Education secretary Michael Gove recently gave permission for 102 new free schools to open from 2014, of which five will be located in the East Midlands.
One of these is being established in Spalding by the Phoenix of Family Schools, where children aged between four and 11 will be taught the national curriculum in both English and Spanish.
Primary teachers employed by the school, which will open in September 2014, will switch between the two languages, while older pupils will be taught only in Spanish for a portion of each school day.
Carol Clare, Phoenix chief executive officer, told the Lincolnshire Echo that the school had opted to teach lessons in Spanish as well because it was "increasingly becoming the language of business" and uses the same alphabet as English.
Ms Clare asserted: "This school will enable the children to access worlds and future employment opportunities previously denied them."
She added: "It is our aim that children who enter the school at key stage one will, on leaving the school at age 11, have a good degree of fluency in Spanish as well as achieving highly in all subject areas."
The school is currently recruiting bilingual teachers and teaching assistants and also intends to offer Spanish lessons to parents, so that they can support their children's learning effectively at home.
At present, there are 500 million Spanish speakers worldwide, making it the world's third most widely spoken language after Mandarin and English.
The new school in Spalding will be the second bilingual school to open in England, with the first set to open in Brighton and Hove in September this year.
Posted by Theo Foulds