Polish Class Success

Celebrating young people achievements across Moray schools- Polish class success

Pictured above are pupils from Elgin Academy, Elgin High School and Forres Academy who successfully completed the Polish GCSE course.

Despite the challenging situation we find ourselves in, it has been amazing to see all that has been achieved across Moray schools. It is important to recognise and celebrate how much pupils have been through and the resilience they have shown in incredibly challenging times. This year saw 10 bilingual pupils from four secondary schools in Moray gaining GCSE qualifications in Polish. This qualification is equivalent to a Scottish National 5 qualification. This is a fantastic opportunity for our young EAL learners to gain additional certificates, which will allow them to improve their chances to gain access to further / higher education and to improve their prospects of employability.

Polish classes have been successfully running in Moray for the past ten years thanks to the collaboration and support of Elgin High School, the EAL Service and Community language tutors including Ada McNeil who currently teaches the Polish course.

“Teaching Polish classes in Moray is challenging but very rewarding at the same time. I’ve been doing it for the last five years. I come back every year because I feel a real connection with the children and their families. Pupils usually have different levels of Polish and might not be able to write Polish well. I really enjoy teaching Polish to these kids. I have a passion for teaching and it’s really satisfying to see them grow their skills that will definitely help them in the future. As far as I can tell, the children are enjoying the classes. They are engaged, participate willingly and they seem to enjoy the variety of teaching techniques I use within the class, despite the challenges of the online format. The parents and families are thrilled that their kids are engaged in learning their native language, with a native speaker, who has been immersed in Scottish culture for the past 22 years. The parents feel their kids are in good hands with a teacher experienced in teaching both Polish and English. Those students who apply themselves have gone on to achieve the test scores that open doors to whatever opportunities they want beyond High School and they go into their tests feeling confident and prepared, knowing exactly what to expect and what sort of responses are required to achieve the scores they are aiming for. I know that the pupils who attended our classes in previous years have benefited. They have learnt a lot, become more confident and the qualifications helped them progress and get into the college or university they wanted.” Ada McNeil

Polish families are extremely delighted that The Moray Council has made it possible for their children to have the opportunity to improve their native language skills and gain official qualifications. Currently, only Italian, Spanish, French, German, Gaelic, Cantonese, Urdu and Mandarin languages are offered at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels. Elgin High School has been an official AQA examination centre for GCSE/A level Polish since the course started in Moray in 2012 and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This year an exceptionally large number of young people signed up to attend online Polish classes and the 34 pupils will hopefully go on gaining Polish GCSE or A Level qualifications.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity for my daughter to learn Polish in a professional educational setting. Since she started the course her Polish language skills and her vocabulary much improved and she has gained new confidence in speaking. She is immersed in the English-speaking environment and her only connection with the Polish language was through me. It is fantastic that she can learn with a group of peers and broaden her understanding and use of the language. The teacher, Ada has proved to be great in engaging my daughter in her lessons and keeping her interested. And of course, gaining the additional A Level qualification after completing the course is yet another benefit for my daughter which hopefully will help her in her further education. Thank you!” Parent of Polish pupil

 “I do enjoy Polish lessons. The topics chosen are interesting and varied. Ada is a nice teacher and she is much enjoyable in her online classes. She is very sweet.” Polish pupil

Moray EAL service


Discussing War and Conflict with Children

Map of Ukraine.

There is a lot of news at the moment about the war in Ukraine.  This can be be upsetting for some children, especially if they have experienced war themselves or have family in the midst of the conflict. 

With news of the war in Ukraine dominating headlines, social media platforms and conversations across the country, many children in early learning and care and school age childcare settings will have been exposed to information about the conflict.
Children do not always talk about what is worrying them but they may be trying to make sense of this information by themselves and, in the absence of factual information, imagining situations to be far worse than they are. Every child is different, however, and
while some might be feeling scared, others may not be worried at all.
Below are some strategies for talking to children about the current situation that will help to ease their concerns.

Keep calm. Check in with yourself and how are you currently feeling. When you are feeling anxious, children can notice this and begin to feel stressed too. If needed, take some time to calm.

Talk to children. We instinctively want to protect children from things that might frighten them; however not talking about something can make children more scared. If children are already talking about the war, encourage them to tell you what they have heard and ask them how they are feeling. If children are showing no interest, leave them be.
Answer questions. Answer children’s questions in language they will understand with a level of information appropriate to their age. Avoid sharing too much information as this can be overwhelming. If you do not have all the answers, that is ok. Tell the child you will let them know when you know.
Create a safe environment. Children need to feel safe and secure. Limit children’s exposure to news reports and discuss your own worries outside of children’s earshot.
Reassure them. Young children often personalise situations and may perceive the danger to be closer to home. Let them know that although war is very serious, they do not need to worry about it happening in their neighbourhood. Tell them you understand how they are feeling and reassure them that they are safe and that you are there to take care of them. It is important, however, to be realistic and not to promise that no one will get hurt.
Help children find ways to express themselves. Some children may not be able to talk about their thoughts or feelings but can be supported to make sense of the world through play.
Do something positive. Encourage children to engage in activities where they can feel helpful such as drawing pictures to send to children who are living in affected areas.
Avoid stereotyping groups of people by nationality and challenge hateful talk.
Partner with parents. Share information on the discussions children are having at home and in the setting or any fears or concerns the child may have.
Children who have experienced trauma or loss may be particularly vulnerable to news of war and conflict and may need extra support. Children with relatives in the regions impacted by conflict will also need special attention.

The links below may also help with how to discuss these events with children.

links for supporting conversations about recent world news

social story about war in Ukraine

Talking About Racism with Kids

“It’s never too early to learn that racism is wrong and we should be doing something about it.“

In the midst of Brexit, there was a spike in racist incidents in UK schools.  With the rise in awareness created by the Black Lives Matter movement, now is a great time to discuss racism with our young people.  

“There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically.”      Toni Morrison

Click on the link or picture below to go to our page of websites to read more about dealing with racism with young people.


Covid-19 Health Information and Advice

Links for how to take a Covid-19 test

Read these top tips to keep your family safe and healthy:

Top Tips for Learners- English

Top Tips for Learners-Lithuanian

Communication Friendly Info on Mask Wearing
Link to site with infographics in many languages.

Covid-19 Infographics

Education and Parent’s Rights


Social story to help young children and children with additional needs to understand Covid19.

Find information translated into many different languages.
Covid-19 Translated Information


Route Map in English and Arabic, showing Scotland’s road to recovery from the pandemic.

Covid Recovery Route Map- English

Covid Recovery Route Map- Arabic

Arabic Information Signs  (with thanks to Aberdeenshire EAL service)

2 metres apart – ARABIC

Catch it, bin it, kill it – Arabic

cough and sneeze – Arabic

do not touch – Arabic

downstairs only – Arabic

hand sanitiser – Arabic

hand washing updated  – Arabic

keep left – Arabic

keep right – Arabic

no entry – Arabic

one way – Arabic

please place all rubbish……Arabic

please wait here….Arabic

throw it away – Arabic

upstairs only – Arabic

wait here – Arabic

wash hands – Arabic

wrong way – Arabic

wrong way go back – Arabic

Polish Information Signs (with thanks to Aberdeenshire EAL service)

cough and sneeze – Polish

do not touch – Polish

downstairs only – Polish

hand sanitiser – Polish

2 metres apart – Polish

catch it, bin it, kill it – Polish

keep right – Polish

no entry – Polish

one way – Polish

please place all rubbish……Polish

hand washing updated (003) – Polish

keep left – Polish

upstairs only – Polish

wait here – Polish

wash hands – Polish

wrong way – Polish

wrong way go back – Polish

please wait here….Polish

throw it away – Polish

Other useful links and resources:

Moray Council Covid Info

COVID-19 Resource pack – For Parents

Scottish Government Advice

Key Worker Childcare Application- Hub

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