New Lithuanian language school partners with Falklands Primary School in Newbury
A new language school has opened in partnership with Falkland Primary School.
Matildos Lituanistic Weekend School — based at the Wash Common primary school – celebrated its official opening ceremony on October 6.
Newbury Mayor, Nigel Foot, and the Lithuanian Ambassador for the UK attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and were joined by other special guests.
The new school offers classes every Saturday to children ranging from three to eight-years-old.
And despite just opening, around 16 children have already signed up from Newbury, Reading, Basingstoke, Oxford, Swindon and other surrounding towns.
The school’s Lithuanian founder, Aistė Callaghan, has been living in the UK for 21 years and is president of the Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
She explained it was her daughter Izabele’s struggle speaking both English and Lithuanian that inspired her to set up the school — named after her younger daughter.
"I was determined to drive my daughter two hours to the nearest school, but I found a way out,” she said.
“My daughter wants to communicate. She tries hard, but it doesn't work out, and she gets embarrassed and upset.”
Speaking more about her own linguistic upbringing, she added: “My future has always been linked to both Lithuania and the UK.
“Over the years, I realised how important it is to know where you come from and how much your genes and nationality influence your personality.
“I am sure the biggest challenge for a mixed family is to instill the right values in the children and to give them a wide range of opportunities by educating them in both languages.”
Headteacher at Falkland Primary School, Kavashni Bamfield, added: “At its best, being part of a group provides social connections, friendship and practical and emotional support.
“This can help us see the world in new ways and provide much needed perspective.
“Falkland Primary is proud to work in partnership with our Lithuanian community to support Matilda’s School.
“It is important for new communities settling in England to integrate into society but also not forget their language, heritage and culture.
“It is a privilege to be part of this historic opening of this school.”
Starting in January, the school is also planning to deliver lessons in Russian, Polish and Ukrainian.