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Polish ambassador helps to launch new Multilingual Manchester project

(23 February 2017)

His Excellency, Arkady Rzegocki, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, visited Multilingual Manchester, in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (SALC) to help launch a new project that will involve working closely with Polish schools in the city.

The Ambassador found out more about the project’s new Supplementary School Support Platform, which will help community-based schools teach community languages. The Platform will engage staff and students in activities designed to enrich the curriculum, and will help organise student placements and provide support for teacher training. Two of Manchester’s leading Polish schools are involved in the initiative. 

Professor Yaron Matras, who coordinates Multilingual Manchester, said: “Our support platform is intended to give community-based initiatives, which are run mainly by volunteers, professional support in the design and delivery of their language curriculum.  We hope that it will also encourage parents, pupils, and practitioners to recognise the important value of language skills for individuals and for the city as a whole.” 

The Ambassador spoke to staff and students involved in the Multilingual Manchester strategic initiative about their activities to raise awareness and promote support for community languages in the city-region. He said: “Initiatives such as Multilingual Manchester are pivotal in building bridges between Poles and the wider Mancunian community. Collaboration with Polish Saturday Schools will allow the general public in Greater Manchester to learn more about Poles and Poland, and will also enrich the curriculum offered to Polish pupils.”

The Multilingual Manchester project team carries out research to document the use of community languages in the city, helps assess language needs, and collects data to advise key public service providers such as the NHS, police, schools and the local authority on policy and planning of language provisions.

In Manchester, Polish ranks fourth among non-English community languages (after Urdu, Chinese, and Arabic), with upwards of 8,000 speakers and more than 50 businesses in the city using Polish as a language of commerce. The University has an active Polish Students' Society which offers support to almost 100 Polish students, and the School of Law has an exchange agreement with the University of Warsaw. 

  • You can find out more about Multilingual Manchester on their website