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£110,000 allocated to plan to save Jèrriais in schools

£110,000 allocated to plan to save Jèrriais in schools

Sunday 11 June 2017

£110,000 allocated to plan to save Jèrriais in schools

A plan to keep Jèrriais alive has been given £110,000, with £50,000 provided this year to allow the appointment of two new Jèrriais teachers.

The two new posts will bring the number of Jèrriais teachers in schools up to four, after two fully-qualified teachers were recruited in 2016.

The soon-to-be appointed teachers, who will be learning Jèrriais with the current staff of l’Office du Jèrriais, will help increase opportunities for pupils from primary to secondary schools. Weekly lessons in years 4, 5, 6 as well as after-school classes and two hours of Jèrriais a week for those who want to continue to learn at secondary school should soon be available while an intensive reception pilot project will be launched.

Assistant EDTSC Minister with responsibility for culture, Deputy Murray Norton, said: “Without a proper commitment from the States, Jèrriais will simply die out. To lose a language which has its roots in our Norman past would greatly damage our culture and erode a part of what makes Jersey such a special place. The plan is partly about ensuring that we have sufficient teachers to pass on the language but it’s also about supporting use of Jèrriais in the wider community and giving it greater visibility in daily life.

“I am delighted that my department has been able to work with colleagues at Education and with the Don Balleine Trust to recognise the importance of Jèrriais and to set out, for the first time, a clear approach to raising its profile in the Island.”

Last year, the Education Department recruited two fully-qualified teachers to learn the language and help pass it on to future generations. One was funded by EDTSC and the other by the Chief Minister’s Department.

Education Minister, Deputy Rod Bryans, said: “We are pleased to be able to support our colleagues at EDTSC with the education aspect of the Jèrriais plan. It will create continuity to ensure that our children have an experience and understanding of our Island’s unique language and culture.”

The Jèrriais Plan was developed by the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Department (EDTSC), the Don Balleine Trust and the Education Department following a request from States Members. It reflects a recent resurgence of interest in the language.  

It follows the launch of a community project to record native speakers of the language spearheaded by two academics from the UK – Dr Mari Jones from Cambridge University and Dr Julia Sallabank from the University of London.

Deputy Norton commented: “We have been very fortunate in the development of the Jèrriais Plan to benefit from the advice and support not only of passionate advocates within the Island but also Dr Mari Jones and Dr Julia Sallabank, whose interest has helped raise awareness of a vital aspect of our culture."

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