Ahoy there! Children from Upton Junior School in Broadstairs have set sail on voyage of discovery with pupils from a school in Prague in the Czech Republic.

The Broadstairs crew welcomed the party of 18 eight and nine year olds from Dino Elementary School on board for a three-day journey of learning, sharing, understanding, and friendship.

The visit is part of the Immersion in English programme successfully run in secondary education by Broadstairs English Centre – it is the first time their initiative has been broadened into the primary sector.

The Czech children were partnered with a boy and girl Upton Buddy for their stay and they saw first-hand life in an English school, observing and taking part in a range of lessons, sharing similar and contrasting experiences of each other’s lives, enjoying games at break time and sharing lunch with their new classmates.

Aleeza is a Year 3 Upton buddy. She said: “It is really interesting meeting children from Prague. They like a lot of the same things as us but they are also different.”

Jonty, another buddy, agreed. He said: “They are really friendly and we enjoyed finding out things about them. We also learnt some Czech words.”

Oscar, one of the Czech boys, said: “It is good fun here. I like it – we are learning all sorts of different things about the school and the children and the town.”

Dave Walker, Deputy Head at Upton, said: “This link has been really successful, our children and their visitors have gained so much from a cultural, social and education viewpoint.

“There has been at least one Czech pupil in every class so they get a real feel for life in our school across all age groups. They have learned very well and enjoyed their time with us. Their level of English is very impressive.

“They enjoyed our learning and our recreation times, including the HMS Upton play ship in our grounds.

“We hope to welcome further visits like this to our school – there are important learning experiences for us all.”

The Czech party leaders Helena and Ivana said: “Our time at Upton has been so valuable. Our children were welcomed and settled in quickly to experience a new way of life. Some aspects of learning were similar but some of the techniques and methods of learning were quite different and interesting for them.

“We were impressed with the resources and support structure at Upton and the general ethos of the school – we admired how well-behaved and polite the children are throughout the day.”

Broadstairs English Centre school liaison officer for the immersion programme is educationalist Andy Somers. He said: “You cannot put a value on how important these joint educational experiences are – the idea is to immerse international students deep into the beating heart of our schools so they can really get a flavour of how we learn. The mutual benefits are enormous and the impact is something all the children will carry through their lives.”

During their stay through the BEC, the Czech party also explored historic Broadstairs, spent time in Canterbury finding out about its heritage around the city and at the cathedral, and visited Dover with its castle and gateway port.

Upton Junior School is part of the Viking Academy Trust with Chilton Primary School and Ramsgate Arts Primary School.