Multicultural Edinburgh school records song with 25 languages

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IT’S the city’s most multicultural school, with dozens of ­different languages spoken by its 300 pupils.

Now a new school song is set to celebrate the diversity of life at Dalry Primary School for the first time.

Pupils perform their song about social inclusio, with. Alan Chen and Erin Morrison at the front. Picture: Toby Williams

Pupils perform their song about social inclusio, with. Alan Chen and Erin Morrison at the front. Picture: Toby Williams

Hundreds of children from six different classes were involved in writing and performing the anthem, with languages as diverse as Arabic and Gaelic included in the lyrics in an effort to reflect the pupils’ varied backgrounds.

And yesterday afternoon proud parents got to hear it performed by the primary’s 30-strong choir for the first time, in the school playground.

Based around a theme of welcoming, the song celebrates the school as a “second home” for its pupils, 75 per cent of whom don’t speak English as their first language.

The tune was developed by the youngsters themselves with help from music teacher Phillip Thorne and Patrick Boxhall, who runs a social enterprise promoting creative learning in schools, with backing provided by young musicians from the primary.

The move marks the first time since 1958 that the school has performed and recorded its own song.

Headteacher Grant Gillies admitted the process had been “quite painful” and long at times, but insisted the “powerful” end result was more than worth it.

He said: “It really is amazing, the pride and the ethos at the school. The beautiful thing about the song is that it’s the children’s words, and it just sums up what the school means to them and what the community means to them.

“It’s trying to draw on the cultures from home and celebrate them. It’s got Arabic in it, but then it’s equally got Gaelic in it, and French. There’s 25 different languages spoken in the school.

“It’s how they feel about being at Dalry, at the school. When you listen to it, it sounds quite powerful. Everybody has got a part in the song that you can hear. It’s that message of coming in and enjoying yourself and feeling welcome.”

Dalry Primary School scooped the Creative Learning gong at the prestigious Scottish Education Awards earlier this year in recognition of its unique and creative approach to teaching.

As well as a new school song, the primary allows children to get involved in publishing and multimedia projects – and even a community radio station.

Councillor Cathy Fullerton, the city’s deputy education leader, said: “It was a real team effort from everyone at the school as all the pupils were involved at some stage whether it was composing the melodies, writing the words, playing the musical instruments or recording the song itself.”