Italian islanders loving Bute

John Lawson with some of the Sardinian children at Mount Stuart House.
John Lawson with some of the Sardinian children at Mount Stuart House.

Pupils from an Italian island spent time on a Scottish island recently when they attended Rothesay Joint Campus for their annual exchange week.

They normally learn at Chatterbox English School in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. Immersed in English from as young as two years old, the kids are practically fluent in English and enjoyed using the language in their Rothesay classes.

Nine primary and, for the first time, five secondary pupils received a very warm welcome from the staff, pupils and families on Bute.

The pupils were accompanied by director Tessa Percopo and head teacher John Lawson, a former interim principal of Rothesay Joint Campus and quality improvement officer for Glasgow Education.

Mr Lawson was happy to bring the Italian youngsters to Bute, who were delighted with the welcome they received.

He said: “We bring the Italian children here because there is a guaranteed, excellent Scottish experience.

“I know the staff in the campus are talented, skilled teachers and that the Bute pupils are friendly, welcoming and inclusive.

“We are always overwhelmed by the kindness shown all over the island from shopkeepers, taxi-drivers, tour guides and folk from every walk of life.

“The Italians can’t believe how nice people are. It gives them a real surprise and makes me very proud of my former home.”

During the Italian delegation’s trip the school provided a range of experiences for the visitors including bagpipe and Highland dance demonstrations, visits to the local attractions, charity sales and guest presentations.

Although busy with Easter and end-of-term work, the teachers made sure everyone was happy on the trip.

Rothesay staff commented on the good behaviour of the Sardinians and, of course, their impressive English.

The Italians added that the weather was good and the island looked beautiful. The children had a paddle at Scalpsie Bay and a pyjama walk in the Skeoch woods. Mr Lawson hopes any return trip to Italy will be just as successful.

He said: “We hope to be back next year. And we would love it if some Bute families could come and visit us in Cagliari. We are sure they would love the endless beaches, crystal seas and sunny weather.”