WHEN she was four years old, Martyna Luczak found herself in a new school, in a new country, far from her homeland of Poland and all her friends.

“It was very strange for me, but my mum says I settled very well,” explains the teenager, with a smile. “I think it was because I came here, and it made all the difference.”

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‘Here’ is Glasgow’s Polish School, or – to give it its full name, General Sosabowski Polish School Glasgow CIC, recently renamed in honour of a heroic Second World War Polish Brigade commander.

Set up in September 2012 by a group of like-minded teachers who wanted to give Polish children a sense of the history, language and culture of their native country, the school runs each Saturday morning in Dalmarnock Primary.

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Martyna is a former pupil who now comes back to help out. Her mother, Marzena, a computing teacher, and her dad Pawel, who ran a building company in Poland, moved to Glasgow with Martyna and her sister Emilia in 2011 for work.

“I learned English very quickly, which helped,” says Martyna. “I came to the school originally because my mum wanted me to learn Polish, it was the language we spoke at home.

“Everyone was so friendly, it was an amazing experience.”

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She adds, smiling: “It was inspiring, and it has actually made me want to be a teacher. The teachers here were like my second parents, they helped me so much. I would love to be that person for someone else.”

The school has around 270 pupils, aged between five and 14, and 19 qualified teachers. The curriculum is set by the Polish Ministry of Education. Once they reach high school age, young people can learn history and sit exams in the Polish language.

Vice Director Pawel Poranski, a qualified geography teacher whose day job in Glasgow is a postman, explains the school's mission statement is to give children "a sense of ownership of their own culture and language and of belonging to the country of their ancestors: a distant place, but also a place to which, if they wish, they can always return and not feel like strangers."

He adds: "There are very few schools like ours in Scotland, this is the only one in the west.

“Children learn to speak Polish, which is very often the language spoken at home, or when they phone their grandparents back home in Poland.”

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He adds: “We also mark Polish celebrations such as Polish Independence Day, and our choir is very successful, competing in local events.

“We have a very good relationship with Dalmarnock Primary, where we are based, and with headteacher Nancy Clunie.”

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Director Beata Koryga agrees.

“We have great support from the school and Brenda Menzies, who has been the janitor here for 10 years, is an amazing part of our team too,” she says.

Beata has a “Scottish-Polish” twist to her outfit today, she says, with a laugh.

“I have a tartan flower, with a Polish flag at its heart,” she explains, smiling. “It is a symbol of the special relationship between Scotland and Poland.”

Beata, who worked as a pre-school teacher in Poland, came to Glasgow in 2007, when her youngest daughter Zofia was six years old.

“She is now 23,” she says. “I saw an advert in the newspaper for the Polish School and that made me happy. I was worried Zofia and her brother Pawel, who was 10, would lose their language.

“I started volunteering here at the school, then I became a teacher, and now I am headteacher. I love it here.

“Our dream is to have our own building one day, so we can run after-school clubs through the week as well as Saturday lessons.”

The school is alive with activity on a chilly Saturday morning. In one classroom, six-year-old Natalia Szramiak is demonstrating her knowledge of the letter K; in another, a bunch of young pupils are heartily singing a Polish song all about grandparents.

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“It is a song about how important grandparents are in a child’s life, it is about wishing them love,” explains Pawel. “Singing is so important for language.”

Teaching support assistant Marcin Debowski says the school is like a “small community.”

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“Our boys speak Polish at home, and when they are talking to their cousins back in Poland, so it was important to us that they learn the language - and here they can be around other Polish children and learn about their country,” he says.

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Marcin, a welfare rights officer, and his wife Olga, who is a university lecturer, came to the city in 2008 when Olga was studying her PhD at Glasgow University.

Their sons, Bruno, who is four and eight-year-old Stefan, now speak “Scottish and Polish”, says their proud dad.

Marta Arbat-Wozniak came to Glasgow as part of a university exchange programme in 2005. She teaches at a school in Paisley from Monday to Friday.

“I love my job, but I love coming here on Saturdays,” she says. “I feel that part of my destiny as a teacher is to teach Polish.

“We cover history too, which has been very interesting for the children. And of course, not just Polish history, but Scottish too, as Scotland is their home now.”