PUPILS walked 'around the world' in a few steps as their school celebrated their diverse cultural backgrounds.

Oxford High School in Summertown was packed with colourful flags and exotic-looking food yesterday, as its three-day Festival of Languages culminated in a fair.

About 20 stalls filled the school hall, offering different food, games and activities including henna hand-painting.

They represented the different languages boasted by some of the school's many bilingual pupils.

Girls at the independent school are able to chose from eight foreign languages taught there up to A-Level, with university courses in modern foreign languages and classics remaining popular.

A spokesperson for the school said: "We are immensely proud of this language provision and our openness to polylingualism.

"We see this as a way of celebrating the cultures that make our community so rich and progressive, as well as sending a positive message to the outside world about who we are and what we stand for - a community that wants to build bridges, not walls.

"It was gratifying to see the excitement of all involved and travel through all these wonderful countries in one day."

One third of the school's population is bilingual, speaking about 34 different languages between them.

As well as the languages fair, which was the culmination of the festival, pupils were given special assemblies and lectures.

Those involved in the stalls were able to prepare information about their countries of origin, and the nation's best food dishes.