A LEWISHAM primary school's craze for spelling could see them crowned champions of the whole world in a top competition.

There's a real buzz around Elfrida School in Elfrida Crescent, Bellingham, where youngsters are winging their way towards victory in the charity Mencap's online spelling contest.

The competition sees 670 primary and secondary schools race for first prize.

Children from across the nation plus countries like Italy, Spain and Thailand may be taking part, but its the 275 Elfrida pupils who lead the field with 251,188 correct spellings since they started the programme in November.

One of their many talented pupils, Year 5 pupil Joseph Zmuda already tops the individual tables having correctly spelled an astonishing 34,639 words.

Teaching assistant Clair Ross said: "Joseph's top in the country, and I can even say the world, because it's a global event."

The competition is hosted by a bee who is voiced by Stephen Fry, challenging children to practice spelling by playing interactive games, and be sponsored by friends and family, who can make an online donation to Mencap.

Misss Ross said: "It's been a huge thing for our school.

"If they get a spelling right, the pupils get so much satisfaction from it.

"I didn't expect this to take off like it has. It's just been tremendous."

The competition also sees pupils trying to raise as much money as possible for the charity - with the best fundraisers picking up a £10,000 prize.

Head of school Elizabeth Newton said: "The children of Elfrida have amazed and delighted me with their enthusiasm and commitment to this worthy cause.

"What a wonderful situation to be in - children enjoying improving their spelling whilst also raising essential funds for others with learning disabilities."

If you would like to donate, visit their Just Giving page.

To find out more about the competition, visit spellathon.net