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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition

Monday, 4 April, 2016 - 09:00 to Wednesday, 8 June, 2016 - 09:00
Event Type: 
North West
Manchester Metropolitan University

This Laureate Education Project is a multilingual poetry competition that celebrates cultural diversity and the many languages spoken in schools in the UK.

Closing date: 8th June 2016

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a national Laureate Education Project, led by the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Regional competitions and events take place throughout the year. The competition is co-ordinated by Routes into Languages.

The competition is officially endorsed by Malala Yousafzai, youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist.

‌Award winning boxer, Amir Khan, launched the 2015 competition on 2nd February. Amir had this to say about the competition;

"I think it's important to encourage more pupils in school to learn a language and this competition is a great way to boost children's confidence."

There are two separate parts to the poetry competition. Children from Year 4 to Year 13 can enter one or both parts of the competition.

The Other Tongue part of the competition encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively to write a poem.The Mother Tongue part of the competition requires children who do not have English as a first language, or who speak a different language at home, to share a lullaby, poem or song from their Mother Tongue. They then write a short piece in English to explain the poem’s significance to them.  

Booking information: 

The competition is free to enter and is open to children age 8 to 18 (Year 4 to Year 13).  We can only accept up to four entries from each school for each part of the competition (i.e up to four entries for Mother Tongue, and up to four entries for Other Tongue).

An entry to the Mother Tongue competition should be in two parts.  The first part is a poem.  This can be an original, creative piece, or a poem or song that is ‘remembered’ – i.e.  this could be something in the pupil’s first language that they recall, or that has been told to them by a relative.  It can be in any language but English. The second part of the entry to the Mother Tongue part of the competition should be a short explanation of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, and why it is important.  This should be no more than half a page of writing.  It must be written in English and is the part on which the entry is judged.

An entry to the Other Tongue competition should be an original poem written in a language that is not the pupil’s first language.  In the North West region we can accept entries in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Urdu and Mandarin.

For both parts of the competition, judging is based on the written work and not the artwork.  However, we usually have many beautifully illustrated entries and encourage pupils to consider the presentation of their work.

What to include with your entry

Each entry must be accompanied by a cover sheet. 

How to submit your entries

Work should be submitted by post only - sorry we are unable to accept email entries.  All entries must reach us by the 8th June 2016.

Remember to include a cover sheet for each entry providing all the information we require.

Post your entries to:

Routes into Languages North West

Geoffrey Manton Building

Department of Languages, Information and Communications

Manchester Metropolitan University

Rosamund Street West

Off Oxford Road


M15 6LL