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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Active Languages - 8th July 2009

Yorkshire and the Humber

An Active Languages event for Yorkshire and The Humber region was held at the University of Leeds on Wednesday 8th July. The event was co-organised by Routes into Languages Yorkshire and The Humber, (Kerry Dobson, Project Manager) and The Youth Sports Trust, (Bev Whiteside).

A total of 16 schools were invited to attend the event, places were offered on a first come, first serve basis. Participating schools were to be recruited from the Yorkshire and Humber region. Sixteen schools were selected on this basis, although only 14 were able to attend the event on the day, due to last minute illness or problems with staff attending. Details of the schools that attended can be obtained from the Excel spreadsheet attached to this report.

Each school was asked to nominate a member of staff from their MFL department and PE department, and a total of 28 teachers were present on the day, with both departments represented equally.

The programme involved a talk by Bev Whiteside (YST) highlighting activity that has taken place in various parts of the country combining sport and languages, and the rationale behind the purpose of such activity. This was followed by a presentation from Alison Lucas of the Oasis Academy, Immingham on how combining languages and sports really work. Practical sessions followed with the 28 teachers split into two groups, with one group participating in a demonstration and practice of tag rugby with French run by Vicky Heslop of Bath Rugby Community Foundation, and the second group taking part in trampolining with French run by Josette Arnold and Amanda Cundle of Bowring Comprehensive School, Liverpool. Both groups then swapped sessions after 45 minutes.

The afternoon was spent working with the 14 schools and asking them to prepare a proposal to submit to Routes into Languages by 22nd July 09. The teachers were paired with their colleague from PE/Languages departments in their schools, and together they are to submit a proposal to run a pilot project in their school, commencing in the autumn term of 2009 – 10 of the academic year. If successful in the submission of an effective proposal, each school will be awarded a sum of £1000.

Routes and the Youth Sports Trust are looking for proposals that effectively combine any sport with the languages taught in the schools participating. By carrying out a pilot project like this, we aim to encourage schools to look at ways of embedding language learning and sport activities, and build on the success of the pilot project. Therefore activity needs to be sustainable, not just a one of event that only the two members of staff concerned can sustain. The aim is to encourage other members of the two departments to become involved and build on what takes place initially in the pilot.

All participating schools will be expected to submit case studies at the end of the academic year, and to distribute attitudinal questionnaires to their students at the beginning of the project and again at the end, so impact can be measured.

The aim is to show-case activity at the end of the year and invite schools who did not participate in this scheme to attend, with a view to disseminating new ideas and best practice.