Creating a Buzz about Languages

Category: North East news

On 1st April this year, year 7 pupils from across the North East gathered at Northumbria University for the first ever regional foreign language spelling bee. The spelling competition was held in French, German and Spanish and was hotly contested by pupils who had been honing their skill since the Autumn when the competition was launched. In order to reach the regional final, contestants had to win at both class and school level. The regional winners go through to the national final taking place on 6th July at Homerton College, Cambridge.

13 schools originally signed up in the region with approximately 1000 year 7 pupils competing at class level. 7 schools submitted a total of 25 contestants to the final where they were watched by their friends, teachers and parents. Contestants each had one minute to correctly translate and spell as many words as possible in the language category they had chosen. The top four from each language then competed again in a second heat to establish 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place. Winners were awarded trophies and certificates by visiting project manager of Routes Cymru, Ellie Jones.

The contestants all enjoyed the experience, every one of them reporting that the spelling bee had been interesting in post event evaluations. The idea of using modern languages in a competition appealled to the children, lending a new edge to the learning of vocabulary and pronunciation. 88% of pupils competing agreed that the competition had made them think positively about languages and they were unanimous in their conviction that learning a language is important.

Congratulations to all those who took part and particularly to the winners.

We're delighted to say we will be running the competition again next year. After the success of this year's competition and the obvious positive effect it had on pupils, we hope to see more schools signing up to this worthwhile event when registrations open in the autumn term.