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The new Routes into Languages website is currently in development and will be launching in the new year!


Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

East of England

Strictly Speaking

Saturday, 26 September, 2015 - 00:00 to Friday, 22 July, 2016 - 00:00
Event Type: 
East of England
Eastern Region

A joint pilot project with ALL

For Y9 pupils and linked to the requirements of the new National Curriculum Programme of Study (2014), this project aims to give young language learners a flavour of authentic language and the challenge to create a successful short performance.

It exploits aspects of the format of the popular BBC TV series, Strictly Come Dancing in order to encourage language learners in Y9 to:

  • refine their oral language skills
  • develop their skills of speaking in public
  • work with native speakers or high level speakers of their language
  • enhance their memorisation strategies
  • access literary texts (including prose, poetry, song lyrics, plays etc)

NOTE: no dancing is involved!

FINAL AT ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, 28th June, 2016, 4.00pm (time tbc)

Increasing uptake at GCSE or equivalent

Reflecting the experience of Routes into Languages East in the period 2008-15, our suggested approach is premised on the belief that our most effective contribution to the Routes remit is to promote and support secondary school language teachers in encouraging their students to continue studying languages through to GCSE, thus maintaining the possibility that they will then continue on to A level and university. This belief has led to the development of various projects, courses and competitions for KS3 students in collaboration with their teachers.

Pinot la Pantomime

East of England

by Sarah Schechter, Routes East

Wow what a day we had!!!

To celebrate stage 3 of the Tour de France starting in Cambridge we decided to have a Tour de France musical – could we really pull it off?!?

The hugely talented Marie Atallah had written a musical in French called Pinot la Pantomime about a Russian illegal immigrant in Paris who dreams of one day winning the Tour de France – perfect!  Just what we needed…

We found 6 local schools who were brave enough to jump into the unknown with us and sent them all the teaching materials and DVDs prepared by Marie and they started practising the songs and getting to grips with the acting, so that we could all get together on 11th July and with the help of the actors as mentors put together a performance for the public at the end of the day.

Friday, July 11 dawned bright and sunny with nearly 100 pupils from Coleridge Community College, Ernulf Academy, Jack Hunt School, Parkside Community College, Sawtry Community College and Thomas Clarkson Academy converging on Anglia Ruskin University, not knowing what to expect.

The day kicked off with a lively, fun performance from the professional actors, – Marie Atallah’s troupe –  showing how it could be done with Year 5 from the School next door, St Matthew’s Primary School, who’d been learning French for one year, joining us in the Mumford Theatre.

Each school group then went off with the mentors to practise their scenes: work on the choreography, acting and singing. This was really a highlight of the whole experience for the pupils, who said the actors were amazing and great fun to work with.

Everyone then gathered back in the Mumford Theatre for the final performance of the day, starring the KS3 pupils. They were phenomenal!!! All the hard work had paid off and they really pulled it off. There was some extraordinary talent there.

In terms of feedback, the pupils said they’d had an amazing day – and they want to do it again next year…! Well, I suppose the Tour de France does happen every year, doesn’t it? Even if it doesn’t usually make it to Cambridge… Hmmm

But what of the language learning element? Well, to quote two of the Jack Hunt pupils, “I think it’s a great idea to learn French as you’re singing” and “It’ll help me in French because I learnt new vocabulary and the songs stay in your head so you remember them”

Thank you to everyone involved for making this a brilliant day (to see who they are, watch the credits at the end of the video)

What’s more, we collected nearly £50 on the day for the official Tour de France charity, Marie Curie Cancer Care  – there’s still time to donate on the official website:,

To get a little flavour of the day (beautifully captured by our student film makers, Brother Bear) watch the video and let us know what you think:


Monday, 7 September, 2015 - 00:00 to Friday, 22 July, 2016 - 00:00
Event Type: 
Project launch
East of England
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Students Get a Buzz from Languages

East of England

108 pupils reached the national final of the Routes into Languages Spelling Bee final at Anglia Ruskin University at the beginning of July.


They certainly knew their  ‘bof’ (so-so) from their ‘très bien’ (very good) their  ‘spitzer’ (pencil sharpener) from their ‘schildkröte’ (tortoise ) and their ‘sacapuntas’ from their pájaro’ (bird).


The national final, held at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge on Friday, 4 July, saw the Year 7 pupils from all over the country compete to correctly spell the most number of words in French, Spanish or German in just 60 seconds.


The competition, sponsored by the European Commission and Vocab Express, has seen a total of 61,493 youngsters take part from 496 schools across the country.  Having first won through class, school and regional heats, the finalists have each been given 200 words to memorise in their chosen language.


The competition is the brainchild of Cambridge teacher Jane Driver and has been extended across England, Wales and Scotland by Routes into Languages.


Routes into Languages East, based at Anglia Ruskin University, runs the national competition and organises the final.  Sarah Schechter of Anglia Ruskin, who is the Project Manager, said: “We’re amazed at how the Spelling Bee continues to grow year on year.


It gives Year 7 pupils the opportunity to really improve their language skills, while also having a lot of fun in the process.


Studies have shown that being able to speak a foreign language has many other benefits, including improving memory, multitasking and decision-making.  Therefore the skills these youngsters have shown in reaching the final should prove useful in other subjects as well.”


Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Routes into Languages programme, said: “The Spelling Bee really catches the imagination of young people.  They discover they can work magic with words and get to grips with a foreign language.  We all get a buzz from the competition!”


John Evans, Language Officer at the European Commission, said: “The enthusiasm generated by the Foreign Language Spelling Bee, combined with the solid foundation in language skills that it provides, will stand the pupils in good stead for taking languages further in the future.” 


Prizes were presented by the Deputy Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Robert Dryden, John Evans of the European Commission, Justin Sycamore of Vocab Express and Pat Dalby of Alliance Française, Cambridge.  There was also a special video message from Spelling Bee Patron Larry Lamb. who was unable to end the final this year.


Also present was Professor Richard Andrews, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, who said: “I was delighted and astonished at the brilliance of all the competitors, and am glad to see spelling receive such sustained attention in modern foreign languages.  I look forward to next year’s competition.”

For photos on the day from professional photographer, Phil Mynott, and from participants using the events app, FOMO, click here


For a short film by Anglia Ruskin University student fliming company, Brother Bear, click here 

And the winners were:

Following a wonderful final on Friday, with amazing performances from all the 105 Year 7s,

the results are as follows:



1st    Daniel Vlasits, Comberton Village College            E

2nd    NO PHOTO PERMISSION                                 E

3rd    Zahra Akber, Holy Trinity Catholic School            WM

4th    Andriana Chacholiades, Highlands School            LON



1st    Hannah Wookey, Beverley High School               Y&H

2nd   Rhys Wallis, The Howard of Effingham                SE

3rd   NO PHOTO PERMISSION                                   NE

4th   Alex Dent, Royal Grammar School Newcastle       NE



1st   Anika Goddard, Sir Jonathan North Community College        E

2nd  Alex Gao, Bolton School Boys' Division                             NW

3rd   Sneha Rammohan, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls    NW

4th   Matthew Cavalière, Bolton School Boys' Division                NW