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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

North East

The Language Resource Centre at Newcastle University has a small team in place, which will be available from Mid-January for virtual school visits, synchronous and asynchronous to promote language learning, and inter-cultural activities in line with the Routes into Languages aims. Please contact Ashleigh via:

A poetic performance from North East pupils!

North East

On June 27th 2014, two pupils from the North East travelled to a national celebration event at Manchester Metropolitan University to be crowned regional winners of this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition.


The Mother Tongue category of the competition consisted of two parts, the first of which was the poem itself. This could be an original, creative piece, or a poem or song that is ‘remembered’ and could be in any language other than English. The second part comprised a short explanation of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, or why it was important to the person submitting it, written in English.


The 2014 North East winner in the Mother Tongue category is 14 year old Vaibhav Tiwari of the Hermitage Academy in Chester le Street. He chose to write about his favourite Hindi poem ‘Wake Up Son’.


The poem is really important to me because every day to wake me up in the morning my mother sings this song to me. This poem is a very beautiful poem and I love it because it has a melodic tune and has a really inspiring storyline… I have been hearing this poem since I was young and each time I hear it or read it my heart is filled with joy and I feel like I am wasting my time and should be up using it. So the moral of the poem is: ‘Don’t be lazy and waste your vital time, instead use your time wisely!’”


The Other Tongue category, meanwhile, requires entries to be an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it, usually a language studied in school.


Congratulations go to 14 year old Isabelle Redmayne, of King Edward VI School in Morpeth who is the winner of the Other Tongue section this year with her self-penned poem in French: ‘Victoire d’Argent’. She describes the inspiration for her winning entry below…


The inspiration for this poem was a garden fork…perhaps I should elaborate! I was out in the garden at night and there was a huge moon that shone down on the dew on the grass, creating the most beautiful, sparkling effect. However, then I noticed what looked like a hand reaching out from the inside of the garden shed! I had been reading a murder mystery earlier, so I was very paranoid - it turned out to be garden fork! I wanted to make this experience sound more romantic than it actually was, so what better way than to put it in to a poem in French?!


Congratulations also go to Sophie Emson and Aisha Arshad, Year 8 pupils at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newcastle, whose poems ‘Ma Mère’ and ‘Ma Soeur’ were both Highly Commended in the Other Tongue category.


Sadly Sophie and Aisha were unable to join the celebrations in Manchester but, together with their counterparts from across the UK, Vaibhav and Isabelle took part in an uplifting programme of multicultural activities organised by the Routes into Languages North West team. These ranged from some highly energetic South Asian dancing through to thought-provoking music from Musicians without Borders, before it was time for our brave winners to read their poems aloud to the audience.  

Following an inspiring speech from novelist and scriptwriter Qasira Shahraz, the prizes were awarded just in time for our winners to catch their train home.


*The poems from the 2014 competition are due to be added to a dedicated online area soon – watch this space for further details!*


Huge thanks go to all of the teachers and parents who supported the pupils in entering the competition and special thanks go to Yasmin Hussain and Karen Morrison at Routes into Languages North West, without whom the competition and celebration event could not have taken place!

From Welsh to wellingtons: The Festival of International Culture 2014

North East

A busy but fun-packed week of language and culture has just drawn to a close here in the North East following our Festival of International Culture at the universities of Teesside, Durham and Newcastle!

Running from 31st March to 4th April, over 250 Year 8 & 9 school pupils from across the region enjoyed a fantastic programme of workshops designed to enthuse them with a passion for new languages and culture ahead of GCSE option choices. Our student ambassadors offered an exciting range of language taster sessions, which included Arabic, Chinese, German, Spanish and Welsh. The cultural sessions proved particularly popular with participants, with World Calligraphy (including Chinese, Tamil and Sinhalese) and South African Gumboot Dance led by the wonderful artists of GemArts in Gateshead.

‘Fun!’ appears to be the most common theme in the feedback received from pupils, whilst teachers praised the interactive nature of sessions and enthusiasm of the student ambassadors supporting the event. We hope that you all enjoyed the events just as much as all of the team here at Routes North East and we look forward to welcoming even more schools to our 2015 Festival next year.

Special thanks go to Annie Malik of Teesside University and Marcela Cazzoli-Goeta of Durham University for their invaluable support both before and during the events.

For a selection of photos from each of the days, please see below.

Spelling Bee success for North East schools

North East

Following months of preparation, Wednesday 26th March saw almost 100 pupils, teachers, parents and supporters descend upon Newcastle University for the North East regional final of the Foreign Language Spelling Bee 2014.


Having been selected as the top-performing pupils in their schools to compete in the regional final categories of French, German and Spanish, the competitors represented the very best from amongst 3500 pupils who initially registered to take part from 26 North East schools. On hand to help with the running of the competition were our fantastic native-speaker judges and a trusty team of student ambassadors.


Nerves were running high for pupils and teachers alike as our brave Year 7 pupils – 36 for French, 13 for German and 10 for Spanish – took to the stage to test their spelling prowess in the space of just one minute. Once the top four contestants for each language had been identified, it was time to find out who would be crowned in first, second, third and fourth places here in the North East.


Thanks to Whickham School, you can hear all about the day from a pupil perspective in a BBC School News Report available here. Pupils Abbie and Ella recorded teachers, organisers and contestants alike as part of their podcast project - great work, girls!


Special congratulations go to the following pupils:

Michael King of Ormesby School – 4th place (Spanish)

Abbie Judd of St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School – 3rd place (Spanish)

Jude Davison of Hermitage Academy – 2nd place (Spanish)

Humaira Jet of Egglescliffe School – 4th place (German)

Aminah Saghir of Egglescliffe School – 3rd place (German)

Mikey Lawlor of Royal Grammar School – 2nd place (German)

Ryan Days of Hermitage Academy – 4th place (French)

David McBride of Hummersknott Academy – 3rd place (French)

Daniel Partleton of Royal Grammar School – 2nd place (French)


Extra special congratulations go our overall winners on the day:

Emma Gray of Hermitage Academy (Spanish), Alex Dent of Royal Grammar School (German) and Daniel Thirlaway of Emmanuel College (French)


All twelve contestants in Round 2 are winners, however, and will represent their schools in the national final on Friday 4th July. We wish them every success in the next stage of the competition!


A final thank you goes to our wonderful judges Hélène Beaugy, Morgane Mazan, René Koglbauer, Luisa Grahlow, María Dominguez-Caro and María Elena García.

PRESS RELEASE: Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2014

North East

Running as part of the national competition led by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Routes into Languages North East are delighted to announce the return of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition for 2014! 


The main focus of Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a multilingual poetry competition that seeks to help children get creative with poetry to celebrate cultural diversity and the many languages currently spoken in schools across the UK. The Mother Tongue, Other Tongue initiative is being organised in the region by Routes into Languages North East thanks to funding from the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal and the regional winners will represent the North East at a national celebration event in Manchester at the end of June.


Routes into Languages North East will be providing a range of free Mother Tongue, Other Tongue poetry workshops to local schools over the coming months while the regional competition is now open to all primary and secondary aged pupils in the North East of England who can enter as individuals or groups of any size. The competition comprises two distinct categories:


The Mother Tongue category of the competition consists of two parts, the first of which is the poem itself. This can be an original, creative piece, or a poem or song that is ‘remembered’ (i.e. something in your first language that you recall, or that has been told to you by a relative) and can be in any language other than English. The second part should be a short explanation (no more than half a page) of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, or why it is important to the person submitting it. This part must be written in English and is the part your entry will be judged on.


The Other Tongue category requires entries to be an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it. The languages you create your poem in should be studied in your school and can be any of the following: French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, BSL and Italian.


This year for the first time participants are asked to submit their poems digitally. Entrants for both categories are asked to create a short video of their poem being read aloud accompanied by images, film or text on the screen. All entries received will be housed online and a celebration event will be held for participating schools at Newcastle University in June 2014 where the regional winners will be announced. The deadline for entering the competition is Friday 16th of May 2014.


Routes into Languages North East would like to thank the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal for their support and sponsorship of the regional competition once again in 2014.


Please click here for full details of how to enter the competition. If you have any queries about the competiton please email Sophie Stewart at or Thomas Snell at

Chinese Film Day Success in Sunderland

North East

School pupils from across the region travelled to Sunderland University on Wednesday 5th February to welcome in the Year of the Horse by taking part in a Chinese Film Day.


The Year 8 pupils watched Not One Less, a film exploring the trials of a thirteen year old substitute teacher and her pupils in a remote mountain village, which challenged them to consider issues such as poverty, migration, urbanism and rural life.The rest of the afternoon was spent in workshops ranging from Chinese Language to Calligraphy. The chopstick challenge proved to be a particular highlight of the day!


In addition to languages staff at the University of Sunderland, the event was supported by four Chinese Student Ambassadors who were on hand to answer any questions the pupils had about Chinese language and culture.Feedback from the event was very positive and the day was enjoyed by all involved.

European Day of Languages 2013 Competition Results

North East

European Day of Languages Competition 2013 in the North East – And the winners are … 

For many years, the North East representations of the Association for Language Learning, Routes into Languages and Network for Languages together with their partners Europe Direct North East England and Crossroads Languages have hosted this competition.

As the Lindisfarne Gospels were back in the North East this summer, the participants were asked to locate and/or create a text in their chosen language and present it as an illuminated page.  The immensely large response rate and the very high quality of submission, led the judges to the decision to visit the winners in school over November, December and early January to congratulate them personally and raise the importance of language learning across the regions.

The winners of this year’s European Day of Languages competition in the North East are:

Category KS2:

Winner: Jazell Qasim (Central Newcastle High School; Junior School)

Category KS3:

Winner: Ellie Stannard (St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School & Bryon Sixth Form College)

Runner-ups: Eve Murray (Egglescliffe School), Jenny McDowell (Sacred Heart High School), Serena Philpott (Central Newcastle High School)

Category KS4:

Winner: Fahima Khatun (Gosforth Academy)

Category KS5:

Winner: Sudip Budha Magar (Benfield School)

The judges and the supporting organisations would like to thank the teachers for their commitment to this competition. A particular thank-you goes to all the pupils in the North East that have sent in a contribution! The judges are looking forward to equally exciting submissions in 2014.

On the LINE

North East

Thanks to all those who attended On the LINE at Newcastle University on Thursday 13th September. The event had a great buzz to it and it was great to start the term by seeing so many language teachers from the North East at such a positive event.

As promised we have uploaded the materials to the website and you can find them all here. Simply click the links below for the relevant presentations.


FREE Olympic Powerpoint Presentations - Now Available

North East

Our freinds at Brilliant Publications have created three PowerPoints to help you to introduce pupils to the French, Spanish and German words for the 26 main Olympic sports. The PowerPoint displays:

* Also provide background information on the country's participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games

* Can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard or printed out to be used as a handout

* Contain attractive, original drawings

* Are easily adaptable ­ you can add or delete pages if you wish.

To get your free PowerPoint, simply email, giving your name, and what language you would like, and she will send you your free PowerPoint. There's no obligation to buy anything. Brilliant Publications are giving away the PowerPoints absolutely free.

North East schools celebrate international culture at region’s universities

North East

The festivals of international culture have become flagship events for Routes into Languages in the North East. They have been running every year since the project began five years ago, bringing pupils from across the region together to celebrate and learn about foreign language and culture. 2012 was no different as 18 schools attended the events at three of the region’s top universities.

Last week began with undergraduate student language ambassadors assembling at Durham University to welcome 90 pupils to the first festival. The student ambassadors are an integral part of the festival with even more responsibility this year. Students were responsible for leading both the welcome plenary activity and all the language taster sessions on offer. As always, they rose to the task and delivered some innovative and exciting classes in Russian, Arabic, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese.

The festivals continued from Monday to Wednesday with Teesside and Newcastle Universities also opening their doors to language pupils. As well as learning new languages, pupils were given the chance to participate in exciting foreign cultural traditions including Capoeira (a Brazilian non-contact marshal art), African drumming, origami, Persian calligraphy and Bollywood dance.

The festivals are attended by pre-GCSE options classes and organisers Routes into Languages hope that it will inspire pupils to select one or more languages at GCSE. Pupils left this year’s events full of enthusiasm for the world’s cultures with some commenting ‘It was very fun and presented me with new ways to learn languages’, and ‘fun sessions filled with lots of new information!’.

Teachers were equally impressed with one in particular getting in touch to tell us our pupils were just about to make their final choices, and I know some of the pupils we took (most had not initially chosen languages which is why we chose them) have since changed their minds which is great.’

We really enjoyed hosting the events and a major thank you goes out to all the schools who attended and to all the student ambassadors who put so much work into making it a success. Long may the festivals of international culture continue.