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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:


North East

This year’s prestigious German teacher award was held on Monday at Newcastle University and attended by many involved in German language teaching, not only from the region but nationwide.

The event saw guests from the Goethe Institute, the Scottish Consul General and the German Embassy in London in attendance as well as the Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University who bravely delivered his address in German, much to the pleasure of the mainly bi-lingual audience. Since 2004 the German Teacher Award has been awarded annually to three of the best German teachers in the UK. This year, Alison Low from Monifieth High School in Scotland, and Suzanne Prout, who worked for 3 years in Baxter Business and Enterprise College in Worcestershire, were both given awards for setting standards of excellence in the teaching of German as a foreign language. In addition Diane Brown, from Tomlinscote School in Surrey, received the German Teacher Award for her lifetime achievement. She has been working as a German teacher for more than 40 years.

The Cultural Attaché at the German Embassy in London, Cord Meier-Klodt, and Consul General Wolfgang Mössinger from Edinburgh had the honour to present the awards in the historic surroundings of Newcastle University’s King’s Hall. The Goethe-Institut’s Deputy Director Uwe Rau also presented the Peter Boaks Award to Anna Griffin from London.

Celebrations continued over a German style lunch featuring Currywurst, Pretzels and Weißbier which was enjoyed by all. Guests also had the opportunity to browse a range of information stands manned by organisations including the UK-German connection and the German Academic Exchange Service. Routes and Links into languages, which promote language learning and offer support for language teachers helped to organise the event and hosted an afternoon seminar entitled ‘Defending and Resourcing German’ which was well attended by a wide range of people involved in German language teaching. The seminar sparked enthusiastic debate on the importance of German and indeed all foreign language teaching in the UK and how best to preserve and promote it in the face of government cuts and a declining uptake at GCSE and A-Level. If readers would like to get involved or add to that debate then please join the wall of language campaign at or voice your opinions at

Newcastle University and Routes and Links into Languages are grateful for all the support which went into making this day such a success.

To see the Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Brink's speech in German click here:

Get Gibbs' attention

North East

The languages community are drawing on their combined efforts to promote debate about language learning and teaching at the highest levels.

Baronness Cousins leads an All Party Parliamentary Group dedicated to raising awareness about the most pertinent issues across both Houses. In addition to this, language enthusiasts are being urged to write to their local MP.


North East Project Manager, Ruth O'Rourke, comments: "We can each exercise our constitutional right to lobby our government. We don't really live in a democracy unless we do! I wrote to Chi Onuwarah, MP for Central Newcastle, highlighting the drop in take up for languages and the social and economnic ramifications. She passed it on to Nick Gibb and I received a reply fairly promptly. It's good to know that he has read the letter and that Chi took action on my behalf."


The reply from Nick Gibb's office is available on this website. Other letters and responses can be found on This web-based initiative started before the General Elections and is now in a 'second wave' of action. If you want to write to your MP there are templates and guidelines on the website.

For more information on writing to your MP about languages visit

On general information on writing to your MP,

To find out who your local MP is,


'My Favourite Resource' competition (for teachers)

North East

An open competition to teachers of modern languages in North East schools.

Teachers' competition: £100 voucher for each Key Stage winner (KS1-5) PLUS runner up prizes of vouchers up to £50

Students' competition: £50 voucher for each Key Stage winner (KS1-5) PLUS runner-up prizes of EDL resources. For details of the students' competitionclick here.

All across our region, and across the country, people know, use and learn langauges; the European Day of Langauges is an opportunity to celebrate what we do, whatever the language! There are so many good ideas, good examples of practices, and great role models for MFL teachers in the region. We invite you to share these with us by sending us your favourite classroom activity.

This doesn't have to be a new activity, just your tried and tested favourite; this could be a starter, plenary or 'settler' activity. Tell us - in no more than 1 side of A4:

- any resources required

- any instructions or context

The activity should be:

- innovative

- a proven success

- replicable (either across languages or key stages)

You can support your application with one additional sheet of evidence i.e. photos, quotes and feedback, or resources created as a result of the activity. We will award a prize for each Key Stage and collate the entries in a good practice manual.

- can be a toy, poster, prop, book etc

- with a short explanation (no more than 1 side of A4) on how you use the resource

NB: We regret that entries cannot be returned. Any winning and runner-up entries may be used in further publicity (i.e. good practice manual for the North East). Prizes will not be awarded in the event of insufficient entires of good quality.

We welcome joint entries, but please remember to credit any collaborators ... and to share your prize!

The DEADLINE is Monday, 4th October, 2010. Send your entries marked EDL COMPETITION to 

Links into Languages, ECLS, King George VI Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU.

Many thanks to our joint sponsors: Association for Language Learning, Europe Direct, Links into Languages North East, Regional Languages Network.

The judges will be representatives of the sponsors and their decision is final.

Postcard Competition (for school pupils)

North East


An open competition to pupils of modern languages in North East schools.


Students' competition: £50 voucher for each Key Stage winner (KS1-5) PLUS runner-up prizes of EDL resources.

Teachers' competition: £100 voucher for each Key Stage winner (KS1-5) PLUS runner up prizes of vouchers up to £50. For details of the teachers' competition click here.

All across our region, and across the country, people know, use and learn langauges; the European Day of Langauges is an opportunity to celebrate what we do, whatever the language! GB will be hosting events that will attract speakers of other languages from all over the world, focussed on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We invite pupils to create an invitation to the North-East inspired by this theme.


Entries must involve words in a language or languages other than English, and should be no larger than a sheet of A4 paper.

Mark each entry with the pupil's name, age, class and school, as well as any necessary information abou the langauge chosen.

NB: We regret that entries cannot be returned. We reserve the right to use any of the images for promotional purposes.

We welcome joint entries, but please remember to credit any collaborators ... and to share your prize!

The DEADLINE is Monday, 4th October, 2010. Send your entries marked EDL COMPETITION to
Links into Languages, ECLS, King George VI Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU.


Many thanks to our joint sponsors: Association for Language Learning, Europe Direct, Links into Languages North East, Regional Languages Network.

The judges will be representatives of the sponsors and their decision is final.

Year Abroad Volunteer Really Makes a Difference

North East

Helping Underprivileged Children Of Lençois

A Volunteer Project in the Chapada Diamantina Region of Brazil
Article and photos from original article by Lies Ouwerkerk
Independent Travel Columnist

Routes into Languages North East ambassador, Natalie Hoskin, has been working at Casa Grande offering underprivileged Brazilian children a chance to develop and progress. Originally a charming guesthouse for independent travelers set up by Olivia Taylor, Posada dos Duendos is now a centre for many of the local children who are from poor familes or who who do not attend school regularly.  

Development of the Project

A generous Dutch traveller gifted the pousada a nearby run-down house to fix up for use where Volunteer-run Projecto Casa Grande (Big House Project) is now situated. It currently caters to two groups of about 20 children, one coming in on mornings, another in the afternoons. Natalie, volunteering as part of her Year Abroad, comments, “In the beginning I felt quite overwhelmed and sometimes discouraged. I quickly realized that I had to give up some of my illusions and too idealistic goals I had previous to coming here. I had dreams of making big changes in the lives of these children, and motivating them to pursue a higher education. During my time here, I have learned to see them in their own context, to set smaller goals, and to celebrate the little victories instead: empowering a boy who could not complete the alphabet past the letter e, to proudly spell and write his own name, or teaching a girl who was not able to count past three without skipping to ten, to properly add and subtract small numbers.”


Founder, Olivia Taylors' wish list for Casa Grande keeps growing. She hopes for closer ties with the schools in Lençóis; for a permanent, paid staff member; and to start providing food, as many children’s diets are limited to rice, beans, and cheap sweets only. And last, but not least, there is a plan to buy an adjacent lot and create a playground, a garden, and an area to raise some animals.


For Natalie Hoskin, the gains of volunteering here been great. She has been able to take advantage of the  many outdoors activities that the pousada organizes for its guests, from trekking and mountain biking to horse riding and kayaking. She has worked in return for meals and lodging.   And of course, Natalie brought her already existing knowledge of the Portuguese language near perfection during her stay in Lençóis.

What she has found most gratifying of all, however, is the fact that she could give love to children who don’t receive it at home. “It will be very hard to part from them” she concludes, “and although it was a pretty demanding job and I had to learn a lot as I went along, I would not like to have missed a second of it. It has been an absolutely invaluable and life-changing experience for me, and my view on life is now totally different from what it was before.”

For More Information

Read the full article here: 



Learning A Foreign Language is 'aaaalreet'

North East

Geordies are the most likely tourists to try and speak a foreign language while on holiday.

In a nationwide poll conducted by low fares airline, easyJet, more than 74 per cent of people from Newcastle confirmed that they attempt the basics of the local lingo when it comes to saying hello, asking for directions and when ordering a drink at the bar.

 Routes into Languages and easyJet teamed up to provide translation cards for useful holiday phrases in French and Spanish. These will be available on flights departing from Newcastle Airport to French and Spanish destinations. Routes North East also delivered a mass languages lesson from Grey's Monument in Newcastle city centre. (<-Click on the link to see the clip.) 

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s commercial manager, explains: “We’re an airline that wants its passengers to get the most out of their chosen destination and we were really encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by people in Newcastle when it came to learning the local lingo for their summer holiday."

Ruth O’Rourke, project manager at Routes into Languages, continues: “A little language goes a long way. We know that linguists are more successful in the job market in terms of employment and salary, are great communicators, we are apparently more attractive to other people and there are even health benefits."

Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at Alzheimer's Society, added: “We recommend that people stay socially activeas this can help reduce your risk of developing dementia. There is also research to suggest that if you started learning a language early enough, this could make you less likely to develop dementia later in life.”

To date easyJet, the UK’s largest and best value airline, has flown more than 11 million passengers from Newcastle Airport since its arrival in 2001. It currently operates 30 flights every week to 16 destinations including, Alicante, Paris, Malaga, Faro, Nice and Malta.