Spelling Bee pupils celebrate European Day of Languages

Published: 27 September 2010 at 10:09

Year 7 pupils in England learning French, German or Spanish are invited to compete for the national Routes into Languages Spelling Bee title, which is launched this week.

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Different to other spelling bee competitions running in one language, pupils will translate each word from English, then spell it back in a second language. Across Wales, there will be a fourth award for pupils learning Welsh.

The competition was devised by Jane Driver, a language teacher at Comberton Village College in Cambridge. Jane says,

"The aim is for students in year 7 to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in another language to show how much fun it can be."

The spelling bee competition is being launched to mark European Day of Languages, which is celebrated on or around 26 September every year, to promote life-long language learning and cultural awareness.

Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in the UK comments:

"With an estimated 11 per cent of small and medium sized businesses losing contracts due to a lack of language skills, it's important that we equip today's children – tomorrow's workforce – with the best possible skills to secure interesting and challenging jobs; we fully support this fun and innovative way of encouraging young school children to learn foreign languages."

Class rounds will take place during the 2010 Autumn term, with school and regional finals in the 2011 Spring term, and the England and Wales finals in July 2011.

Led by Anglia Ruskin University in partnership with the University of Cambridge, The Open University and University of Bedfordshire, the specific aim of the Routes into Languages (East) project is to increase the take up of languages and promote more positive attitudes towards them, and to encourage the transition of language learning from schools to universities.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Sarah Schechter, Project Manager for Routes into Languages (East), said:

"This is just one of many vibrant and engaging Routes into Languages initiatives that sees pupils welcome language learning because it is both fun and confidence-boosting."

Routes into Languages helps universities and secondary schools to work together to promote language learning. A wide range of activities and events take place with different themes, with university students demonstrating how opportunities can open up by speaking more than one language.

For further information visit www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk or www.anglia.ac.uk