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UCLan annual competition celebrates local children’s linguistic talents

25 March 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Lancashire schools get creative with modern foreign languages

An animated French speaking gingerbread man, a German food poem and a French rap song are just some of the ways local schoolchildren have displayed their foreign language skills at the annual Lancashire Talent Competition held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Over a hundred schoolchildren from Balshaws CE High, Brownedge St Mary's Catholic High, Christ the King, Lancaster Girls' Grammar, Lancaster Royal Grammar, Longridge High, Moorpark Business and Enterprise, Penwortham Priory Academy, Saints John Fisher and Thomas More Catholic Humanities College and St. Michael's CE High visited the University for the fourth year of the competition which invites pupils to submit original songs, poems and videos written in the modern foreign language that they study.

The year eight pupils provided entries in French, German and Spanish. The overall winner, Siobhan Waters from Lancaster Girls’ Grammar, won 20 Rosetta Stone language software licences for her school.

“I’ve learnt some new words by writing the poem. It’s an interesting way of practising my language skills and the nature of the competition meant we had a lot of creative freedom.”

Janet Brock, Head of Languages at Brownedge St. Mary's Catholic High School, commented: “The children really got a lot out of the experience. The competition allows them to explore what they have learnt in the classroom and apply it in a fun and creative way; I’m really pleased with the work they have produced.”

Megan Bennett, a 13-year-old pupil from Longridge High School, wrote a poem in French about Valentine’s Day. She said: “I’ve learnt some new words by writing the poem. It’s an interesting way of practising my language skills and the nature of the competition meant we had a lot of creative freedom.”

The event was initiated three years ago by Esther Mercier from Longridge High School with the aim of increasing the popularity of languages among school pupils and encouraging them to use languages creatively.

It is jointly organised by Esther and the Worldwise Learning Centre at UCLan which promotes the study of languages. UCLan students who are native speakers in the respective languages made up the judging panel as well as members of staff from UCLan’s School of Language, Literature and International Studies.

The Dean of the School of Language, Literature and International Studies, Isabel Donnelly, commented: “It was a privilege to be part of this event with this very talented group of young people who clearly enjoy languages. Everyone attending spoke at least three languages at 12 and 13 years of age. They are an elite group among the new generation and for them, and others like them who enjoy languages, there are no geographical boundaries to their employment opportunities.”