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First Eurofest Leeds languages festival

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Yorkshire and the Humber

Secondary school pupils from across West Yorkshire gathered at our University to attend the first Eurofest Leeds languages festival.

School pupils wow Leeds with their language skills at Eurofest

Around 70 year eight pupils attended the event at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Friday 17 June. The schools represented were: Allerton Grange School, Leeds, Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Leeds, Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford, Westborough High School, Dewsbury, Silcoates School, Wakefield and Oasis Academy, Immingham.

Kathy Murdie, Languages Project Administrator, explained: “Eurofest is an exciting, simulated, international trade fair, developed by Routes into Languages, a programme funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to promote the uptake of languages in secondary and higher education and encourage the active use of modern foreign languages. The pupils are tasked with selling products which they have designed themselves and running tourist information stands. By doing this, they practise their language skills in a realistic, but safe environment, speaking and listening in French, German or Spanish, giving information, answering questions and writing down details.

“Eurofest can not only help to boost pupils’ confidence and increase their motivation for languages, but also encourage them to develop enterprise skills – design, marketing and sales skills. The festival highlights the usefulness of language skills in business today, raising the career aspirations of the young learners and fostering closer relationships between schools, higher education and business.”

Visitors to the trade fair were made up of Leeds Beckett language students and tutors, as well as other members of staff keen to use their language skills; participants from Leeds City Council and Leeds University and keen linguists from the community.

Children presenting a French project at Eurofest Leeds

Kathy added: “We were really impressed by the efforts made by all the pupils and the fair proved to be a very colourful, lively affair. In the afternoon pupils had the chance to do a tour of the campus, learn some Chinese, find out more about the advantages of learning languages and try out their knowledge of Europe in our Eurofest quiz.”

The top three teams of the day will be invited to the regional final at York St John University. The finalists, and their awards, are as follows: Best Use of Language: Allerton Grange School; Best trade stand: Dixon Kings Academy; and Star performers: Westborough High School.

Barbara Shaw, a Teacher at Silcoates School, commented: “Our pupils really enjoyed the day, saying that the hour of trading went by so fast. The trading, along with learning some Chinese, was their favourite part of the day. They also learned how to pronounce words in a very nice way and one said he learnt more in one hour than in his classes! 

“They were very impressed with the enthusiasm of the student ambassadors at Leeds Beckett and just how many languages they had learned. They were never made to feel that they were out of their depth.”

Eurofest was run for the first time in June 2008 at Selby College where it is now an annual event. Eurofest won a European Award for Languages in 2009 and was also awarded the Euro London Appointments Business Prize in 2009.