Swinton Academy celebrate national languages day with a Great European Bake-Off for cancer charity, Macmillan

Students at a Rotherham school have been practising their linguistic skills – and serving up tasty treats in aid of a national cancer charity.

To mark European Day of Languages, which is celebrated annually by primary and secondary schools in Europe, staff and students at Swinton Academy held several activities to raise the profile of languages across the school.

A baking competition, where students had to make language-themed cakes, buns or biscuits, was held to coincide with Macmillan’s Coffee Morning. Points were awarded to each school ‘house’ for the best cake, buns and biscuits with Principal Rebecca Hibberd the head judge.

Swinton Academny celebrated European Day of Languages

Year 7 pupils were given the opportunity to watch French and Spanish films in Creighton Hall all week during break and lunch time while Year 7 and 8 tutor groups took part in a language bunting competition.

Older students – those in Years 9 to 11 – had the chance to take part in a language quiz to win house points, too.

Assistant vice principal Helen Care said: “Research has shown that children who know two languages – and we teach French and here at Swinton – can gain an academic and social advantage.

“We wanted to prove that learning a language can be fun and everyone who participated enjoyed themselves.

“The Bake-Off was a huge success and for a great cause, too, raising £70.” This is in addition to the funds raised during the Macmillan coffee morning.

Swinton Academy are one of just 10 secondary schools in the UK who recently took part in a government-funded pilot scheme aimed at improving the number of pupils who take a foreign language at GCSE level.

The project, funded by the Department of Education, surveyed students in the year they chose their GCSE options and found that in eight of the 10 schools – which included Swinton – the uptake of a foreign language increased when they had been mentored by an undergraduate from a nearby university. Students from Swinton Academy were mentored by students at Sheffield Hallam University.

Over the past 15 years, entries for language GCSEs in England’s secondary schools has slumped. Languages were made non-compulsory subjects at GCSE in 2004 and Swinton Academy are aiming to buck the trend.

Principal Rebecca Hibberd said: “We are lucky to have an enthusiastic and talented languages department here at Swinton Academy.

“Initiatives such as European Day of Languages are fantastic, fun ways of engaging pupils and proving that learning a foreign language can be extremely rewarding.”


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