In early January Mr Everett took ten Year 9 pupils to a Modern and Medieval Languages Day at Cambridge University. He commented, ‘From my perspective, it was great to see how our pupils interacted with the University language teachers and the Cambridge University students. They were genuinely interested, asking questions and making sure they got the chance to try out their new languages (Arabic and Russian) with the teacher. One pupil got the teacher to record herself speaking Arabic on his phone so he could practise on the bus on the way home! The key aims of the day were: to find out about studying languages at Cambridge; to learn about the importance of languages for careers and study; and to have the chance to tackle a new language from scratch. All three aims were met and a great day was had by everyone.’

Fred was one of the lucky students to go on the trip. He commented, ‘The trip was fantastic, with a short journey down to Cambridge. The college itself was disguised as two ordinary city homes with an additional house built in between as the entrance. When you went in, it opened up into one big space with an auditorium and a courtyard. The college itself dated from the 1400s; one of many colleges making up Cambridge University.’

‘We started off with a conference which explained the importance of learning languages and how it affects your brain. The group then went off to their first lesson of French where we were able to speak fluently, comparing different products and adverts. We then went on to Russian and Arabic. We learnt new scripts and how to write our names. Arabic was slightly more of a challenge not just because of writing backwards but also because letters are written differently at the start, middle and end of a word and not all the vowels are written.’

At lunch we had the opportunity to talk to Cambridge University students studying a range of languages, some from beginner level. Then we all met up with the other schools for a discussion on options for studying languages at Cambridge University. It was a fantastic opportunity to have and definitely made me consider studying languages.’