Not All Greek to Them as Youngsters Prepare for Semi-Finals of National Languages Competition

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Children across the country have spent their summer holidays learning Greek, ready for the semi-finals of the EuroTalk Junior Language Challenge, a national competition to find Britain’s best young language learner.

For many of our children the JLC's created a passion for languages which has continued into further education.

The Junior Language Challenge, which is run by educational publisher EuroTalk, invites children under 11 to learn up to three new languages over nine months. For the first round, entrants learnt Spanish or German using EuroTalk’s online software, and over the next two weeks, the top 250 children will be taking part in regional semi-finals across the country, from Bristol to Edinburgh.

Hartburn Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees has taken part in the annual competition since 2007 and will be hosting the 2013 semi-final for the Tyne Tees region later this month. The school will also be represented at the event by eleven of its own pupils.

“The JLC has become very much a tradition within our school, and for many of our children it's created a passion for languages which has continued into further education,” says MFL Subject Leader, Tracey Wildridge. “We're very honoured and excited to be hosting this year’s regional semi-final at Hartburn, and we were thrilled at the news that so many of our children had achieved a place.”

In each region, the children will compete on iPads, against both the clock and each other, for the chance to move on to the grand final and battle it out to be Junior Language Challenge Champion 2013. For this final stage, they will have just a few weeks to learn a third language, which is yet to be announced.

The competition does not only benefit children in the UK. Each child who enters pays £2.50, which is used to purchase educational resources for schools in Malawi, as part of EuroTalk’s goal to bring the best possible education to one billion children worldwide.

“We’ve been hearing worrying reports for some time now about the declining number of students continuing with languages beyond GCSE,” says Richard Howeson, EuroTalk’s chairman and the competition’s founder. “With the JLC, we want to encourage children to love languages so they’ll pursue them at secondary school and beyond. And at the same time the competition helps children in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, where education of any kind is hard to come by - so it’s good news all round.”

EuroTalk is a publisher of educational software based in South West London. Established in 1991, the company is best known for its range of language learning software in over 130 languages, which has been used by more than 20 million people worldwide.

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