French speaking celebrities congratulate winners of English schools language competition at the Institut Français

14 Mar 2007

Initiative to encourage a creative approach to learning french culminates at launch of french language week
--French Language Week 10th to 20th March--Rugby's Castaignède joins French Ambassador to congratulate youngsters at Institut Français prize-giving ceremony – winners travel Eurostar to Paris
10-20 March 2007, London To mark the start of French Language Week, the British Council and French Embassy today announced the winners of a national schools competition, partnered by the DfES and Eurostar, designed to celebrate language learning among children.
With research revealing only half of English school pupils take language options at GCSE the Department for Education & Skills (DfES), the French Embassy, the British Council and Eurostar joined together to reward interest for French language. A national competition was launched at Eurostar's Waterloo International in January.
Entrants were challenged to submit a piece of artistic work inspired by ten French words, selected by the Délégation Générale à la Langue Française (French Ministry of Culture), organiser of French Language Week.
Thousands of children from hundreds of schools all over the country have taken part in the initiative. Winners are to be honoured at a special prize-giving ceremony on International French Speaking World Day (20 March), where they will meet French Ambassador Gérard Errera and celebrities including international rugby star Thomas Castaignède and award-winning author Yasmina Traboulsi. The ceremony hosted by Mr Gérard Errera, French Ambassador to the UK, will take place at the Institut Français, 17 Queensberry Place between 13.00 and 15.00, where the winners will be offered a Eurostar travel to Paris as well as many other awards including a special screening of Les Triplettes de Belleville, a movie by Sylvain Chomet.
The winning entrants are:
Key stage 2 – Hannah-Rose Posner and Emilia Diamond from St Margaret's School in Bushey, HertfordshireKey stage 3 – Grace Coles, Ruby Cook, George Archer, Laura West, Sophie Whitfield, Laura Wood and Frances Wright from Caedmon School in Whitby, YorkshireKey stage 4 – Olivia Murphy, Verity Wescott, Rachael Torr and Alice Holoway-Neville from Devonport High School for Girls in Plymouth and Gabriella Price, Amy Elisabeth Glass and Charlotte Moore from Saint Benet Bishop Catholic High School in Bedlington.Key stage 5 – Jay Bhadricha from Cranford Community College in Hounslow
Martin Davidson, Deputy Director General of the British Council said:"We're delighted by the response to the competition, and have seen some truly magnificent pieces of work. It shows that there is still a passion for foreign languages in our schools and that young people see how important command of a foreign language can be."
Mr Gérard Errera, French Ambassador thanked the British Council and Eurostar for contributing to the promotion of the French language in English schools, adding: "The massive participation to this competition is a source of great satisfaction. It shows young English children's eagerness to discover other languages and other cultures. The participants' talents is up to the challenge of exploring the resources of the French language: an international language which increases the possibilities of exchanges, projects and experiences all over the world and is a fundamental asset for young people in today's open society."
Simon Montague, Eurostar Communications Director, further commented: "England and France are linked by geography, history and the Channel tunnel. As a major employer of people with language skills, particularly French and English, Eurostar is delighted to have supported this initiative."
More information on the competition and a full list of runners up is available at:
Editor's notes:
The British Council
The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.We operate in 233 towns and cities in 109 countries and territories worldwide.We build relationships and understanding between people in the UK and other countries and increase appreciation of the UK's ideas and achievements overseas.The areas we focus on are creativity, education and civil society.We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm's length from government.Our income in 2005/06 was £517 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government is £189 million.
French Embassy / Cultural Service
We help building partnership between French and English schools and universitiesWe organise training workshop for the teachers of FrenchWe promote the French language, contemporary music and culture in the UKWe are closely associated with the French Institute which promotes French and European films, hosts a language centre and a library
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