Creative school students show off their language skills at Eurofest

The excitement and anticipation was palpable last Thursday morning at Selby College as 80 Year 8 students from Selby High School, Sherburn High School, The Snaith School and Tadcaster Grammar School arrived on the campus juggling their trade-stand props and products.

Loaded up with all their wares, the youngsters certainly came prepared for Eurofest with a sea of colourful cakes, cupcakes, sweets, games, personalised stationery and even musical instruments made from fruit!

The annual languages event returned to top-performing Selby College for its ninth year, providing schools in the local area with a fun opportunity to test their skills and demonstrate creative ideas in a simulated trade fair with the additional challenge of conversing entirely in French, German or Spanish!

After an introduction and welcome by Selby College Chief Executive and Principal Allan Stewart OBE, Judith Chilvers, Chairman of Selby District Council kindly opened the event and cut the flag bunting before heading round the stalls to converse with the students using the role-play prompt cards designed to help visitors and fellow students.

The students from the four schools worked in teams to present their different stalls, using their language skills to sell everything from mobile phones and novelty cards to pastries! Each school also had to enter a tourist information stand in the trade fair which highlighted the variety of tourist experiences to be found in places such as Puerto Pollensa, Valencia and Salzburg.

University of York PGCE Modern Foreign Language students and Curriculum Area Leader for Languages Liz Black, joined college staff and teachers to judge the competing teams according to their ability to communicate in French, German or Spanish.

After taking part in a hectic trade fair to generate the most sales from the customers visiting their stalls, the pupils were split into groups to participate in 15-minute round-robin language workshops including Russian, Italian, Polish, Irish, Dutch and Swahili. They also took part in a European-themed general knowledge quiz, before taking the opportunity to take a tour with Student Ambassadors and Marketing to look around the college’s impressive Abbot’s Road campus and facilities; available to them when they come to college in a few years’ time.

Each of the four schools had overall ‘Best Stands’, which were declared as Selby High School’s Codename: Fiesta, Sherburn High School’s Tourist Information Stand, Snaith School’s Pâtisserie Parfaite and Tadcaster Grammar’s Hanndy Mann. Individual Star Performers were also given a certificate of merit for their efforts, as well as prizes for ‘Wow Factor’ and ‘Best Use of a Modern Foreign Language’.

The budding entrepreneurs and language enthusiasts were given a goody bag and certificate in recognition of their achievement. Thank you to Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Heaven & Home in Selby for their kind contributions, as well as our sponsor Sanako, who are the global leader in developing language learning software and have their UK headquarters in Leeds. Thanks go to Sanako’s Marie O’Sullivan and her colleague for running the Pronunciation Challenge with some of the students and their generous software prize. Thanks also to the students from the University of York and Curriculum Area Leader for Languages Liz Black for helping to run the language workshops.

Selby College Deputy Principal Liz Ridley was on hand to present the awards at a special awards ceremony to close the day and was joined by Liz Black and Marie O’Sullivan to announce the winners of the competition. The Best Overall Tourist Stand went to Tadcaster Grammar School while the Overall Winning School for Eurofest 2017 was declared as Selby High School.

Selby High School MFL teacher Rebecca Harwood said: “We here at Selby High MFL were thrilled that our Year 8 students’ hard work paid off, including giving up many lunchtimes and after-schools in the run-up to the competition. They worked hard to prepare for the event; from printing t-shirts with one of our tech teachers, to designing a language learning website and even fashioning musical instruments out of fruit. Their creativity knew no bounds! This coupled with their passion for language and a can-do attitude secured us the win last Thursday. We are hopeful to retain the trophy with our current Year 7 cohorts in 2018.”

Heather Lister, Language Lecturer at Selby College and Eurofest event organiser, added: “Eurofest is a great opportunity for local schools and the college to work together. The event allows young people to practise their language skills in a fun but educational way while also helping them recognise the value of being able to speak another language.”

Published: Wednesday 28 Jun 2017