Teenagers capitalised on Tim Peake’s six-month voyage to the international space station to run a Languages Day with a difference at Newcastle High School for Girls.

Children from West Denton Primary School joined with Newcastle High School for Girls to spend the day exploring European and other languages in an exciting day themed on the lines of space exploration.

The day was organised by 23 Newcastle High Sixth Form linguists who are hoping to gain a Young Language Leaders (YLL) Award. Their mission was to pass on their love of learning another language to 7 and 8 year olds in just one day.

During the fun-packed day the children travelled in space to different planets (work stations) to play games and solve puzzles in languages including German, Spanish, and French.  The games focused on simple numbers, food, transport, weather, songs and activities.

The young leaders were able test their skills in language teaching as well as demonstrate their leadership, communication, organisation and motivational skills.

Jennie King, the Schools Head of Faculty and Language and Literacy launched the YLL Award at Newcastle High six years ago.  She said: “It has been so successful that I would encourage other schools to offer the award.”

The YLL award is open to anyone who has studied a language to GCSE or A Level and is based on older pupils coaching younger language learners throughout the academic year.

Jennie King added: “It has been truly inspiring to watch our accomplished Sixth Formers take on the role of language teachers.  The energy and passion exuded by our young leaders made sure they were an instant hit with the younger children they were working with.”

Emily Dormer, 17, who is one of Newcastle High’s Young Language Leaders, explained:  “The Primary Languages Day has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and pass on my love of language to younger children. This is so important because in the UK we are undoubtedly behind other countries in terms of encouraging children to learn languages from a young age. Not only is it fun and exciting to learn about other languages and cultures, I know that studying French has helped me gain practical skills that will make me more marketable to employers.”

Susanne Wardle, the teacher coordinating the YLL course and the language learning day added:  “Learning another language is a crucial skill and one that opens all sorts of doors and widens perspectives on life.   I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and hard work that our Young Language Leaders have put into arranging the day and developing creative ideas to engage young people in learning another language. They have provided a stimulating environment for the younger children and have encouraged a real interest in language learning. The children were thoroughly absorbed by the Space Station theme and learned some fabulous new language skills. I was ‘over the moon’ with the results.”

The space day is one of a series of events the Young Language Leaders will stage in their quest to achieve the award, which will be judged on completion of an extensive portfolio covering key leadership skills acquired throughout the course, which is accredited through the Sports Leaders Award Scheme.

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