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Winners chosen in UCL-run school language competition

20 July 2012

The winning entries in an Olympics-themed competition for school-aged language learners have been announced by the UCL team responsible for the project.

Postcard designed by Aleksandra Groborz from Woodbridge High School

Image: Polish postcard designed by Woodbridge High School's Aleksandra Groborz

Cardinal Wiseman School, The Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College, Copland Community School, Kingsford Community School, Newstead Wood School, Seven Kings High School, Trinity Catholic School, Woodford County High School for Girls and Woodbridge High School, all London-based state secondary schools, were the winners of a competition based in ATLAS, a website set up by UCL and funded by Routes into Languages, London.

ATLAS, which stands for A Taste of Languages at School, was established in 2004 in order to increase schools' awareness of the opportunities to study a range of languages that are less widely taught at university than others. The project involved the creation of 'taster' webpages which offer teenagers the chance to see what studying a language at university level might be like. At the start of the project the languages offered by ATLAS comprised Czech, Danish, Polish, Portuguese and Russian, but 16 languages are now showcased on the site.

The recent Olympics competition, named 'Welcome to London', required entrants to create either a class wall display, a small set of photos of local sites complete with commentary, or a postcard to a visitor to the Olympic Games, all in a language the pupils were studying. The winning entries can be viewed on the ATLAS website.

Project Officer Terry King said: "The standard of competition entries was excellent, and they included an amazing range of languages, from Albanian to Tamil."

When asked why he thought it important for school students to learn foreign languages, Terry said, "After Medicine and Education, a language degree is the best degree for getting a job. British business is in desperate need of linguists for overseas communication. Studying a new language also serves as a means of understanding the world and widening a student's horizons - and it's fun."

ATLAS was originally funded by the CfBT Education Trust with support from the Nuffield Foundation. Once UCL and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which was also involved in the setting up of ATLAS, had formed the Centre for Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of Languages of the Wider World, additional funding enabled the team to increase the number of languages on offer from five to 16. Terry is in the process of trying to obtain funding to enable the project to continue next year.

To learn more, visit

Page last modified on 20 jul 12 10:07

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