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High school students in challenging language contest


FIVE Warrington high schools took part in a challenging Oxford University access initiative for Year 9 students.
Oxnet MFL’s Language Challenge was hosted at Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School and also taking part were Beamont Collegiate, Bridgewater High, Penketh High and Padgate Academy – all members of TCAT – the Challenge Academy Trust.
The youngsters had to solve a series of increasingly difficult language puzzles, competing in mixed from the five schools which meant they were working alongside pupils they may never have met before.
First task was to decipher the name of a film in Pig Latin, the solution then determined which group the pupils would go into.
Once in their groups, pupils got to work trying to figure out different colours in Basque and Catalan, using their knowledge of French and Spanish to help.  On solving this task, they progressed to trying to understand a Pidgin language called Tok Pisin which proved quite challenging as they had to translate phrases into English using only a few examples.
All groups got through this challenge and made it onto the next activity, which was decoding some Hiragana (a form of Japanese script).  Everyone managed to solve it and attempted to decode an African language called N’Ko which is written using symbols bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the Roman alphabet.  At this point, most teams began buying a clue to help them, and most teams managed to solve this mind-boggling puzzle.
they were then rewarded with a message from zombies!  In this final task, a completely made up language was used and pupils were given a number of phrases in this language, along with their English meanings, that they had to use this to crack the code and decipher a final message from the zombies.  The winning group was Abigail Brunt, Cole Smith, Kiera Nicholas, Grace Daniels and Callum Sherratt.
Rob Glew, head of Languages at Bridgewater High , said that what he most enjoyed about the session was “Seeing pupils working with other pupils from other schools in a really productive way”, describing the activities as thought provoking and engaging.
Jakub Siedlecki from Beamont echoed this by saying that what he most enjoyed was the teamwork, describing the event as “really unusual; it pushed everyone out of their comfort zone”.


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