Haggerston School

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Haggerston School is a co- educational 11-18, community school situated in Hackney, East London. It is home to a thriving Modern Languages Department, which has seen students thrive in French and Spanish in recent years. Indeed, our most recent set of GCSE and A-Level results saw nearly half of students taking one of these languages score A* or A at GCSE, and 100% passing with a grade between A* and B at A Level.

In addition to this, the school is a linguistically rich community, with students speaking many languages in addition to English. This is a source of energy that the school has tapped into, giving students the opportunities to gain qualifications in their home languages, including GCSE and A-Levels in Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish, to name but some. The OWRI project promises to give the opportunity to continue make languages a curricular centerpiece of the school.

We are thrilled to participate in a series of sessions to raise awareness of the potential creative benefits of multilingualism, and to enable the researchers to gain a better understanding of what these benefits entail. The sessions will seek to:

  • Develop an awareness of languages as inter-connected and living entities;
  • Encourage students to think about how meanings shift in translation, regarding this as a creative possibility;
  • Engage with texts or films in which multilingualism is used creatively;
  • Develop responses in writing or performance that creatively explore the students’ experience as speakers of another language or as language learners.

The programme will be co-designed by Dr. Hiddleston and Dr. Lonsdale, together with Mr. Johnson, MFL Teacher at Haggerston School, and in collaboration with Ms. Tranka, Head of MFL. They will involve all four core skills in language learning (reading, writing, listening and speaking), and will involve groups of Year 10 students studying French or Spanish in the mainstream curriculum, with possible involvement of native speaker too.

As well as the benefits for students as seeing languages as inter-connected, the benefits for students will also be seen in the very concrete context of their exams in French and Spanish. Given the literary components of the sessions, they will have a positive impact for students as they face the rigours of the new GCSE specification, with its inclusion of literary texts for comprehension and creative writing.