Two years ago, the number of students at Ormiston Enterprise Academy in Ilkeston opting to take a Modern Foreign Language at GCSE was a disheartening 0. Today, thanks to a creative MFL department headed up by Amanda Harper, the academy has seen a staggering 45 students opt for German or French at GCSE – a first in the school’s history!
How did they do it in just two years? “With a lot of hard work!” laughed Amanda Harper, “In all seriousness though, I firmly believe that it’s thanks to giving these students an opportunity to leave the classroom behind and visit the country where their chosen language is spoken everyday. The moment that the students successfully use their newly found language skills in a real life situation is often the moment that they truly understand the importance and relevance of being able to speak another language.”
In 2010, Amanda Harper decided to contact Rayburn Tours to see how they could help her get a small group of students from Ilkeston to Germany for the academy’s very first Language Tour. Working together they created a completely tailor-made itinerary that not only included transport, accommodation and leisure excursions, but unique language tuition both inside a local language school and out amongst the local community.
The main challenge for Amanda was ensuring that every student was given the opportunity to join the trip regardless of their financial situation. With the support of staff, students and parents, the academy set about rigorous fundraising efforts. Local businesses donated and fundraising events prevailed and finally on the 27th June 2011, 35 students, 4 members of staff and a Rayburn Tours Courier excitedly boarded a coach outside the academy for the school’s first ever Language Tour to Germany.
The trip caused quite a sensation throughout the school and as word spread, students were clamouring for a repeat performance. This time it was the turn of the French students, so in July 2012, to Paris they went. Emma Darby, one of Rayburn Tours educational consultants said, “We believe in the value of learning outside the classroom and that’s why we’ve been doing what we do for over 47 years now, but it’s moments like this when you hear about a real triumph for a particular school or academy that you know you’re making a difference to so many children, in so many ways!”
The future for language learning at Ormiston Enterprise Academy looks bright thanks to the opportunities given to the students by a very inspirational Head of Modern Foreign Languages and a dedicated department. 0 to 45 students opting for GCSE French or German in 2012/13 is quite some achievement – who knows what the next two years will bring?
Inspired? Fancy planning a Language Tour for your students? Browse the destinations on the Language Tours area of our website, then when you’re ready, contact one of our dedicated Tour Consultants who can help you on the road to your next language tour.