New International Link

Here at Simon Balle All-through School we are passionate about our students becoming compassionate, open-minded citizens who are aware of the world around them. Our new initiative, ‘GROUP’, aims to remind and encourage our students to demonstrate these qualities. Have a look through our photos to see what the letters stand for.

A part of our initiative to increase Global Awareness, we are very excited to announce that we have recently twinned with a school in The Gambia, named Samba Njabeh. The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and our twin school is located in one of its poorest regions. Many of the students there do not own their own pen, pencil or exercise book.

To raise awareness we ran a 50p riddle hunt; students had  to successfully crack the code to reveal the location of the school.  Our next challenge was to raise some much-needed funds. Students and staff donated so that we were able to outline a giant-sized map of Gambia, using only 50 pence pieces. The sense of community spirit was outstanding and we are delighted to announce that we raised £169.57.

One of our Larch Centre colleagues, Miss Riddle, was able to visit The Gambia and Samba Njabeh School during the Easter break. Whilst there she was able deliver some letters that our students had written and to hand over some much needed resources.  Watch this space for further updates!

¡La Cocina Española!

Spanish cooking 5aEl viernes pasado la clase de 7N pasó la clase de español en la cocina! Los estudiantes prepararon una tortilla española, un plato típico de España. Todas las instrucciones eran en español y los estudiantes lograron entender el método sin problemas. Después, pudimos probar la comida y dar nuestras opiniones sobre las tortillas diferentes. 

Además, aprendimos mucho sobre las diferencias entre los hábitos alimentarios en Inglaterra y España.  Como podėis ver en las fotos, nos divertimos mucho. 

Or, for the single-linguists among us:

Spanish cooking 2Last Friday 7N swapped their pens for their pans and spent their Spanish lesson in the kitchen! The students were asked to prepare a typical Spanish omelette (tortilla española), a quintessential part of Spain’s national cuisine and popular tapas dish. And if this wasn’t impressive enough, the equipment, ingredients and cookery instructions were all given in Spanish! 

As you can see from our photos, the tortillas both looked and tasted divine. During the tasting, students were also able to express their opinions on each other’s culinary creations in Spanish.  Jacob was overheard saying “Me gusta la tortilla porque es deliciosa y sabrosa” (I like the omelette because it’s delicious and tasty).  The class also discussed the interesting cultural differences between Spanish and English eating habits. 

Y10 MFL In Cambridge

Please see below a report written by Y10 student Matteo T about a recent MFL trip:

Y10 MFL Cambridge 2016‘On Tuesday 28th June, ten Y10 language GCSE students had the opportunity to visit Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, where we had an interactive day of languages and got a taster into university courses. This included one lesson based on the language we do at GCSE (French, Spanish, German) taught in the target language and two lessons where we learnt languages that we have never come across before (Portuguese,  Chinese/Russian and Arabic). We also got the opportunity to ask questions about university in general. Overall, everyone enjoyed learning languages with teachers of a very high level and going ‘out of our comfort zone’ to acquire new skills and learn new languages that are spoken all over the world. It was an experience which has taught us a lot and at the end of the day everyone left Cambridge with a smile on their face.’

Y10 MFL House Rap Competition

microphone mfl rapY10 French, Spanish and German students have been competing in a house rap competition on the topic of house, home and local area. The standard of students’ work was outstanding as always, so congratulations to all who took part. Please click on these links to hear some examples:

McMatt & Easy-C 5

Congratulations to the following students who have all received house points for winning in their respective language:

French:  1) Adam Tridgell   2) Darcy Brennan   3) Lucie Blackman

(Commended – Lexie Seiler, Olivia Veale, Daniella Banks, and Anya Daar)

Spanish:  1) Matteo Tontodonati  and Cami Alarcon-Mcallister  2)  Alfie Graham  3) Alexandra Heal  & Maddy Moulder

(Commended – Gregory Wraith and Giles Barnfather)

German:   1) Luke Brown 2) Lily Davis  3) Sebastian Toombs 10A

A Real ‘Buzz’ At The Y7 MFL Spelling Bee Final!

Last Friday the MFL department hosted the final round of the Year 7 MFL Spelling Bee competition- and what a buzzing final it was!  The finalists had already claimed victory at the first stage, where they had competed against their fellow classmates. The three highest scorers from each House then reached the final, which saw the challenge move up a gear.

All the participants were asked to learn 100 words from their language of study. Not only did they have to recite them, but also spell them. And if that wasn’t challenging enough for our studious spellers, they could only use the French or Spanish alphabet.  As I’m sure you can agree, this was no easy task, or as the Spanish would say – ‘no era pan comido’.

All the finalists amazed us with their astonishing recall and a whole swarm of students came to cheer on their friends.  All participants were rewarded for their efforts with sought-after House Points.

MFL ParticipantsMFL Winners  MFL Spelling Bee Y7





Well done to the runners up who received 2 House Points each – Casey F (Spanish 7M) and Leon H (French 7B).

We would particularly like to congratulate our overall winners who were awarded 3 House Points:  French Winner: Roberto H (7L)  and Spanish Winner: Abigail B (7N)

MFL Environmental House Campaign

MFL Environment Campaign 2016Congratulations to Amy Tridgell (13A) and Sophie Noxon (13N) who have successfully produced an environmental campaign in French as a house event in MFL, and have therefore won 3 house points each.

This has involved delivering a detailed presentation followed by questions, a poster (see photo), interviews, and even a petition, so ‘félicitations’ to the girls on their hard work and excellent level of French.

Christmas Around The World

One important British value that we promote in MFL is the understanding of other people’s culture. Y7 have been reflecting on this, showing their awareness and understanding of other cultures as they undertook research entitled “Christmas around the world”.  The aim was to discover how Christmas is celebrated in other countries and students were each given a country to research.

Various cultural traditions were explored, including how to say “Merry Christmas”, how Christmas is celebrated in that country, and four names of Christmas foods including a dessert.

While you may think that Christmas has passed, you’ll see from 2 slides towards the end that Christmas is yet to be celebrated in at least 2 countries……please take the time to look through the slideshare below to find out which!


French Quizmasters!

Before Christmas, our Y9 linguists will complete a written assessment on our most recent topic of ‘Personal Identity’. Due to upcoming changes to the style of the Modern Foreign Languages GCSE, the students are now required to possess a much deeper knowledge of the grammatical framework of the language.

To prepare them for this, we have spent a lot of time this term delving into many areas of grammar, particularly the conjugation of various tenses. To test how well they have taken all of this on board, the students were asked to create a quiz to give to the rest of the class. Some chose to hand-write their questions, whilst others made good use of their iPads to create online quizzes on useful apps such as Socrative or Quizlet. Teachers can monitor everybody’s progress on these apps and the students can evaluate their results to see which areas they need to revise.

French quiz  1  French quiz  3  French quiz  2





The Y9 students really enjoyed the competitive element of the quizzes and were able to mark each other’s questions. They particularly enjoyed ‘playing the teacher’ as they were the ones who had created the questions!

Y11 MFL House Poster Success Criteria Competition

Y11 MFL students have been producing ‘success criteria’ posters to help them with their upcoming speaking and writing exams. Congratulations to the following winners who have received three house points each – their posters can also be seen below: (please click on the images to view larger versions)
FrenchSarah Kenway 11M & Jess Miller 11M
GermanLily Jones 11N, Louise Reilly 11R & Molly Robinson 11R
SpanishLouise James 11B & Eve Blyth-Morter 11A
Geman Y11 success criteria Spanish Y11 success criteria  French Y11 success criteria

2015 Ruth Bate MFL Award

Ruth Bate Award 2015The 2015 Ruth Bate Award was recently presented to Y10 students Chloë S and Alex W  in recognition of outstanding performance in the Young MFL Leader programme. The award’s key criteria are personal achievement, commitment, creativity, pro-active participation, enthusiasm, assisting others, initiative and promoting MFL through example.

History of the award – Ruth Bate was a language teacher at Simon Balle School who died in January 1989. In her will she left a sum of money in a trust fund to be used to promote MFL at the school and a permanent award was set up in Ruth’s name. The shield and a list of students who have received the award are permanently displayed in the MFL department.

It is hoped that this award will preserve the memory and some of the qualities of Ruth Bate as well as recognising the achievements of a new generation.