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BBC Look East film A level German Students at Hills Road Sixth Form College

27 Feb 2019
A BBC Look East film crew recently came along to the College to film Hills Road students who are studying A level German, for a programme they are making about the decline in Modern Foreign Languages being taught in schools.

Jo Trump, Principal of Hills Road, and Professor Wendy Bennett, Professor of French Philology and Linguistics at the University of Cambridge were interviewed by BBC Look East reporter Ben Schofield.

Jo Trump said "Nationally, entries from 2010-2017 for both GCSE and A level in French and German have fallen whilst Spanish has risen. Modern Foreign Languages continue to be incredibly important to us as a College and as a nation in these challenging times and we are delighted that the learning of languages continues to be such a strong and thriving part of the Hills Road A level curriculum. The terrible funding for post-16 means that, unlike us, many Sixth Form Colleges nationally and particularly small school sixth forms are not able to sustain viable class groups for each of the three core Modern Foreign Languages at A level, which is so regrettable."

Photo shows Ben Schofield interviewing Jo Trump

Teacher of A level German at Hills Road, Jill Phelps said "Hills Road is the one of only two colleges to teach A level German in Cambridgeshire and four students travel to the College each day from neighbouring counties as there is not a centre near them offering German."

"These students made video diaries of their journeys to and from school and were also filmed in a lesson discussing the film Good Bye, Lenin! The four students were also given a tour of the local BBC studios by reporter Georgie Bevan as a thank you for their efforts."

Watch the students' video diaries here:

The filming coincided with a ‘Careers in Languages’ event organised by the languages team. They invited ten people, who studied languages at university, to come into College to talk to students about how speaking another language or languages has helped them with their careers and life skills.

The speakers included an Italian academic, a Japanese cultural attaché, a legal translator as well as a tour guide, a teacher, scientists and professionals using their languages for business purposes.

A large number of students attended the event and found it extremely inspirational to be able to hear such a range of diverse experiences and careers that had been possible thanks to languages.