Durham school pupils try a taster of Spanish cuisine and university life
International investigators from County Durham schools enjoyed a taste of different
cultures at two language-themed celebration events at Durham Town Hall and Durham
Pupils from the Language Detective programme took part in a graduation ceremony and
enjoyed a tasty tapas lunch at Durham Town Hall, as well as activities at Durham
University. They also took the opportunity to learn about new languages and university life.
The celebration event marked the end of a six-week after-school programme, organised in
partnership between Durham County Council and Durham University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures, which taught young people about the transferable skills learnt when studying a language.
Cllr Watts Stelling, Chairman of the council, welcomed secondary school pupils from
Belmont School, Dene Academy, Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College, Greenfield
School, St John's Catholic Comprehensive and Sixth Form, St Wilfrid’s RC School in
South Shields and Teesdale School to the event. Pupils from Durham Johnston
Comprehensive School and Sedgefield Community College also took part in the Language
Cllr Stelling said: “Learning a new language and understanding different cultures can be
very useful for people of all ages, but particularly young people.
“Speakers of multiple languages can not only benefit from enhanced career prospects,
which offer the potential to earn more and travel the world, but also lots of other valuable
skills which can be transferred into all areas of their lives. This includes the ability to work
in a team, enhanced listening and communication skills, problem solving, multi-tasking and
“But most importantly, learning a language and finding out about other cultures can help
people to improve their confidence, make new friends and can be lots of fun. As a county
bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025, we're proud to be involved in events and
programmes such as these, which encourage young people to broaden their horizons and
explore more about wider cultures throughout the world.”
The Learning Detective graduation formed part of the Express Yourself Festival
programme; a month-long celebration of language learning in the north east region, which
runs throughout March.
The festival offers fun language-based opportunities for all ages, including poetry projects,
puppet show story sessions and quizzes, as well as workshops in Tinku Bolivian dance,
Bharatanatyam dance and Dhol drumming.
Newcastle and Durham universities will host taster sessions in a wide range of languages,
including British Sign Language, Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese,
Japanese, Dutch, Greek, Arabic, Italian, Turkish and Catalan.
Interactive online activities will introduce learners to inspiring speakers whose careers
have benefitted from learning languages, as well as native speakers of Hindi, Urdu,
Punjabi, Bengali and Arabic languages.
To find out more about the festival and view a full programme, visit