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  • Durham OnAir

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

Detective project.

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

improved memory.

“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


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