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OxNet TCAT event

On 12th February, Year 9 students from the TCAT (The Challenge Academy Trust) high schools participated in an OxNeT MFL Event. OxNet is a University of Oxford access initiative, placing universities in the heart of local communities. The event was called the Language Challenge, and was hosted at Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School. Pupils from the five TCAT high schools came together to solve a series of increasingly difficult language puzzles, competing in groups to be crowned overall winners.  The first task was to decipher the name of a film in Pig Latin, the solution then determined which group the pupils would go into.  Groups were mixed from each school, so pupils were tested to work beside their peers who they may have never met before.  Once in their groups, pupils got to work trying to figure out different colours in Basque and Catalan, using their knowledge of French and Spanish to help.  Upon solving this task, they progressed to trying to understand a Pidgin language called Tok Pisin which proved quite challenging as they had to translate phrases into English using only a few examples.  All groups got through this challenge and made it onto the next activity, which was decoding some Hiragana (a form of Japanese script).  Everyone managed to solve it and attempted to decode an African language called N’Ko which is written using symbols bearing no resemblance whatsoever to our Roman alphabet.  At this point, most teams began buying a clue to help them, and most teams managed to solve this mind-boggling puzzle; they were then rewarded with a message from zombies!  In this final task, a completely made up language was used and pupils were given a number of phrases in this language, along with their English meanings, that they had to use this to crack the code and decipher a final message from the zombies.  The winning group was Abigail Brunt, Cole Smith, Kiera Nicholas, Grace Daniels and Callum Sherratt, who did a fantastic job of working together and persevering with every activity in order to claim victory.  Rob Glew, Head of Languages at Bridgewater High School, said that what he most enjoyed about the session was “Seeing pupils working with other pupils from other schools in a really productive way”, describing the activities as thought provoking and engaging.  Jakub Siedlecki from BCA echoed this by saying that what he most enjoyed was the teamwork, describing the event as “really unusual; it pushed everyone out of their comfort zone”.
Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB