Woodbridge High School students are top of the class in online language competition

(l-r) Aileen Sartor, Chloe McPherson, Thulashica Carthigeya, head of languages Kathleen Riddell, and

(l-r) Aileen Sartor, Chloe McPherson, Thulashica Carthigeya, head of languages Kathleen Riddell, and Shivani Rattan. - Credit: Archant

Felicitaciones. Complimenti. Congratulations!

Pupils from a Woodford Green high school have excelled themselves in an online worldwide language competition.

The students at Woodbridge High School in St Barnabas Road took part in the Language Perfect World Championships and answered vocabulary questions in everything from French to Maori and Indonesian.

The school fared particularly well in Russian, coming top against 26 other schools in England, with 15-year-old pupil Aileen Sartor finishing individually as the ninth best in the language worldwide.

Over 10 days at the end of last month, 54 students from the school logged on and were quizzed on foreign words and their meanings, answering in French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Latin.

Head of languages Kathleen Riddell said: “The competitive nature seems to appeal to teenagers and because it’s online it’s a bit more fun.

“It would show [the pupils] lots of words on a topic for example. The students would then have to see if they could remember what the words mean.”

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In other parts of the quiz, the pupils matched words in a foreign language to the correct English word, and Woodbridge pupils answered 69,715 questions between them.

Language Perfect was developed as a vocab-learning resource in New Zealand by two brothers, and the first world championships were held in 2011. More than 200,000 students from 12 countries take part.

Year 10 pupil Aileen, who plans to take Russian as one of her GCSE subjects, said: “I’d done it before and I enjoyed it.”

Describing her preparations for the competition, she added: “I went over words we’d done recently and did words I’d done a couple of years ago. I learned lots of vocabulary.”

Fellow competitor Chloe McPherson, 14, said: “I felt I learned quite a lot [doing the competition]. It’s more fun that just doing revision at home.”

Woodbridge was 32nd overall out of 82 English schools.

Despite not sharing our alphabet, Ms Riddell said she finds Russian easier than French and the school has four teachers in the language. She said: “We’re one of the few comprehensives that teach it to all ages.”