In the name of establishing links with other institutions in the North West and to exchange knowledge about the study of languages and cultures, Cultures, Languages and Area Studies at Liverpool has recently been involved with a number of outreach activities with local schools.

In Week 8 of Semester 2, we welcomed a group of pupils from Birkenhead Sixth Form College to the French department for an intensive day of French language learning and cultural study. As well as taster sessions in language and grammar and a Café Français session, the pupils were given the opportunity to explore the university campus, with tours of both the Sydney Jones Library and the Guild, giving them a real taste of university life as they begin to make important decisions about their futures.

A week earlier, we had some visitors who were much further off making decisions about university – a group of Year 8 pupils from Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy. They came along for a Spanish language afternoon led by native speaker Elma Barreiro Abad, all taught in the target language to really push the pupils’ learning skills and knowledge. The class came along as part of a larger Spanish Day organised by their school which included a tasty visit to La Tasca for tapas! We had a lovely note of thanks from the teachers, who were eager to show the pupils the benefits of language learning. Following this successful pilot, we hope to run similar sessions with multiple schools in the future.

Dr Chris Harris was also invited along to a Careers Fair at Neston High School in March, again pushing the message that the study of languages and cultures offers a gateway to many different employment opportunities and life experiences and helping us to demonstrate what we do in CLAS to the wider community.

Many thanks to all the staff and students along who helped to organise, coordinate and run these events, making 2012-13 such a successful year for outreach. Going forward, we have plans for some exciting events, including involvement in the HLC Summer Academy this July.

We’d love to hear from anyone who has any ideas, questions or requests with regard to schools and outreach. Please contact l.e.b.key@liv.ac.uk.

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