Year 7 pupils Alex Bennett and Millie Bate, of The Marist Senior School in Kings Road, have each qualified for the national final of the Routes into Languages Spelling Bee, which specialises in foreign languages.
This will be held tomorrow (Friday) at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
They beat off competition from more than 61,000 pupils from nearly 500 schools across the country, coming through class, school and South East regional heats.
Alex and Millie have been given a list of 200 French words to memorise ahead of the final. Along with the other finalists, they will have to correctly spell as many as they can in one minute in either French, German or Spanish, with Alex and Millie competing in French. Wendy Reed, deputy headteacher at The Marist, said: “I’d like to say congratulations to both Alex and Millie for reaching the finals and to Rebecca Beckh, our head of modern languages, who has been helping them.
“We’re really proud of them and we know they will do great at the national finals.” The annual competition is run and organised by Routes into Languages, a consortium of universities which works together with schools to encourage youngsters to take up languages.
Sarah Schechter, project manager at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “We’re amazed at how the Spelling Bee continues to grow year on year.
“It gives Year 7 pupils the opportunity to really improve their language skills, while also having a lot of fun in the process.
“Studies have shown that being able to speak a foreign language has many other benefits, including improving memory, multitasking and decision-making. Therefore, the skills these youngsters have shown in reaching the final should prove useful in other subjects as well.”
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Routes into Languages programme, added: “The Spelling Bee really catches the imagination of young people. They discover they can work magic with words and get to grips with a foreign language. We all get a buzz from the competition!”
Fellow Year 7 Marist pupils Marize Adley and Libby Kells also competed in the latest, South East regional heat, but did not make the national final.