Friday 14 October 2016 will certainly be a memorable date for Ritisha (5B). She was given a little over three weeks to learn Swahili before facing 29 other finalists at the Junior Language Challenge final at Olympia in London that day.

What an exciting final it was! All children there were keen to lift the trophy and be declared the JLC Champion 2016. The contestants in each group ‘battled’ to be at the top of the score board to get a chance to qualify for the final decisive round.

Ritisha was determined, staying calm and focused through both rounds. Little did she know that a few moments later, she would be our champion with the highest score of 306 points, winning the first prize: a trip to Africa to visit a school that has benefited from the money raised (£5,055!) through the charity OneBillion and uTalk who organised the JLC.

Twenty three Blue Coat pupils took part in the challenge, along with 1000 other pupils under 11, learning Romanian in the first round, Korean in the second and Swahili in the final round. All pupils deserve our warmest congratulations as they have shown great perseverance in this adventure, and all for a good cause.

Next year’s competition will start in March 2017, and I very much hope that I will see many of our pupils sign up and represent The Blue Coat School again. As much as we would all love to win the JLC again, this is not what matters the most: remember to seize opportunities to learn and play at the same time, help contribute to someone’s life and persevere when you think learning a language is too hard. Don’t think you can’t do it: anybody can if they put the effort in. I am sure Ritisha will agree with me: sign up, practise a little bit every day and have fun!