Languages Create Adventures

On 9th March 2023, Notting Hill and Ealing High school welcomed 161 students from 11 GDST schools across the GDST family to celebrate the latest GDST Languages Festival.

The event brought together young people from a range of different year groups across the GDST to celebrate the importance and benefits of learning a wide range of ancient and modern languages. 

Under the banner of  ‘Languages Create Adventures’, students took part in a variety of fun and energetic activities, including writing and performing plays in Mandarin, French, Spanish, Italian and German, solving a multilingual murder mystery, following a languages-based treasure hunt, and participating in spelling bees.  

Trust Consultant Teacher Simon Piesse explained why he was keen to organise the cross-trust celebration.  ‘I wanted to promote languages, give a platform to our girls and celebrate the diversity of language learning at the GDST,’ he said. ‘Learning a language is like building a bridge to different cultures, places, people and ideas.’  

Keynote speaker Paula Beegan, who works in Global Project Management with coalition Together With Refugees, shared her experience of learning languages and the role they have played in influencing her career. ‘My study of languages has helped me in so many ways I didn’t expect – I’ve worked in the multilingual environment of the United Nations, on international film festivals with filmmakers from all over the world, and I have overseen an international team in my Human Rights work,’ Paula told us. ‘For anyone who wants to study languages I would say go for it – it will open up so many opportunities – you will have incredible adventures.’

‘For anyone who wants to study languages I would say go for it – it will open up so many opportunities – you will have incredible adventures.’

Jana Schindler Smith, Head of Languages at Notting Hill & Ealing School, also spoke of how language-learning plays a part in helping young people to be prepared for the future. ‘Today we have shared the message that languages facilitate all sorts of careers globally,’ she explained. ‘Being able to communicate across borders is important for trade, culture, communication and connections, and the GDST Languages Festival has brought us all together to help us appreciate that.’

Most importantly, the students who travelled to Notting Hill & Ealing High School from 8 schools across the GDST family, had a great time. Allegra Carver of Sydenham High School told us: ‘I enjoy being able to apply languages in real life – going to another country and being able pick up different words that I hear in the street and then use them myself is really exciting.’ 

Yasmeen Chishti, a Year 13 student from Notting Hill & Ealing High School, explained that a big part of learning languages for her is ‘being able to connect with people: when you can speak their language it makes you feel so much closer to people across the world.’

Timi Adewale, of Putney High School most enjoyed watching the multilingual plays being performed. ‘It was so exciting hearing the performances in all the different languages,’ she shared. ‘I was able to pick up a few different words here and there  – that makes me happy and excited as it proves I am learning.’


Watch the full GDST Languages Festival film below:


Other cross-Trust GDST events

As a family of 25 schools and academies, the GDST runs a number of cross Trust events and competitions throughout the year. From STEM, including the GDST Space Technology Diploma Day; to sport, such as GDST cricket match at South Hampstead cricket club; to the creative arts, like GDST Sing, where 300 talented junior singers from eight GDST schools came together for a day of rehearsals followed by a performance at Woolwich Works, London.