French fever takes hold

Ponteland High School French election candidates Kevin Wilson and Madeleine Lecouturier.
Ponteland High School French election candidates Kevin Wilson and Madeleine Lecouturier.

ELECTION fever has taken hold at a Ponteland school – to vote for the President of France.

Students at Ponteland High School took on the leading roles of the election candidates as they followed the closely-run race, which saw François Hollande defeat Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday.

The exercise was designed to improve pupils’ understanding of life in France and boost their language skills.

Post-16 students were involved as the candidates, explaining their policies in both French and English to fellow pupils, producing campaign videos, handing out flyers and holding debates on some of the key issues in the fiercely fought campaign.

Voting ID cards were then handed out so that youngsters could choose their preferred candidate in a ballot, but there was no clear winner.

In the first round of voting, Ponteland’s own François Bayrou, played by Kevin Wilson, took 39 per cent of the vote, defeating Nicolas Sarkozy, played by Madeleine Lecouturier, who polled 17 per cent.

Associate Headteacher Anita Brown said: “Ponteland High is a specialist language college and this is just one of the innovative and exciting ways in which our languages team seeks to develop an international outlook among our students.

“The mock election is also designed to encourage students to read and watch the news and understand its relevance to them, as well as to inform youngsters about the importance of voting.”

Head of French Julie Hall added: “The French election project has turned out to be a real attention-grabber among students and staff and shows how education can be fun, as well as informative.”