Pupils get le buzz out of spelling contest

From left, Elliot Tolman, Josh Williams, Grace Tomlin and Ethan Monaghan got to the North East round of the French Spelling Bee contest.
From left, Elliot Tolman, Josh Williams, Grace Tomlin and Ethan Monaghan got to the North East round of the French Spelling Bee contest.

A quartet of children took part in the regional stage of a national competition after achieving spelling par excellence in their year group.

Ethan Monaghan, Elliot Tolman, Grace Tomlin and Josh Williams got the best scores in the Chantry Middle School and Technology College heat of the French Spelling Bee for Year 7 pupils.

They represented the school at the North East round of the contest, run by the Routes into Languages programme. It took place at Newcastle University.

Participants had to spell as many words as they could in one minute, using the French alphabet and saying when a letter has an accent. Grace and Ethan were involved in one of the tie-breakers to try to earn a place in one of the day’s semi-finals, but they narrowly missed out.

“There were quite a lot of students at the North East round, so to help concentrate when I was spelling, I focused on the bench in front of me,” said Grace.

“It was very close and if I had scored one more point, I would have gone through to the next tie-break.”

Ethan said: “I was a bit more nervous at Newcastle University, but overall I enjoyed the contest. It was a good experience.”

They had 100 words to learn during the Chantry heat and another 50 were added for the regional stage –including clothing items and school subjects.

Elliot said: “It was important to spell as quickly as possible as you only got a minute, but you also needed to speak clearly.”

“After saying each word aloud three times, I focused on the ones I struggled with,” added Josh.