January 2019 Back to news

Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition

‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ was devised by staff at the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and Routes into Languages North West in 2012. It has since been adopted as a Laureate Education Project and rolled out across the country. In June 2018, Gresham’s pupils from Years 9 and 12 took part with the best two poems from each year group being entered for the competition.

There are two categories:

‘Mother Tongue’ – pupils whose first language is not English, or who speak another language at home, are encouraged to submit a poem or song in their mother tongue. This can be an original or a ‘remembered’ piece. It can be written in any language, except English. Entries are judged on a short paragraph in which pupils explain the piece and its significance to them.

‘Other Tongue’ – pupils learning another language in school are encouraged to get creative with their other tongue and submit an original poem for the competition.

The competition from June this year included an amazing 99 entries from 14 schools in 21 languages. The award ceremony was held in October as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas at Murray Edwards College. Willemijn Groen (Q) was the overall winner of the Mother Tongue competition in Year 12 and the runner-up was Marta Tallinn (O). Gabriel Goonesena (T) and Helena Hunt (E) were runners-up in the Year 12 Other Tongue competition and Kate Webster (E) and Tatty Mealing (Q) were runners-up in the Year 9 competition.

All the shortlisted poets are included in the Anthology of Poems and each poet will receive a copy of the book which is sponsored by the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge.

Well done to the pupils involved on their amazing achievement.