The Foreign Language Spelling Bee is a competition for students in Year 7 to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language (French, German, or Spanish). They have to translate the words from English and spell them in the target language.

The competition has 4 stages:

  • Class competition (Autumn Term)
  • School Competition (first half of Spring Term)
  • Regional Final (usually end of Spring Term)
  • National Final (end of Summer Term)
and the entrants must learn 50 words per stage in their chosen language, totalling  200 words, if they reach the national final.

The Foreign Language Spelling Bee was created by Jane Driver and has been developed in partnership with Rachel Hawkes of Comberton Academy Trust, and Routes into Languages East. Jane says, "Teachers are so busy nowadays – the Spelling Bee seems to have struck a chord with them as it fits easily into the curriculum without putting extra strain on their workload". It was set up in 2009 as a regional competition for the East Anglian region, and in 2010 it became a national competition across England, and Wales also has its own version of the competition (see http://routesintolanguages.ac.uk/cymru/resources).

The original website was created and programmed by Jason Mashinchi, a year 11 student at Comberton Village College, who came up with the website idea, and built it when he was in Year 9, ready for the beginning of September 2011. He also developed the iOS and Windows Phone apps for the competition,and they are in the Apple App Store, and the Windows Phone Store, freely available to download. We are delighted to announce that Vocab Express have taken over the website (as Jason has now moved on to sixth form study), which heralds a brand new era for the Spelling Bee, with great opportunities to enhance the pupil experience and make language learning even more fun. We are very proud to now be sponsored by both Vocab Express and the European Commission and are very grateful for their support.

Teachers should familiarise themselves with the Teacher’s Pack, which contains the most up-to-date word lists and all the information they need in order to run the Spelling Bee in their schools.

The Spelling Bee Team,
Jane Driver, Queen Katharine Academy
Rachel Hawkes, Comberton Village College
Sarah Schechter, Routes into Languages East