Pen-pals bring joie 
de vivre to De Aston

editorial image

Key Stage 3 De Aston pupils have been writing to students attending the Collège Olympe de Gouges in Montauban, France.

The link has been going on for five years and many students have had pen-pals. In recent weeks, a number of whole classes have received letters from individual French students.

Wendy Grantham, a teacher at the Collège Olympe de Gouges, who is English but lives in France, co-ordinates the scheme along with staff at De Aston.

De Aston French 
teacher Emma Bibby 
says using pen-pals makes learning a language real for students.

“Many students with a pen-pal have become more motivated to learn French 
as they want to find out 
how to communicate 
with their new friends and enjoy finding out different customs and traditions first hand.

“I know several students are now also communicating via social media, using their language skills outside of the classroom, which is fantastic,” she said.

A new rewards system based on student progress has also just been introduced at De Aston School.

Progress is measured 
each term and the awards come in the form of enamel style badges worn on the school blazer. There are three badges.

The first badge awarded comes with the letters CL, from the Latin phrase 
Cum Laude, meaning ‘with honour’.

The second badge awarded comes with the letters MCL, from the Latin phrase Magna Cum Laude, meaning ‘with great honour’.

The third badge awarded comes with the letters SCL, from the Latin phrase Summa Cum Laude, meaning ‘with the highest honour’.

Each year, students can achieve up to three badges in their year group colour and proudly wear them on their blazer. The following year they can try again to achieve the badges in the colour of the next year group.

The 150-year-old school says the Latin names show it has high aspirations for all its students and that every pupil can make exceptional progress.