The Language Assistants programme started in 1905 with an agreement signed by the governments of Prussia, France and England & Wales.
In the first year 58 English teachers were appointed to France, ‘five Englishmen’ to Gymnasien in Prussia, and 14 French teachers to British schools. In 2005-06 the four countries of the UK are host to 2,700 young people from 21 countries throughout the world, from Austria to Venezuela, who support the teaching of their own language in our schools. In exchange we have sent over 2,000 UK undergraduates and graduates to those same countries where they improve their foreign language skills and assist with the teaching of English.
Download a copy of our centenary brochure.
Schools with Foreign language assistants were invited to submit entries highlighting the presence of the assistant in their school, and the contribution which they made to language learning. Pupils worked with their assistants to produce the entries.
The competition winners in England were invited to the centenary celebration at HSBC headquarters in the Docklands, London. We were extremely grateful to HSBC for hosting the event as well as the contribution from the speakers on the day:-
Sir Trevor MacDonald OBE
Mary Stiasny, Director, Education and Training Group, British Council
Stephen Green, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings plc
Lid King, National Direcotr for Languages, DfES
HE Herr Thomas Matussek, German Embassy in London
Olivier Chambard, Cultural Counsellor, French Embassy in London
Stephen Hull, ex assistant in Chile
Rachel Lishman, ex assistant in Spain
Michael Seabrook, ex assistant in Germany
Isabel Times, ex assistant in China
Gareth Topp, current assistant in Austria
The Thomas Coram Middle School, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Assistant - Christel Grandemange, France
The Sir John Colfox School, Bridport, Dorset, Assistant - Kerstin James, Germany
The Winston Churchill School, Woking, Surrey, Assistant - Véronique Milin, France
Birkdale School, Sheffield, Assistant - Abigail Lopez Ibarz, Spain
Wootton Upper School, Bedford, Assistant - Marie Bresson, France
: Downe House School, Thatcham, Berkshire, Assistant - Maria Pilar Iglesias Asensio, Spain
Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School, Upminster, Essex, Assistant - Alessandra Follesa, Italy
St Philomena’s High School, Carshalton, Surrey, Assistant - Mélanie Lorenzo, France
The Grey Coat Hospital School, London, Assistant - Chalin Chiara Malz, Germany
The prize-giving was followed by the cutting of the centenary cake.
Read the Guardian report from Monday 5 December.