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Taking part in the GCHQ National Language Competition

The GCHQ, one of the UK's intelligence agencies, ran a national online language competition for Year 9's across the country in November.


There was fierce competition throughout the week with over 3000 teams from more than 600 schools across the country putting their language skills to the test. Some of the students who took part tell us more! 

"The challenge was to break as many language-themed puzzles as your team could in a week; you had to accumulate the most points as a team to win. When we got the offer to take part in the competition it was an immediate yes. We were intrigued by the prospect of solving and hopefully completing all the puzzles. The GCHQ said that it was impossible to complete all the challenges but we wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and hopefully do our best. The experience opened our eyes to the vast variety of languages and by the end of the week we were able to translate Arabic, understand Chinese and communicate in German. Additionally, we learnt to think outside the box and our logical thinking has majorly improved since. At the end of the day, we are all thankful for the experience. It’s brought us closer together as a group and given us the opportunity to understand and appreciate many cultures across the world."

By Anya Parmar, Emisha Chindam, Erin Winder and Ana Venkatramanan

"Our experience of the GCHQ Languages Competition enriched our knowledge of languages immensely as well as being extremely enjoyable to participate in. It was also very educational and interesting in terms of learning about other cultures through the language that they speak. We would all highly recommend this to any other people who are interested in language and would do this again for sure if given the opportunity."

By Deena Sakr, Emily Shields, Ruby Carter and Yoki Shao

"The challenge was really fun and also different to ones I have done before which was really interesting to see. I really enjoyed decoding some of the activities and working together with my team: it was a unique experience."

By Amritha Nair

A huge well done to all those Year 9 students who took part for their fantastic effort and team work (they were allocated their team names by the GCHQ):

Team: Super Determined Warthog – in 50th place!
Anya Parmar, Emisha Chindam, Erin Winder, Ana Vekatramanan

Team: Zany Cheerful Puffin – in the top 180!
Deena Sakr, Emily Shields, Ruby Carter and Yoki Shao

Team: Proud Busy Stingray – in the top 500!
Amritha Nair, Jugani Malaravan, Ayesha Sharif

Team: Sensible Fabulous Iguana – in the top 1000!
Megan Juckes-Paton, Ana Neculai, Anwita Mahesh

We are very proud of all of you.
Ms Vann, Curriculum Leader – Modern Foreign Languages