Media Release: Très Bien! Aberdeen language pupil scoops top prize in national competition

L-R_Samantha Hopkins_Professor Bennett_Robert Kemp_Maxine Walker_

ABERDEEN pupil, Samantha Hopkins, has been awarded the top prize in a national speaking competition for pupils studying for Advanced Higher French.

Three pupils from Robert Gordon’s College entered the competition organised by the Association des Membres de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques – Écosse (AMOPA-Écosse) for which they submitted their presentations in French to the Association’s native speaking jury.

Samantha (18) won first prize and received a French dictionary to assist in her studies. Fellow pupils Robert Kemp and Maxine Walker (both also 18 years-old and also from Aberdeen) were each presented with certificates of merit.

Professor Bennett, Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Edinburgh who represented AMOPA-Écosse commented: “The competition has grown over the last 12 months and, this year, 11 schools throughout Scotland participated in its second year of operation, entering 35 candidates.

“The standard remains very high and the evidence of the high quality of teaching and learning at Robert Gordon’s College is clearly visible.”

Mr Tom Cumming, head of Modern Languages at Robert Gordon’s College, added: “We are very proud indeed of the achievement of our pupils.

“They have really enjoyed the experience of working on and perfecting their submissions. This is an excellent opportunity to support classroom learning in a different environment.”

The Association des Membres de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (AMOPA) in Scotland inaugurated last year a competition for students of Advanced Higher French.

The competition articulates with the typical study and examination programme for the students and aims to support them in their preparation for their final Speaking test.


Notes for editors:

  • Entries for the AMOPA Speaking competition are based either on the candidate’s Unit Assessment or on their preparation for that assessment. Entries are submitted in the form of an audio tape or digital video recording of part of the assessment or a preparation session. The entry had to be less than two minutes long and had to consist of either
    • A formal presentation on a suitable topic, or
    • A discussion with their teacher in which the teacher input consists only of very short prompts, questions or responses.
  • The deadline for entries was February 15th 2013.
  • The Ordre des Palmes Académiques was established by Napoleon in 1806. The Order recognises achievement in the cultural and educational sectors. It is occasionally given to non‐French nationals.
  • Under the auspices of Philip Bennett, Professor of Medieval French in Edinburgh University, a Scottish section has been established. It intends to continue the work for which members have been awarded their honour – support for the development of French language and culture AMOPA‐Écosse.
  • The department of Modern Languages at Robert Gordon’s College offers courses in French, German, Spanish and Italian. Enhancement courses in Mandarin, Japanese, and Russian for beginners are available to pupils in S6.
  • All pupils study French in S1 and S2. In S3, pupils may continue with French and/or commence German or Spanish. In S4, pupils studying languages are presented for Intermediate 2 and for Higher in S5. Pupils who have dropped their language at the end of S4 may return to it to sit Higher in S6. Advanced Higher courses are delivered in all languages in S6. In S6, ‘crash’ courses leading to Higher are offered in Italian and Spanish; these are particularly suited to those pupils who have a proven track record in language learning and who wish to extend their range.

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Contact: Shelley Lee
Phone: 01224646346