GCHQ’s National Language Competition

GCHQ, one of the UK’s intelligence agencies, is running a National Language Competition in November aimed at pupils in Year 9 in England and Wales, Year 10 in Northern Ireland, and S3 in Scotland. After the success of the first NLC in 2022, GCHQ is running a second iteration of the competition this year, with the aim of promoting language learning in schools and encouraging the uptake of languages at GCSE/N5.

The competition will be a week-long event from 6th-10th November 2023. Schools will be able to sign up to the event beforehand and enter teams of up to four Year 9 (and equivalents) pupils to take part. A school will be able to submit as many teams of four as they wish. Teams will then be able to log in to the platform during that week (at lunchtimes under teacher supervision or in their own time in the evening) to have a go at the puzzles on the platform.

Pupils will tackle a range of language-related puzzles, ranging from easy to difficult, including European languages and others from around the world, and even made-up languages. Over a period of five days, they will capture flags to earn points on their language journey which will total up at the end of the week and affect their ranking on a national leaderboard. The team with the most points at the end of the week wins!

All pupils will be able to take part, no prior knowledge is required, only a keenness for languages. The winning team with the most points at the end of the competition will be invited to GCHQ’s Headquarters in Cheltenham and will be presented with their trophy!

To take part, schools can email nlc@gchq.gov.uk. We will add you to our mailing list and bring you more news of the competition over the coming months, including information on how to sign up in September!

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