French-speaking sixth formers from Solihull School have proven their debating and language skills after taking part in a Europe-wide event.
A total of 13 A level students, all of whom are studying French, spent a week in the Flemish area of Alden Biesen, Belgium, with students from Spain and Belgium, as part of the European Classes event, which is run four times a year.
As well as learning about language and culture, visiting Maastricht, Aachen and Brussels and taking part in sports events, they also had to present a 30-minute lecture in French on an aspect of European law they would like to see changed.
They proposed that a French law, which allows unmarried couples to register as cohabiting in order to receive legal protection should they separate or one partner die and to protect children either born within the relationship or adopted, should be extended across the EU.
Libby Campbell, who teaches French and Spanish and organised the trip, said: “Our students had to prepare weeks in advance to create their presentation in French, and then have the confidence to get up on stage and deliver it to a room full of relative strangers.
“In the discussion groups, they were out of their comfort zone and many had to overcome their misgivings and simply have a go, not worrying about making mistakes, in order to have their opinion heard.
“They soon realised that everyone was in the same boat, French not being anyone’s mother tongue, and coped extremely well. I was very proud of them.”
Philip Griffiths, headmaster at the independent school on Warwick Road, said: “They set themselves a significant challenge and rose to it magnificently.”