During the Easter holidays Oundle School hosted the Oxford International British English Olympics (BEO), involving more than 560 students and staff from South America. The BEO sees teams of 12-16-year-olds from international schools from around the world travelling to the UK to put their English to the test. They compete against one another in a series of academic challenges, as well as learning about British culture and history as they explore some of the sights. During the competition students were required to perform in front of a panel of judges as they participated in debates, presentations, drama and musical performances, all of which related to a contemporary global theme.
The students and staff participating in the first Oundle BEO represented 38 schools from eight countries, including Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Peru and Columbia. Each school sent a team of between 10 and 20 students with accompanying teachers. In total 120 schools from around the world and more than 1,500 students took part in the 2015 British English Olympics.
Enterprises and events manager at Oundle, Susie Raby said: “Our size, reputation and historic market town location were all key to securing this new contract. The prestigious BEO programme was an excellent academic fit and allowed us the opportunity both to showcase our outstanding facilities and to bring extra business to the town. Feedback from both our overseas visitors and members of the town itself have been overwhelmingly complimentary and we very much look forward to welcoming the group back again next year.”
Owner of Beans Coffee Stop, Phil Gilbert had a message for the visiting students: “All of us here would like to thank everyone from BEO for coming along to Beans during your stay here in Oundle – you’ve all made it such a fun place during these last two weeks! We hope you’ve had a great time in our lovely town, we hope you’ve learnt lots, and we hope you have a safe and pleasant journey back to your homes.”
Matthew Hird, programme director for the BEO, said: “Oxford International developed the BEO programme to provide a forum for international teenagers to explore and debate important contemporary political and social issues. This year the theme was ‘youth parliament’ and they were looking to find new ways to resolve crises around the globe. Every year we are always amazed by the quality of the student’s presentations and the depth of understanding they develop whilst researching these topics in their second language. This year we saw some fantastic presentations and we are happy to see the BEO go from strength to strength.”