Language students are receiving support from Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service linking the UK and mainland Europe, during school closures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
French-speaking Eurostar staff, normally employed in fields as diverse as train driving, customer service, marketing, operations and finance, are hosting a range of online sessions for pupils between year groups 8 and 13, aimed at increasing their confidence in French conversation, and maintaining their skills while they study from home away from their regular French teachers.
Eurostar is working with three schools initially, local to its depot in Walthamstow and St Pancras International in London. The scheme provides support for the community, taking advantage of the wide range of language skills within Eurostar to offer a unique resource for language students.
David Dogué, French teacher, Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College, said: “This project with Eurostar has enabled my A-level students to develop their language skills in a rewarding way by joining conversations with native French speakers. The opportunity to speak with someone from outside the school helps boost to their confidence whilst they are dealing with the challenges of having to study from home.”
Mary Walsh, director of communications, Eurostar, added: “This initiative brings together the language skills of our teams, with students who may not have access to French speakers at home. It’s a great opportunity for our colleagues to support the local community and help build the confidence of French students.”