As an Academy, we pride ourselves on creating excellent opportunities for our pupils, and on a cold winter’s day in early 2019, some Skinners’ Academy pupils were part of an initiative that they will remember throughout their lives.
Arsenal is (arguably) one of the world’s best football teams and the club is determined to be a great example on the pitch and off it too.
The Academy’s Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) department has formed very strong links with Arsenal Double Club Languages, an innovative, award-winning educational programme that combines football with language learning. As a result, 10 pupils from Year 7 & Year 8 were invited to attend a press conference with Arsenal’s head coach, Unai Emery, where they were given the chance to ask him questions in Spanish.
The day was extremely successful and even more exciting than anyone anticipated. It started with small Spanish activities in which pupils got to work with Danielle Carter (from the women’s Arsenal team). The pupils were in awe. They were completely shocked to be able to attend a Spanish lesson with an international football star.
Our next session consisted of pupils preparing for the big press conference and selecting questions to ask the head coach. The anticipation and wait was nerve racking, as the pupils were in front of the national and international press, but they did themselves proud and their Spanish was perfect. After the press conference, Unai Emery greeted all pupils personally.
The press conference was fantastic as not many pupils have the opportunity to learn Spanish in this way. The event will hopefully be something the pupils will remember for the rest of their lives and will motivate them to carry on the subject in future studies.
“I loved meeting Unai Emery and Danielle Carter, it was the best experience ever and a wonderful opportunity. I was proud to have been chosen to attend the press conference.”
Hadi Al Farmawi, Year 7
“As an Arsenal fan, I was very excited to meet Unai. It was even better that I could speak to him in Spanish and ask him questions. I was happy to have met him and it was an unforgettable experience.” Muadh Thomas, Year 7H1
“I thought it was a great opportunity to attend this press conference, the activities we did with Arsenal Double Club was exciting and it taught me how speaking another language can get you far in life. As well as meeting Unai Emery, we got to meet his translator, who is British but speaks Spanish really well. It was such an incredible experience… I told all my friends and family afterwards.” Sebastian Chamorro, Year 8
Aspects of the day were filmed for BBC’s Match of the Day and you can see the (just shy of 3 minute) clip from the show here – including our pupils in action.