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First ever online Eisteddfod for young Jèrriais learners "huge success"

First ever online Eisteddfod for young Jèrriais learners

Sunday 23 January 2022

First ever online Eisteddfod for young Jèrriais learners "huge success"

Sunday 23 January 2022


160 children and young people have participated in the Jèrriais Section of the Jersey Eisteddfod this week - the first time it has been held online.

The young islanders read their poems in Jersey’s native language live over video-conferencing software to the adjudicator, Winston Le-Brun, and his adjoint, Ken Vibert.

After disruptions last year due to covid, which forced the competition to take place online with pre-recorded entries, the Jèrriais Eisteddfod Committee was looking forward to holding a 'normal' competition at St Ouen’s Parish Hall this weekend.

But with so many cases of the virus still in schools and the community, it became clear that an alternative plan would be prudent, so the Jèrriais Teaching Service liaised with 11 primary and secondary schools to move the competition to a live online event this year.

Jerriaise Plat Douet.jpg

Pictured: Children from Plat Douet Primary School take part in the Eisteddfod. Years 4-6 have weekly Jèrriais lessons with the Jèrriais Teaching Service.

Marianne Sargent, the event’s main organiser and one of the Jèrriais teaching team, said: “All the students had invested many hours of preparation, so we were delighted that the competition was able to go ahead.

"We’ve become accustomed to circumstances changing at short notice over the past couple of years. Last year, we made the move to a virtual competition with pre-recorded entries, but we topped that with a live online event this year so that the participants could have a more realistic competition experience.”

Ben Spink, Head of the Jèrriais Teaching Service, added: "The Jèrriais Eisteddfod is a wonderful celebration of our native language which provides an opportunity for learners to challenge themselves by performing their newly acquired language skills in front of the judges, who are native Jèrriais speakers.

Jerriaise Winston Le Brun Ken Vibert .jpg

Pictured: Judges Winston Le Brun (foreground) and former St. Ouen Constable Ken Vibert assess the entries via video-link.

“We are so grateful to the students, parents, teachers and IT technicians at all the schools for their support and their willingness to give this a go.”

Competition judge Winston Le Brun said: “It was a truly excellent Eisteddfod and an absolute privilege to be involved. As far as the adjudicator and adjoint were concerned, we actually found it easier to judge online than we usually do in person.

"The quality of the Jèrriais was excellent and we were particularly impressed with the older young people in using their Jèrriais.”

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