On Monday, 12 June, the German Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon welcomed John le Carré to his Residence for the annual ‘Sommerfest der deutschen Sprache’, where Head of German at Oundle School, Emily Wagstaffe received one of three awards presented to outstanding teachers of German in the UK at the 14th German Teacher Awards.
The annual German Teacher Award and the ‘Sommerfest’ pay tribute to the work of German teachers across the UK and give guests the opportunity to network. Over 220 teachers and representatives from the education and language teaching sectors, business and media from all over the UK joined this year’s celebrations and followed the announcement of the 2017 winners.
Addressing the teachers in his welcome speech, Ambassador Ammon said that ‘never before has your mission to teach languages as a gateway to another culture encouraging friendship, trust and understanding across borders been more important than today.’ He welcomed renowned writer John le Carré as the keynote speaker for the event, who proved himself a staunch supporter of language learning as the key to understanding other cultures.
Keynote speaker David Cornwell, better known by his pen-name John le Carré, thrilled the audience with a speech as exciting as his bestselling novels taking the audience on a journey through his relationship with Germany and the German language starting with his first – and exceptionally dedicated – German teacher who made him ‘fall in love with the German language at first sound.’
Head of Oundle School, Sarah Kerr-Dineen commented, “I am so proud that Emily’s talent and dedication has been recognised in this way and, by extension, the tremendous strength of Modern Languages at Oundle.”
After their speeches, Ambassador Ammon and David Cornwell presented the 14th annual German Teacher Awards which recognise outstanding achievements by teachers of German in primary and secondary schools in the UK. The recipients received a personal prize of £750 and a certificate to honour their commitment to modern language teaching.
For the first time this year, two of the prizes were specially donated by the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom and the Austrian Cultural Forum London. The Goethe-Institut’s Peter Boaks Prize, which recognises outstanding young(er) teachers of German, was also presented.
The German Teacher Award is jointly organised by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London, the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom, the Goethe-Institut London, the Austrian Cultural Forum London, UK German Connection, the Deutsche Schule London, the Departments for Education in England and Wales, the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT) and the Association for Language Learning