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Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition

We are proud and very excited to run Mother Tongue Other Tongue, a multilingual poetry competition that celebrates cultural diversity and the many languages currently spoken in schools across the UK.

The aim of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is to celebrate languages, culture and language-learning, giving secondary school students the opportunity to practise and improve their foreign language skills (any language they are learning in school) and/or appreciate and celebrate their heritage, using poetry. The regional competition is being led by Routes into Languages West Midlands at The University of Warwick

The idea was originally developed by the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and Routes into Languages North West and due to its success, was rolled out across the country.

The competition:

Mother Tongue entries will be in two parts: The first part is the poem. This can be an original piece written by the student, a creative piece, or a poem or song that is ‘remembered’ – i.e. something in your first language that you recall, or that has been told to you by a relative. This can be in any language but English. The second part should be a short explanation of the inspiration behind the piece, where it comes from, or why it is important to the person submitting it and must include a translation if it is an original piece written by the student (no more than half a page). This part must be written in English and is the part your entry will be judged on.

Other Tongue entries must be an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it. Entries are welcomed in French, Spanish, German, Italian or Mandarin.

The competition is open to all students in KS2, KS3, KS4 & KS5

There will be one Winner from each category in each of the four key stages. Each of those winners will receive a Winner Certificate and a Love to shop voucher

Examples of work previously submittedLink opens in a new window

Last year's winnersLink opens in a new window in our Warwick competition

There is additional information and resources to support and inspire pupils on the Manchester Met websiteLink opens in a new window

How to enter

  • Please submit entries by uploading a zip file for each Key Stage with PDF documents to the submissions tab below completing required details
  • Entries must be sent from the teacher (entries sent from pupils will not be accepted)
  • Ensure that each PDF file includes the student's full name and year group.

Submit your entry to the competition

The deadline for entries to be received by us is Thursday 6 June 2024. Please note that we cannot extend this deadline for individual schools so any entries received after that date will not be counted. N.B. In the event of insufficient entries of good quality for a Key Stage, no prize will be awarded; the Judges’ decision is final.

Any questions, please email