Ashlands School pupils give Ilkla Moor Baht At a French twist for Grand Depart

Pupils from Ashlands School in Ilkley wear the yellow, green, white and polka dot jerseys to celebrate the Tour de France coming. From left are Martha Pearson, Kieran Blenkhorn, Nat Howarth and Louise Hale

Pupils from Ashlands School in Ilkley wear the yellow, green, white and polka dot jerseys to celebrate the Tour de France coming. From left are Martha Pearson, Kieran Blenkhorn, Nat Howarth and Louise Hale

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by

With less than 100 days to go until Le Grand Départ the countdown is well under way and pupils from primary schools en route got together for a day of French language and fun.

Stage One of Le Tour de France will leave the centre of Leeds on July 5 and head through Ilkley before a circuit of North Yorkshire brings it to the finish line in Harrogate.

The peloton will pass The Grammar School at Leeds on Harrogate Road, then Ashlands and All Saints C of E primary schools in Ilkley, with Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Ben Rhydding Primary School and Westville House School all close to the action.

Year 5 pupils from all six schools met at GSAL, wearing the colours of the French tricolour, to immerse themselves in French culture for the day. They kicked off with some singing by learning some original French lyrics to the familiar tune of On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At.

Penned by GSAL Junior School’s French teacher, Vicky Cooke, the lyrics to Le Tour de France Arrive explain the significance of the different coloured jerseys worn by the cyclists, starting with “Qui va porter le maillot jaune?” (who will wear the yellow jersey?).

The day continued with French playground games and craft activities, led by GSAL’s French language assistants and senior school French teachers, and concluded with a performance in French by the Flying Theatre Company.

Vicky Cooke said: “The day brings together two of my favourite things – Yorkshire and French! Le Tour de France will bring the world to Yorkshire, giving children the perfect opportunity to interact with other languages and cultures, and our French day gives them a head start.”

Helen Miller, French teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, said: “The huge value of the day for the children is the exposure to native French speakers thanks to the input of the language assistants from GSAL.

“The pupils are having lots of fun without realising how much they are learning!”

Archie Alton, from Westville House School, said: “The song was a fun way to learn new words.”

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