The Junior Language Challenge is an exciting national competition for children aged 10 and under across the UK. It’s loads of fun, will keep the kids quiet for hours, there are some great prizes to be won (including a family holiday to Africa!)… and it only costs £5 to enter – all of which goes to charity.

Tell me more! I hear you cry…

The JLC is a three-stage competition, with children learning a new language (via an app – no teaching required!) for each round. The goal is to get kids excited about languages, and not just the standard ones they might be learning at school. So this year they’re starting with Romanian, and last year the 33 children who made the final had learnt Portuguese, Mandarin and Arabic. And if they can learn those languages, they can learn pretty much anything.

junior language course winner 2015

Junior language course winner 2015 Tudor Mendel-Idowu

Teachers who’ve taken part before say the JLC teaches their pupils a lot more than just languages; they also develop nerves of steel, a brilliant memory and the ability to learn independently, without any need to bug teachers or parents, which can only be a good thing.

Former JLC competitors have included Outnumbered star Tyger Drew-Honey and Child Genius runner-up Tudor Mendel-Idowu (who won the JLC last year, on his third attempt).

And it’s all for a great cause! onebillion is a charity that develops apps to teach basic maths and literacy to children in developing countries, where knowing how to count and read can literally save lives. Last year the JLC raised £5,500, which went towards testing a solar-powered projector for teachers in Malawi, where classes often have hundreds of pupils.

Now for the bad news.

In the fourteen years the JLC’s been running, there’s never been a winner from Kent, and I think it’s about time that changed. So as a Dartford resident, I’m issuing a challenge to local primary schools to lead the way. Let’s show the rest of Kent – and the UK – how it’s done!

Registration is easy: just pop over to, where you can sign up either a school group or an individual child. They need to be 10 or under on 1st September 2016 to enter, and round 1 will finish on June 24th, so don’t delay!

You can also watch a video from last year’s final (below) or email for more details.