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87 points for Sark School

87 points for Sark School

Sunday 19 March 2023

87 points for Sark School

Sunday 19 March 2023

The children of Sark School have learnt a poem in Sercquais to help preserve the island's native language for future generations.

Performing at the Guernsey Eisteddfod on Friday, the group of seven to nine year olds scored 87 points, meaning they also took home the trophy in their category.

To secure the trophy entrants must score over 80 points. 

sark school Pictured: Sark school scored 87 points to win the trophy at the Guernsey Eisteddfod.

The group received positive comments from adjudicator Pierre Tosetevin, a native Guernsey French speaker who said it was "lovely to hear" the Sark song presented.

He said the children were "singing very well together, almost as one in unison with no one going off alone." He added that it was "very well done, you did very well" addressing the children directly.

He said he hopes they all continue with learning their own island language.

"It was very good. I love to hear this. I often say to my own grandchildren you should learn Guernsey French. One likes to have something of our own. You've got something different to so many others...always remember this French of yours."

Mr Tostevin encouraged the children to continue learning their language by pointing out the big anniversary looming in 2066. 

He said they will be part of a link with history if they can keep their language alive, with the Normandy region likely to be at the centre of events to mark 1000 years since William the Conqueror took England.

Sark School

Pictured: Sark's school caters for all children in the island from pre-school until at least age 13.

There are 25 children at Sark School with three pre-schoolers due to join them after Easter. The entire school was at Beau Sejour on Friday for the Eisteddfod with parents and other supporters joining them. 

The headteacher said the majority of the pupils had little to no knowledge of Sercquais before they started learning the song in January. 

The song - which told the story of Saint Magloire, the patron saint of Sark - was written by Martin Neudorfl who has been working on a research paper exploring the Norman languages of the Channel Islands. 

Lyrics from the song include: "We the little rabbits of St Magloire who came from afar to our little island" and "we the Sarkese have plenty of work and will not hunger."


Pictured: Mr Neudorfl has spoken to Express about his work in detail before.

Mr Neudorfl started work on his language project in 2016 when there were seven native speakers alive in Sark, with four of them able to help him learn the language. There are now only three alive. 

His work, which is funded through a grant from Charles University in Prague, includes taking weekly online classes with Sark School and he works with them in person for one or two months of the year.

Sercquais lessons are now treated as compulsory with a different year group having lessons each week.


FOCUS: The unlikely hero saving the language of Sark

Sercquais joins Guernesiais at the Eisteddfod

Sark Pupils to embrace native language at Eisteddfod


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