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Entries open for new Caius schools prizes

  • 23 March 2017

Sixth form students are being challenged to analyse new works from poetry to TV programmes or to explore the way emojis or footballers' secret team signals work in exciting new prize challenges set by Gonville & Caius.

The College has launched annual prize competitions for Year 12 (lower sixth form) students in UK schools, initially in English and Linguistics. The awards aim to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students, from whatever background they may come, as well as the achievements of those who teach them.

Each competition carries a first prize of £600, to be split equally between the winning candidate and his or her school or college, and a second prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

The Linguistics Challenge aims to appeal to students studying a wide range of subjects at A-Level or equivalent, and to introduce some of the key ideas in Linguistics - a subject that spans a range of disciplines at degree level and involves the study of language and its structure. To enter, students are set the fascinating task of exploring a language they use to communicate - interpreted in its widest sense. They might, for example, take a look at a computer programming language, or the language of music as expressed in a musical score. Alternatively, they could turn to their smartphone and consider communication systems such as hashtags or emojis, consider the special slang or other language they use with friends, or think about the secret codes and signs their team uses on the sports pitch to signal moves or intentions. The judges are asking students to explain the important properties of their chosen language in no more than 2000 words.

The equally stimulating task for the English Prize, meanwhile, is to write an essay of between 1,500 and 2,000 words on a work of literature or visual art newly performed or first published within the last 12 months. The list of possible subjects is broad: it could include any published literary material, films, concerts and opera, exhibitions, drama and dance performances, and TV shows - but importantly not a subject students are studying for an exam. The judges will be looking for precise observation and attention to detail, original ideas, perceptive analysis, and stylish, expressive and effective writing.

The closing date for both prizes is Friday 26 May 2017. All the details and the coversheets needed for submissions can be found on our website. We welcome entries from students of all schools and all backgrounds. Good luck - we're looking forward to seeing your work.

Any queries about the prizes should be directed to


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