A HEATHFIELD School pupil has proved she is an expert at spelling Spanish words.

Charlotte Bardsley, 12, has reached the national stage of the Routes into Languages spelling bee, beating off challenges from more than 61,000 other year 7 entrants from almost 500 schools.

She will now compete in the final, which involves correctly spelling as many Spanish words as possible in one minute, and is in with a chance of being crowned champion.

Mrs Jo Tidmarsh, head of Spanish at Heathfield School in Wolverley, said: “I am exceptionally proud of Charlotte, who is a very conscientious, gifted and talented linguist. She is committed, confident and has lots of strings to her bow.”

The spelling bee is sponsored by the European Commission and Vocab Express and run by Routes into Language, a consortium of universities working with schools and colleges to encourage the study of languages.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Routes into Languages programme, said: “The Spelling Bee really catches the imagination of young people.

“They discover they can work magic with words and get to grips with a foreign language. We all get a buzz from the competition.”

John Evans, language officer at the European Commission, added: “The enthusiasm generated by the foreign language spelling bee, combined with the solid foundation in language skills that it provides, will stand the pupils in good stead for taking languages further in the future.”

Charlotte won through the class, school and regional heats and has now been given 200 Spanish words to memorise for the final, which will take place at Anglia Ruskin University on Friday, July 4.