Lifelong Learning Programme

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basic information

Title of the Project
Musubi Project
Brief description
This was (and is) part of a wider project that has been set up to welcome the Japanese team to the Olympic Games in London, and it is also working to educate local children about the language, culture and sports of Japan. So far, iit has had a very positive impact. Musubi Project is being run in partnership with Loughborough University and is supported by the East Midlands Development Agency. It involves a huge range of activities and social events that bring in schools from across the region and introduce athletes to the local area. Termly Musubi days, for example, designed and run by South Wolds pupils, invite local students to participate in workshops and conferences related to Japanese culture – and encourage senior students to share their knowledge and experience with the juniors. South Wolds pupils have also designed an award-winning website to support the project – and have established an annual visit to the Olympic Training Centre in Tokyo.
United Kingdom
Target Language
School Education
Adult Education
Transversal (more sectors addressed)
Further Information



• We started the project to take advantage of the fact that the Japanese Olympic team had chosen Loughborough University, which is very close to our school, as their training base in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games and beyond, and we wanted to use this opportunity to introduce the language. sports and culture to our local community using the skills and talents of South Wolds Gifted and Talented students. This project was offered to Japanese students to allow them to develop and take responsibility for a sophisticated project which would have benefits for the whole community.


• to use the presence of the Japanese Olympic athletes to inspire local students to learn about Japan
• to develop warm relations with the Japanese Olympic Team
• to give senior students at South Wolds the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with junior students in the local area
• to develop advanced leadership skills


• Approach adopted in the planning and development of the initiative:
The multi-age group was formed and given the responsibility to plan and implement all aspects of the programme.

• Project management strategy and approach adopted - identification of strengths and weaknesses of this: The project was given to the students to develop as they wished, with guidance from teachers deliberately kept to a minimum. This approach brought out the best in the students who found the responsibility given to them to be enormously empowering and motivating. They rose to the challenge and did an outstanding job.

•Strategies used for fostering learner motivation: South Wolds students were motivated by the trust placed in them and the limitless nature of the project, and the students they interacted with were motivated by seeing the enthusiasm and talent of their peers, rather than being taught down to by teachers.

• System of project evaluation used:
Unfortunately the project leader moved to a new school last year and was not able to formally complete the project evaluation.


Termly 'Musubi' Days at Loughborough University from 2010
Badminton Day 13 October 2009
Headteachers' Conference 19th November 2009
Visit to the Ajinomoto National Training Centre in Tokyo 2nd November, 2009
Business Conference 15 March 2010

For details see:

•Consistency of the outcomes with initial plans and with the expectation of the end users: The project ran better than anticipated and the students from other schools involved in the project were always delighted with their days. Please see the videos on the website for more information and interviews with the end users.

Why the European Language Label?

'As their teacher in charge of the project I wanted to have my students' achievements recognised by the wider community to further motivate them to improve and expand their activities'

Activities following the award of the European Language Label

The Musubi days and related activities continued as planned. The experience proved highly rewarding and motivating for the students in involved in the project

Assessment of the Impact of the European Language Label

• Benefits for the initiative and the organisation(s) involved of having been awarded the ELL: The students were highly motivated by the recognition they received.
•Impact of the initiative following the award of the ELL: The students continued with renewed enthusiasm in the project.

• Consistency of the impact with initial expectations: The impact was as expected.

Recommendations for future applicants for the ELL

'I would be pleased to discuss this by phone'


Consistency with European Policies in the field of Language Learning

"EU language policies aim to protect linguistic diversity and promote knowledge of languages – for reasons of cultural identity and social integration, but also because multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the educational, professional and economic opportunities created by an integrated Europe. The goal is a Europe where everyone can speak at least two other languages in addition to their own mother tongue".
This project was consistent with these policies in an unusual way and language. In this case learners of a non-European language were motivated to get involved in interesting cross-community activities that fostered development of awareness of the language and culture in questiom

Consistency with European, National and yearly priorities

EU priorities for 2010-2011 were: a)language learning in the community and b) language skills as preparation for work. This project was particularly consistent with a), and provided potentially useful experience of b) for the students involved, especially ibn the area of project management and development and international relations.



• Innovative: The students assume control of what happens, guided by members of staff. They have created among themselves an effective project management team, allocating roles and responsibilities and running the day to day aspects of the project with minimal intervention. They refer to themselves as a ‘community’ or a ‘family’. They are able to articulate clearly the purpose and impact of the project on the people they work with and on themselves.
• Replicable: the model is replicable. The stimulus of an international event on the doorstep to generate interest in and opportunities for language learning is not new. This project seems to have been particularly successful in exploiting the opportunity. They have acted fast and developed a language learning project that offers much more. They see language as part of a bigger picture that enables them to connect with their own wider community and across international boundaries. The students’ view is that their model would work particularly well with lesser taught languages and/or those where cultural difference can be a stimulus to engagement. The Musubi days that they organise and run have a strong cultural theme through which language is threaded (making kimonos from newspaper; taking part in traditional and modern Japanese sports)

• Effective: there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of students in A level Japanese. From September 2010 there will be 11 taking the A level option (from 5 in the 09/10 cohort). Staff and students attribute this increase directly to involvement with the project. The project is developing a cascade model, creating a network of schools that have been recipients of a Musubi day and have replicated the experience within their own ‘families’. The presence of the Japanese Olympic team in Loughborough for training is already opening up opportunities for the project team to engage in real interchange (interviews with 400 metre hurdlers have already happened); there are plans afoot to take a leading role in the welcome and orientation of the athletes.

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21 December 2014

Audio- video presentation of the NELLIP project

An audio- video presentation of the NELLIP project has been created and made available in the Information section of the NELLIP portal. To access the presentation please click here: