Graham Newson was born in Suffolk in 1954 and attended Northgate Grammar School in Ipswich before starting a degree at Aston University where he studied German, Teaching and Sport. Pursuing his profound interest in Germany and the German language, he spent time during his degree at Aston University in Germany, working in the agricultural sector and also as a Teaching Assistant at a Gymnasium in Lübeck. Graduating with a BSc (Hons) at the end of the 1970s and successfully completing his teacher training, Graham’s first teaching post was at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock in Shrosphire before he received an early-than-normal promotion to Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Britannia High School in Rowley Regis, West Midlands in 1980. Between 2003 and 2015, Graham joined Perryfields High School, teaching languages and was also Head of Year.
In all of the institutions at which Graham taught, he was always held in the highest regard for his ability to impart languages in a witty, informative and highly engaging manner. Not only did he instill an interest in foreign languages and cultures, particularly German-speaking ones, Graham was also an advocate for the effective delivery of MFL in the school curriculum, mentoring dozens of teachers on effective pastoral care, classroom and behavior management.
In early 2015, Graham lost his battle to cancer, passing away on January 20 with his funeral taking place on February 2. His loss is a blow to the German teaching language community, particularly in the Black Country where he educated thousands of young people, instilling in them a passion and interest for all things German. One of Graham’s notable alumni includes the Anglo-German cultural expert, Dr. John Goodyear, whom Graham taught and whom he inspired to follow in his footsteps to pursue a degree in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at Aston University. Goodyear is now Director of Studies at the Academy of English, Oldenburg, Germany.
With the kind permission of Graham’s wife, Michelle as well as Graham’s wider family, a Travel Fund has been established in Graham’s name to allow young people of Birmingham and the Black Country, aged between 16 and 19, to come to Germany on a work experience placement and to work as a Teaching Assistant at the Academy of English in Oldenburg, Germany. The Graham Newson Memorial Travel Fund will cover the costs of travel for the young person of up to €150 (i.e. flights, boat crossings, train travel, petrol expenses) for one young person each year to come to Oldenburg, Germany and spend a number of weeks as a Teaching Assistant at the Academy of English. A respectable host stay family will be organized for the young person by the Academy of English.
The Travel Fund remembers and recalls Graham’s exceptional contribution to Anglo-German language and cultural exchange, allowing his legacy to live on: it gives young people from Birmingham and the Black Country, where foreign language take-up has experienced a decline in recent years, an opportunity to access the German language and German culture through a unique work experience placement that will enhance their Curriculum Vitae and provide them with a language immersion experience which will strengthen their awareness and understanding of the language.
Principle Aims of the Fund
- To give young people of Birmingham and the Black Country an opportunity to experience Germany and the German language
- To play a role in encouraging uptake of the German language in a part of the UK with some of the lowest take-up of German in the country
- To enhance the job prospects of the recipient in that s/he gains international work experience in a foreign country
- To continue Graham’s legacy of empowering individuals through foreign language learning
- To celebrate the work of the life and times of Graham Newson
The Travel Fund
A call will be sent out to all secondary schools and sixth forms at the start of the academic year, i.e. in September, of each year. The work experience will take place in the summer months (June, July, August) as not to interfere with the recipient’s schooling in the UK.
Status of the Fund
The Graham Newson Memorial Travel Fund will be administered by the charity of the Academy of English with a bank account in Germany. Funds will be raised through personal and private donations, fund raising activities and sponsorship both in Germany and the United Kingdom.
The Fund is strictly non-for-profit and no revenue will be generated from the Fund to acquire property, materials or items.
The recipient of the Fund will have all travel costs covered by the fund and the Academy of English will purchase all travel tickets in Germany. Tickets will be sent to the recipient. Parents or the individual winners will not have to purchase the ticket.
Eligibility to apply for the Fund
School children and students aged between 16 (i.e. in their GCSE year) and 19 (first year university undergraduates) who are enrolled at state education establishments (including Secondary Schools, Academies, Sixth Form Colleges and local universities) located in the conurbation of Birmingham and the Black Country are eligible to apply for the Graham Newson Memorial Travel Fund.
Although fluency in German is not essential, applications will be viewed favorably if the candidate can demonstrate an interest in Germany and the German language as well as working abroad.
Candidates who do not attend an educational establishment in the Birmingham or Black Country are not allowed to apply for this Fund. Candidates who attend an institution in Birmingham and the Black Country, but live outside the designated conurbation are eligible to apply.
In selecting the recipient, the Academy will seek to give opportunities to individuals who have yet to experience Germany despite having a profound interest.
The Fund is open to British nationals holding a British passport.
Just as Graham would have wanted it, the Fund is designed to be an easy-to-apply Fund and as less bureaucratic as possible. Candidates should simply write a 250-word reflective essay on why German and Germany is important to them and what a work experience placement at the Academy of English would mean to help them in their future aspirations. Applications should be sent by the end of January to Dr. John Goodyear at email@example.com. Applicants shall receive a confirmation e-mail. Review of all applicants will takes place at the end of February with results announced in the first week of March.
If applicants are unsuccessful with their application, they can re-apply in the next round of applications in the next academy year as long as they fulfill the age criteria and geographical status.
Generating Funds and roll-over of funds
To ensure for the sustainability of the Fund and allow future young people to access it, fundraising activities and donations will take place each year. Any funds not used within one academic year will be transferred to the following year’s Fund.
Foreign Language Teacher, Graham Newson (1954-2015), was a leading practitioner in the field of teaching language. Not only did thousands of students benefit from his work, but he was an excellent teacher trainer, characterized by his quick thinking, wit and talent for conveying languages to young people.
Speech by Dr. John Goodyear
Tribute to Mr. Graham Newson
First recipient of the fund
Dr. John Goodyear and Hannah Gill with her certificate for the Graham Newson Memorial Travel Fund, taken at the Academy of English.
The first recipient of the Graham Newson Memorial Travel Fund, Hannah Gill, spent two weeks working as a teaching assistant. She thanked the Academy of English for the award of the fund: „Without the help of the fund,“ she said, „I would not have been able to experience German life and its work culture. The placement has been invaluable to me.“
Recipients of the Award
2015: Hannah Gill
2016: Lauren Beale, Willow Curran, Phoebe Curran, Emily Riley
The Academy of English will seek sponsors, such as government and non-government organizations involved in the promotion of languages, e.g. the Goethe Institut, the German Embassy, the British Council Germany, Speak to the Future,UK-German Connections, local councils as well as numerous private backers and sponsors. It will approach Graham’s former establishments, such as Aston Alumni and Perryfields High School to gauge their interest. If you are interested in donate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org