Previous winners


The top prize in FBC’s 2014 film competition was The Brittons Academy in Rainham in Essex.

Actress Jenny Agutter, star of Call the Midwife described the film as very creative with a wonderfully funny central premise. Les Infos de Brittons were an excellent modern attention grabbing news channel and their commentary and revelation of Lady Gaga's involvement in  the disappearance of the Eiffel Tower was hilarious”.

The winning class will spent a day in Paris courtesy of Eurostar and the FBC, climbing the Eiffel Tower and soaking up Parisien life!

Please take a look at the winning film below and the rest of the top ten. 

Winner : Les Infos de Brittons Academy 


Top 10 : Sur la route

Top 10 : French day trip

Top 10 :  La vie d'un mime

Top 10 : Les basketteurs francais

Top 10 : Ballet . St Marylebone School

Top 10 : C'est comment Paris?

Top 10 : My French Movie - Restaurant

Top 10 : My favourite things about Paris

Top 10:  My French movie -  Fashion




St Cuthbert's College from St Helens won the 2013 competition first prize  and enjoyed their prize in June 2014.

Here you can view the winning film and the runners up, as well as those which were highly commended.

First prize: St Cuthbert's College, St Helens

Second place: Catmose College, Leicestershire

Joint third place: Rednock School, Gloucestershire and St Marylebone CE School, London      

Highly Commended (in alphabetical order):

Bartholomew School, Oxfordshire

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London

Harris City Academy Crystal Palace, London

Heckmondwike Grammar School, West Yorkshire

Hinchley Wood School, Surrey

Horizon Community College, South Yorkshire


Some of the winners from Willow class with teacher Amy Stroud and Adam Preston from the FBC

'Willow', a year 5 class at Christ Church Primary, Redhill Street, Camden, won the 2012 Passage to Paris prize. The whole class travelled to Paris on Eurostar for an exciting day out which included a trip up the Eiffel Tower.

Each child was also given a copy of one of Michael Morpurgo's stories.



16-18 category

1st Prize:  Unwelcome Visitors, Lucy Bingham

Unwelcome Visitors met with universal approval from the jury and was a clear favourite from the very beginning of the discussion. Michael Morpurgo felt the story was "imaginative, charming and clever" while Boyd Tonkin observed that on creative writing courses you are often asked to imagine someone unlike yourself and "you cant get much more unlike yourself than a tortoise". 

On winning Lucy said "I'm so thrilled to have won. I really enjoyed writing this story and it was great to have such positive feedback from the judges. This is a fantastic story-writing opportunity for students like me. I can't wait to visit Paris!"

Download 'Unwelcome Visitors' here

2nd Prize:  La Salle Pleyel, Jennifer Metcalfe

Joyce Quin was particularly intrigued by this tale which she found was still in her mind after she had read it. Boyd Tonkin pointed out that this was a "nicely controlled" piece of writing and that it was hard to imagine memories of someone looking back after a lifetime".  Michael Morpurgo felt that La Salle Pleyel was "ambitious in its construction".

Jennifer says "thank you very much! I'm delighted to have placed in the competition. I really enjoyed writing La Salle Pleyel, as it allowed me to combine my loves in life; history, music, writing and of course France. I would like to thank all the judges for their comments and support, and I would encourage anyone to enter the competition next year".

Download 'La Salle Pleyel' here

3rd Prize: Monsieur Aries, Jim McGovern

This was a particular favourite of Joyce Quin who found the story charming. It was commented that this story was, of all the stories, the most controlled in what it was trying to do.

Download 'Monsieur Aries' here

Special mention:  Swansdown, Natasha Baily

Michael Morpurgo described Swansdown as "full of pertinent detail, really interesting and you wanted to go on reading it". Baroness Quin felt the story "described the confusion of a very difficult time very well".

"Though I didn't place, I'm very happy indeed to have been selected for a special mention - it has meant so much to me that others liked Swansdown and the feedback I received from the judges has definitely encouraged me to keep on writing! I'd recommend the competition to anyone who loves to write - it's given me so much more confidence in my writing and I hope it will do the same for next year's entrants".

Download 'Swansdown' here

19-25 category

1st Prize: Emile Nelligan est Mort,  Iona Carmichael

Boyd Tonkin remarked that this story had "an excellent opening, good tone and a good rhythmic pace to the sentences"

Download 'Emile Nelligan est Mort' here

2nd Prize: Platform, Eley Williams

Michael Morpurgo described this story as "witty and refreshing". He felt for all the characters and "wanted to read it again".

"Thank you so much for the good news! Coming second in this competition is such an encouragement for my writing, it seems peculiar in Britain that despite interested readers and committed writers, there are very few opportunities for the short-story to be aired in print (or screen) in respected journals- to see organisations like the Franco-British Council and publications such as Prospect providing the incitement to write in this form is a real boon. All in all, it's put a real spring in my step".

Download 'Platform' here

3rd Prize: The Art of Surprise, James Gheerbrant

Boyd Tonkin was particularly impressed by the dialogue in this story.

"Thank you very much. I'm absolutely delighted and very surprised to be successful. I entered the competition because first, the short story is personally one of my favourite literary forms, and I sometimes feel an under-appreciated one; and secondly, language students aren't really encouraged to do a lot of original or creative writing and I just really enjoyed what has become a rare opportunity".

Download 'The Art of Surprise' here

2010 Prize

The FBC Jury made up of Baroness Joyce Quin, Tom Chatfield of Prospect Magazine, Boyd Tonkin of the Independent and Ann Kenrick of the Franco British Council met at the House of Lords to decide the winners. Other jury member  Bonnie Greer was unable to attend the meeting but had sent her opinions in advance. After enthusiastic and animated debate, the Jury chose the winners for the two categories:

First prize in the 16-18 category was awarded to Lewis Betenshaw  

Lewis BertanshawThe judges were in full agreement that Boulogne Blood should be awarded first prize - it was a story that was rated highly by everyone. Boyd Tonkins described the story as ‘ambitious' and said that it ‘engaged with the present in an immediate and very hands-on way'.  Asked what winning meant to him Lewis replied  "winning the short story prize means a lot to me because it has given me confidence in my writing ability, especially having not attempted a short story before."

Download 'Boulogne Blood' here

First prize in the 19-25 category was awarded to Jack Boardman

Jack BoardmanBoyd Tonkin stated that this story was ‘going to a place in terms of emotion and psychology which I thought was more sophisticated than any of the other stories'. He also commented that ‘it goes a surprising route which is always a sign of a writer in control'. Tom Chatfield observed that it is ‘difficult to write a story where the protagonist is being observed from a distance' and he felt that the story ‘skirted around what would have been a more boring and predictable story'.

Jack Boardman was drawn to the FBC short story competition because of his admiration for the ‘lost generation' of writers, such as James Joyce and Hemmingway, who chose to become ex-patriots in 1920's Paris. Although he has been published in underground magazines and has already written his first novel this is the first national prize that Jack has won. Asked what winning means to him he replied ‘It means everything - I had been saving up for a trip to France anyway because I want to go and write there. Now I can just go!' He is also an admirer of French writers such as Joris-Karl Huysmans, author of À Rebours (Against Nature), and Henri Alain-Fournier, author of Le Grand Meaulnes (The Lost Estate).

Download 'The Bully' here

2009 Prize

The FBC Jury made up of Baroness Joyce Quin, Tom Chatfield of Prospect Magazine, Boyd Tonkin of the Independent met at the House of Lords to decide the winners. Other jury members, authors Ian Rankin and Bonnie Greer, were unable to attend the meeting but both made their opinions clear in advance. After enthusiastic and animated debate, the Jury chose the winners for the two categories. Julian Barnes noted that the standard of the entries was "very high," with stories "creating believable and quirky characters-a real achievement in under 1,000 words."

First prize in the sixth form category was awarded to Clare Coggins of Headington School, Oxford


This story appealed to all the judges who commented that Clare had been very capable in writing about someone other that herself, avoiding transposing her own identity and perspective into the character and brought the situation to life. Clare was really pleased with the news about her prize and told us:

'Thank you so much for running the competition, I really enjoyed taking part! It was a great chance to be creative and I appreciate the opportunity very much.'

Download Basma

First prize in the Undergraduate category was won by Karis Fiorrucci formerly of Trinity College, Oxford

Karis was thrilled with his prize and told us:

'This competition really appealed to me and, after giving it some thought, I came up with the premise for my story, in which the glitz and spectacle of Paris comes to visit a small French town, catching our hero in its orbit. Gaston buys into the myth of the city and becomes intoxicated with Paris as the fulfilment of his own desires.  I am very grateful to the FBC for organising such a unique competition. The story was lots of fun to write, and it has even inspired me to produce some new stories, set in the same town!'

Download Gaston gets his just desserts


First prize in the sixth form category was awarded to Caitlin Hart from London (2007-2008)


This story appealed to all the judges who commented that Caitlin had moved away from cliches of coffee and croissants and managed to evoke subtly the setting and atmosphere of this poignant story. Caitlin responded to the news of her win:
'I am absolutely delighted. Thank you so much for running the competition; it was such an amazing opportunity!'
Download Heat

First prize in the Undergraduate category was won by Sarah Collier from the University of Salford (2007-2008)

The judges were very impressed by this simple yet effective story of the inspiration behind the Statue of Liberty. Sarah was thrilled with her prize and told us:
'I found out about this competition through a course tutor, and immediately knew I had to have a go. I toyed with so many ideas before settling with 'The Face', and all of them seemed too complicated. I decided to go back to basics as the subjects I thought up were much too obvious. I wanted to emphasize that beneath our nationalities we are all the same. I started researching things that were linked to France, that you wouldn't immediately connect, and I suddenly thought of the Statue of Liberty. There was so much mystery surrounding it's inspiration, I knew that a lot could be done with it. Some of the most interesting fiction is derived from real life, and as I found out more about Bartholdi and Isabella, the face, I knew that a story had to be hidden away somewhere.'

Download The Face

The 2006 prize was awarded to Barshare Primary School and Mainholm AcademyBarshare primary School and Mainholm Academey image

Barshare Primary School won first prize for their innovative project for pupils to exchange information about Boules and Bowls with a partner school in Joué-Lès-Tours. Over seven weeks pupils learnt the history and rules of the two sports, and then exchanged the information via emails and video links. Thierry Henry, at the time a prime example of Franco-British co-operation, took time out of his training to hand over a cheque for £1950 to thrilled pupils Stephanie, Robbie and John. The second prize went to Mainholm Academy, in South Ayrshire, to help them study and practise Handball and Curling in conjunction with a school in St Witz, near Paris. Pupils travelled to London to receive the cheque from Baroness Shephard, who kindly gave them a tour of the House of Lords.

The 2005 prize was awarded to Oulton Primary School and Canterbury High School

The extremely high quality of entries made it a difficult choice for the assessors but the jury, chaired by Gillian Shephard MP, decided to share the £5000 prize between two schools. The first prize went to Oulton Primary School from Staffordshire for a project on playground games involving the school and the older community. Current and traditional playground games were explored as were games played by francophone and anglophone children of other countries such as Algeria, Tunisia or the United States. The second prize was given to Canterbury High School, for a dance project. The prize ceremony took place on 12 July at the House of Commons.

The 2004 prize was awarded toTile Hill Wood School, St Paul's C E Primary School and Dorothy Stringer High SchoolTile Hill Wood School, St Paul's C E Primary School and Dorothy Stringer High School image

Tile Hill Wood School and Language College, Coventry, was awarded £2,000 for its project to put in place bilingual geographical groups both in England and La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, through a comparison of environmental systems and sustainable management. St Paul's C E Primary School, Stalybridge, Cheshire, was awarded £2,000 to carry out an environmental project on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Stalybridge. This project tackled a range of environmental issues such as air pollution, litter and water quality of the river, in parallel with their French Partner School in Armentières. Dorothy Stringer High School, Brighton, winner of last year's School Partnership Prize, was awarded £1,000 to continue its study of semi-natural habitats in Northern France and Southern England.

The 2003 prize was awarded to Dorothy Stringer High School and Penzance Junior School Dorothy Stringer High School, Penzance Junior School image

The Dorothy Stringer High School in Brighton won the first prize of £2,600 for its proposal for a comparative ecological study of semi-natural habitats in both Sussex and Normandy including an investigation into the conservation management of these sites. Its aim is to raise pupil awareness of the extensive biodiversity of plants and animals in a range of areas. The second prize of £2,400 was awarded to Penzance Junior School for a proposal to investigate the impact of tourism on both the Cornish and Brittany coastlines, comparing the coastline and sea life in each area and investigating the possible causes of death of animals such as dolphins and porpoises.

The 2001 prize was awarded to Archbishop Michael Ramsey TC, Southwark and Priory Special school, SpaldingArchbishop Michael Ramsey TC, Southwark and Priory Special school, Spalding image

Archbishop Michael Ramsey Technology College in Southwark (first prize of £3,000). Their project is called 'don't waste it' and used email, internet and visits to look at recycling in different environments and how it affects the pupils' daily lives. Representatives from their French partner school were present at the ceremony. Schools from Nigeria and South Africa were also involved. The Priory Special school from Spalding, Lincolnshire (2nd prize of £2,000) has had a twinning partnership for 7 years involving year 9. Students have been examining with their penpals how they can improve their own green credentials and the exchange included visits to recycling and treatment plants in Britain and France.

The 2000 prize was awarded to Llanrumney High School, Cardiff

Llanrumney High School, Cardiff image

Llanrumney High School, Cardiff, won the award for a project on sustainable transport. French and British pupils will work together to take a critical look at the state of public transport and private car use in two big cities: Rennes (Brittany) and Cardiff. A group of pupils from each school visited the other to see the problems and solutions at first hand. They tried to find out why people choose to walk, cycle, catch a bus or take their car to work. They used their joint brainpower to devise questionnaires and do practical work, including traffic counts at a local level. A video of their work has been made and the students have made a drama production about sustainable transport which they put on in local primary schools.

The 1999 prize was awarded to Settle High School and Community CollegeSettle High School and Community College image

The 1999 winner was Settle High School and Community College. Their project twinned every student in Years 9 and 10 by letter, by email and in person with students at their partner school in Herbignac in Loire Atlantique. Three departments – French, Geography and IT collaborated on the project, which included joint visits to conservation sites in both countries; exchanging information on local environmental issues and management; setting up a web site and publishing a bilingual book about the project. This included a Franco-British ‘jargon buster’ compendium of environmental terms.

The 1998 prize was awarded to King Edward VII Upper School, Melton Mowbray

The 1998 winner was King Edward VII Upper School, Melton Mowbray, a 14-18 Technology College whose pupils, together with pupils from two of its feeder schools and two partner schools in Ancenis, Loire, have been looking at how Local Agenda 21 is being put into practice.

The 1997 prize was awarded to Green Arbour Special School, Rotherham

In the second year the prize went to Green Arbour Special School in Rotherham for a nature watch project. The pupils built bird and bat boxes and worked closely with the local authority to develop a nature watch area next to the Rotherham International Centre, which accommodated pupils on visits from their partner school in St Quentin.

The 1996 prize was awarded to Durham High School for Girls and Bishop Ullathorne School, Coventry

The winner in the first year (1996) was Durham High School for Girls who submitted a proposal to work with their French partner school (the Collège Ste Jeanne d’Arc in Morteau) to develop and build a fully working scaled water recycling plant. Visits to the Centre for Alternative Technology and Durham University’s Biology department, as well as practical work in France, were included in the project. These helped pupils to plan a system to collect rainwater which would supply an automated glasshouse and top up the school pond in times of drought. A smaller prize was given to Bishop Ullathorne School in Coventry for a project on energy efficiency undertaken with their partner school, the Collège Bellevue in Lyon.

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