On Thursday 19th November, Sixth Form students of Spanish gathered in Señora Simpson’s classroom to celebrate the annual Sixth Form Spanish Evening. This year’s theme of ¡No pasarán! enabled pupils from both the Lower and Upper Sixth to explore the Spanish Civil War from the point of view of Republican Spain.

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a violent conflict and is often considered the war which set the scene for the European conflagration which began as it ended. The Spanish Republic, in powerNo Pasaran_ Sixth Form Spanish Evening_22663 since 1931, had introduced wide-ranging and much-needed social and political reforms which had been badly received by the old elites and the army, who had lost considerable privileges under Republican rule. Therefore in July 1936 the army and the right wing (The Nationalists) staged a coup d’état in an attempt to overthrow the Republican government, restore the monarchy and reclaim Spain for the glory of Catholicism. The Republic fought back, however, despite international intervention stacked in their opponents’ favour, with Mussolini and Hitler providing considerable help for the rebels. We set our scene this year in Madrid in 1936, where Dolores Ibárruri, the famous Republican orator known as “Las Pasionaria” delivered her famous speech entitled “ ¡No pasarán!” (They will not pass!) referring to the onslaught of the Fascist powers on the city.

Members of the Upper Sixth presented detailed PowerPoint presentations explaining elements of the conflict they have researched, from the International Brigades to the non-interventionNo Pasaran_ Sixth Form Spanish Evening_22682 agreement and the impact of the conflict on present-day Spain. All pupils practised their pronunciation and public speaking skills in Spanish as they took to the stage to deliver some of Ibárruri’s most rousing speeches with energy, drama and emotion. Señora Simpson, Señor Drake and Señora Bigg were impressed with their performances, and enjoyed conversation in Spanish over tapas as the evening drew to a close.

Potential themes for next year’s Sixth Form Spanish Evening are already being hotly discussed amongst pupils… watch this space!

Angharad Simpson
Head of Spanish