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Monday 13 March

The College-wide spelling bee at West London's College starts today in English classes - but have you ever wondered what spelling has to do with little black and yellow creatures?

The concept of young people competing to spell words goes back to at least 1808 - but it is likely that there were informal competitions long before then. The 'bee' in spelling bee is likely derived from the old English word 'bēn' or 'bene' which at various times meant 'prayer', 'favour' or 'help given by neighbours'.

By the late 1700s, the word 'bee' was used to describe a group gathering together to accomplish a task - words such as 'spinning bee', 'quilting bee' and 'husking bee' were fairly common. Nowadays, the term 'working bee' is still used in some circles to describe an event where volunteers come together to take part in a community project, but 'spelling bee' remains the most common modern usage. 

This year's spelling bee at West London's College promises to be an exciting event. Students will take place in individual college heats before the winners advance to a whole College final on Wednesday 26 April. Prizes include Amazon vouchers and a Chromebook for the overall winner.

Follow us @ehwlc on Twitter and EHWLC for regular spelling bee updates over the coming month!