The Big Challenge


A medal for the best-scoring student at each level (minimum 20 students per level)

Registration for the 2019 contest has closed


Why must schools register a minimum of 35 students?
In the organisation of the contest, there are costs that are proportional to the number of students registered in a school but there are also considerable overhead costs like printing and shipping, data management, maintenance and updates of the technical infrastructure required for the online contest, server rental, parcel preparation… which remain the same despite fluctuations in contest registration. We have to impose a minimum number of students in order to balance our budget.
Why can’t I register bilingual students and English speakers?
We try to be very strict about applying the rule that states “The Big Challenge is intended for students in Belgian schools between the ages of 11 and 16 who are learning English. The contest is not open to native English speakers. It is reserved for students whose knowledge of English has been acquired essentially within the Belgian school system. Students who do not meet these criteria and who have been registered by mistake will be disqualified.” The goal of the contest is to motivate the largest number of students learning English. Many students work hard and spend hours practising in order improve their chances of winning. I am sure that you will understand that these students would find it extremely unfair—and very discouraging— if English speakers won the top prizes.
Should I register only my best students?
Our goal at The Big Challenge is to motivate all of your students to learn English. Registering only your best students to show off their talents misses the point. Registering everyone, whatever their level, might just create the momentum that will push some of them to make that extra effort and discover that English isn’t that difficult, that they too can improve and succeed.
Who pays the registration fees?

The registration fees are paid by students’ parents or by the school, or sometimes both. Some municipalities help cover the cost as well.

How are the registration fees used?
The Big Challenge receives no financial aid of any kind and is funded exclusively by fees paid by participating students, that is 5€ per student, or 4.17€ once the VAT has been paid. These fees cover the printing and shipping of the registration kits and posters as well as development costs, maintenance and updates of the technical infrastructure required for the online contest, rental of numerous servers needed to operate the contest, management of the data base containing all the participants by an external provider and especially score calculation and the establishment of three rankings, the purchase, production, delivery and storage of prizes, prize parcel preparation by an external provider and finally, delivery of prize parcels to schools. These fees also finance the development and maintenance of our website as well as the different applications so that students can practise free of charge all year long.