New hope to save the city’s language classes

Hampshire Chronicle: Mount Pleasant Community Language Classes including the Tamil Class pictured were among those under threat from cash cuts Mount Pleasant Community Language Classes including the Tamil Class pictured were among those under threat from cash cuts

LANGUAGE classes for children across Southampton could be saved after a last-ditch deal.

The city council had axed its £60,000 annual grant for the Community Language Service, which teaches minority languages to 750 city youngsters.

That put the future of the 50-year-old service in doubt, but now council chiefs and teachers may have secured its future following crunch talks.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the council has said it will withdraw its £60,000 annual grant to the service due to “financial pressures”.

The money pays for classroom rental and tutors to teach languages to around 800 children from minority ethnic communities to help them learn their heritage languages, including Polish, Chinese, Urdu and Somali, up to A-Level standard.

It also funds CRB checks for teachers and insurance.

Both children taking the lessons and their parents have talked to the Echo about how important the service is to them.

Shirley-based mum-of-two Aleksandra Dass, whose six-year-old daughter Emilia attends Polish classes, added: “It’s an incredibly valuable and important service that gives children a chance to learn their mother tongue and meet other Polish children.

“What’s most important for me is that my daughter has the chance not just to speak but read and write and become fully bilingual. Some people lose out on their language and heritage when they become adults and this service would be a big loss. Emilia really enjoys the mix of learning and play and she would miss it.”

Janusz Swierczynski, 14, known as Johnny, has been attending lessons for four years and is studying for a GCSE in Polish.

Johnny, of Sholing, said: “It helps me with my everyday English school because lessons are similar and things you learn can work in both. I have a lot of friends here that I don’t see at regular school and it is good fun so it would be a big shame if we lost it.”

Now following a crunch meeting between Labour council leader Simon Letts and heads of the various courses, a deal may have been struck to save the course.

It will see the council and the schools which host the classes take responsibility for room hire, CRB checks and insurance, while the tutors must fund the rest.

Cllr Letts said: “I have said to the tutors that the council and the schools can take responsibility for certain elements of what is on offer, and we expect them to take responsibility for other elements by ensuring they have a sensible charging policy.

“We are hoping to work together to save the service, which makes an important cohesive contribution to the city.”

The funding was due to run out in July, and the new arrangement could start in September.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:24pm Mon 7 Apr 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

This is almost an exact duplicate of the same story from earlier today. Why repeat it Echo?
This is almost an exact duplicate of the same story from earlier today. Why repeat it Echo? WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 1

2:30pm Mon 7 Apr 14

From the sidelines says...

You come to the UK, you pay for lessons to learn English.

You have children, either you teach them English, or you pay someone who can.

Your difficulties arising from you being an economic migrant are not a shared problem.
You come to the UK, you pay for lessons to learn English. You have children, either you teach them English, or you pay someone who can. Your difficulties arising from you being an economic migrant are not a shared problem. From the sidelines
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Tue 8 Apr 14

cgt says...

From the sidelines wrote:
You come to the UK, you pay for lessons to learn English.

You have children, either you teach them English, or you pay someone who can.

Your difficulties arising from you being an economic migrant are not a shared problem.
You obviously have either not read the article or have misunderstood it. This is not about immigrant children learning English; it refers to children from the diverse ethnic minority communities in Southampton learning their heritage languages.
[quote][p][bold]From the sidelines[/bold] wrote: You come to the UK, you pay for lessons to learn English. You have children, either you teach them English, or you pay someone who can. Your difficulties arising from you being an economic migrant are not a shared problem.[/p][/quote]You obviously have either not read the article or have misunderstood it. This is not about immigrant children learning English; it refers to children from the diverse ethnic minority communities in Southampton learning their heritage languages. cgt
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree