New hope for city's language classes

New hope for city's language classes

New hope for city's language classes

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

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.”

Daily Echo:

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 (8)

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8:02am Mon 7 Apr 14

cgt says...

It would be tragic if these language classes were to close and a great loss to Southampton's tradition of welcoming, integrating and at the same time helping many diverse communities to keep pride in their individual heritages.
It would be tragic if these language classes were to close and a great loss to Southampton's tradition of welcoming, integrating and at the same time helping many diverse communities to keep pride in their individual heritages. cgt
  • Score: -3

8:28am Mon 7 Apr 14

Datarater says...

What a waste of £60,000. Now get the parents to pay for them. It works out as £80 for each youngster. That shouldn't break the bank and if it does they shouldn't be here!!!

Get some common sense.
What a waste of £60,000. Now get the parents to pay for them. It works out as £80 for each youngster. That shouldn't break the bank and if it does they shouldn't be here!!! Get some common sense. Datarater
  • Score: 5

8:29am Mon 7 Apr 14

jen1 says...

What a waste of money, I'm sick of pandering to immigrants. If they want to speak Polish, then go back there, don't come here and expect everyone else to pay for you to speak the language
What a waste of money, I'm sick of pandering to immigrants. If they want to speak Polish, then go back there, don't come here and expect everyone else to pay for you to speak the language jen1
  • Score: -1

9:02am Mon 7 Apr 14

hulla baloo says...

Sounds to me like this is private tuition. Why is this funded by tax payers?
Sounds to me like this is private tuition. Why is this funded by tax payers? hulla baloo
  • Score: 1

9:22am Mon 7 Apr 14

huckit P says...

Private tuition to teach foreign language skills should be paid for by the people benefitting from tjhe teaching.
Immigrants must integrate at theior own expense, not that of their host country.
The money spent on such private lessons would be better spent in mainstream education.
Private tuition to teach foreign language skills should be paid for by the people benefitting from tjhe teaching. Immigrants must integrate at theior own expense, not that of their host country. The money spent on such private lessons would be better spent in mainstream education. huckit P
  • Score: 0

9:26am Mon 7 Apr 14

bigfella777 says...

This is nothing new, its been going on for over 50 years. I would have to ask though if these kids are getting extra tuition does this give them an unfair advantage over English kids at a time when a lot of kids are leaving school unable to read and write in English properly let alone any other language.
If being bilingual is so important don't our schools teach languages already? French, Spanish , German ect.
What I think this really is, is providing Polish children with their mother tongue so that when the wages rise in Poland and they all go home they will be able to live there and speak the language.
It would be interesting to know how many people voted against this in the councils budget questionnaire.
You get a parking ticket in town, Pawel gets a Polish lesson, it stinks really.
This is nothing new, its been going on for over 50 years. I would have to ask though if these kids are getting extra tuition does this give them an unfair advantage over English kids at a time when a lot of kids are leaving school unable to read and write in English properly let alone any other language. If being bilingual is so important don't our schools teach languages already? French, Spanish , German ect. What I think this really is, is providing Polish children with their mother tongue so that when the wages rise in Poland and they all go home they will be able to live there and speak the language. It would be interesting to know how many people voted against this in the councils budget questionnaire. You get a parking ticket in town, Pawel gets a Polish lesson, it stinks really. bigfella777
  • Score: -7

11:16am Mon 7 Apr 14

FreemantleJamez says...

This is a complete and utter waste of money! If they want to teach their children their mother language then they can do that themselves or pay for a private tutor.
This is a complete and utter waste of money! If they want to teach their children their mother language then they can do that themselves or pay for a private tutor. FreemantleJamez
  • Score: 1

11:57am Mon 7 Apr 14

derek james says...

huckit P wrote:
Private tuition to teach foreign language skills should be paid for by the people benefitting from tjhe teaching.
Immigrants must integrate at theior own expense, not that of their host country.
The money spent on such private lessons would be better spent in mainstream education.
since when did councils ever spend money sensibly?
[quote][p][bold]huckit P[/bold] wrote: Private tuition to teach foreign language skills should be paid for by the people benefitting from tjhe teaching. Immigrants must integrate at theior own expense, not that of their host country. The money spent on such private lessons would be better spent in mainstream education.[/p][/quote]since when did councils ever spend money sensibly? derek james
  • Score: 1

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