Helping a family

Edmund * befriended a lone man, whose family was able to join him when he received Leave to Remain: “My befriendee has had status to live here for several years and three of his children are now with him. The two girls have finished school and are now at college in Birmingham and the younger son is doing GCSEs in a local school. My befriendee’s English is quite good now, although he does not always feel confident in situations such as parents’ evenings at school, where either the local accent or educational jargon hinders his understanding. For such times I have accompanied him to the school as a standby if anything needs ‘interpreting.’ Similarly, I went along to local colleges when the daughters were applying or attending open evenings there. I have been teaching them English to supplement what they are learning at college and all three are showing good progress, chiefly because in the college and school environment they hear English all the time. If anything hinders this development it is that the family has a French-speaking church and in the home they usually speak Lingala or French and can watch the TV news in French. This is quite natural but it does slightly slow down progress towards thinking in English. When the three teenagers are together with me we speak English and they are all capable of doing that, which is a great achievement after only being in the UK for eighteen months.”

* name has been changed

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