Class-E (ESOL) at William Morris House, Wimbledon

Class E is an ESOL Class for Asylum seekers, Refugees and Migrants.  The class is taught be two experienced volunteer teachers  (LB Meron, retired) who have been holding classes for this group for several years. Classes are held at William Morris House, Wimbledon Broadway every Wednesday Morning from 10.30-to 12.30 during term time.

 

Class E is a 'spin off' from the South London Refugee Association drop-in which was held at Holy Trinity Church, offering a range of services (including English Language classes) for Refugees and Migrants.  When SLRA had to close the drop-in due to funding restrictions, the two volunteer teachers sought to find a new venue so that the classes could continue.  A kind donor agreed to pay for the room at William Morris House for one year. This funding will cease in July at the end of this term.

 

Class-E is open to any learners of the above groups who wish to learn or improve their English.  It is a friendly and informal gathering where students are welcomed into an environment in which they feel safe to experiment with the use of their new language.  Because of the constitution of the groups, the learning style is informal, concentrating mostly on speaking, in contexts which are real, useful and familiar.   The ability range of the students is very wide and each is challenged to contribute to the lesson at their own level.  We aim to ensure that all learners achieve something from every class.

 

Reasons for attending the class are as varied as the students; for some it is to improve English in order to be able to communicate as necessary for their daily lives in the UK.  For some it is to find work.  For others, to escape their domestic routines and participate in a social context, whilst some students  are interested in extending their vocabulary and speaking more grammatically correctly.

 

We are also able to suggest local places of interest and give information about local services and activities.  For those students who are actively seeking employment we help them with their cv's and letters of application.

 

Since the SLRA drop-in has ceased to exist, our clients come mainly through word of mouth as our students frequently bring their compatriots.

 

Because of the nature of this group it is not possible to assess  progress quantitatively

but we rely instead qualitative assessment with student feedback,  growth in confidence and individual progress in speaking being the most obvious indicators.

 

As of next September we will no longer be able to pay for the venue.  However, we, the teachers, and the students would very much like to be able to continue.  We need to find a new venue in Wimbledon or Morden  where our students  who come  from these parts of the Borough can access without too much difficulty.  (Our present venue is on the third floor and this has deterred some students for whom stairs are too difficult).  We very much hope that we can continue to offer this service to our community, perhaps with a room in one of the libraries, failing this, funding for a different venue would make this possible.

 

We hope that you will give consideration to this plea, making it possible for these vulnerable groups to access a free service which will enable them to participate better in our society and enjoy the spirit of learning together.

 

Many thanks

 

Rosemary Demin an Naseem Nathoo

(Volunteer teachers)