Secretary David Blunkett learnt a thing or two when he visited
a large group of parents involved in adult learning at Owler
Brook School recently.
Brook recently made the news following its excellent inspection
report and the high honour of being awarded Beacon School
status, but it was to see the evidence of the exceptional
adult learning programme at the school that brought David
Blunkett on this visit.
Learning co-ordinator, Laila Wragg, explained to Mr Blunkett
that between 140 and 160 parents attend the school for adult
learning each week. Courses include speaking and listening,
basic English and parenting courses delivered by Sure Start.
30 parents are involved with a bilingual classroom assistant
course and three parents have progressed right through to
undertake a Foundation Teaching course.
explained that the group involved women from Yemeni, Pakistani,
English, Bangladeshi and Somali backgrounds and gives the
women the opportunity to express their culture in a really
Blunkett was clearly impressed and moved as some of the parents
demonstrated their new learning. Yemeni mum, Fatima Hamid
explained how she had been in England for three years and
the courses helped her to support her children’s learning
as well as improve her own understanding of English.
who’s going to pay?
also spoke of the difficulty of getting funding to continue
this important work and Tony Tingle, LEA Adult Learning Planner
for Burngreave explained the difficulties in funding courses
for those who did not yet have leave to stay in the UK. While
the LEA could fund such courses, the College was not allowed
Blunkett explained that this issue must be seen in the context
of the wider picture – it was not possible, he said,
to fund learning for everyone who had just arrived in the
country, but he conceded that it was important for people
to be taught the basic linguistic tools in order to help social