Burngreave Messenger

Issue 27 December 2002

Cover Story:
Lessons for David

Home 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.

Owler 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.

Adult 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.

Learning for all...

Laila 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 positive way.

David 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.

...but who’s going to pay?

Laila 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 to.

David 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 cohesion.

David Blunkett MP meeting Headteacher Sue Graville, Adult Learning Co-ordinator Laila Wragg and members of the adult learning classes.

Women from many nationalities learn together.

New Nursery starting soon at Owler Brook. All welcome.

Contact Laila Wragg on:
0114 243 8611.