Classes which help local residents who speak other languages to improve their English and take a bigger role in the community will continue at Crest Academy – after Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillors Javaid Ashraf and Alison Hopkins worked with The Crest Academies to secure premises for their lessons.
The classes, known as Seeking Skills, are run by Sameera Kashif and Nazima Qureshi who both live in Dollis Hill. They have been successfully teaching English to local women who do not speak English since 2007.
Over 250 students have taken and passed Cambridge Examining Board English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications. But teachers and students feared they might have to find a new home when Crest Academy needed the old building they were based in for other purposes.
Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillors Javaid Ashraf and Alison Hopkins approached Phil Hearne, the new executive principal of The Crest Academies. Following a successful meeting, he confirmed that the classes could continue on the Crest Academy site.
Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillor Alison Hopkins said:
I am so pleased the classes can continue. I’m old enough to remember when simply being female was a barrier to opportunity. For these women it’s language that has put them at a disadvantage.
It is inspiring to see how driven the students are to learn English well, so that they can play a full part of the community they live in. Students told me that thanks to the classes they can now help their children with homework, talk to doctors and carry out everyday tasks we take for granted.
Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillor Javaid Ashraf added:
Alison Hopkins and I were deeply impressed with the standard of the classes and the enthusiasm of the students. I want to thank Academy Principal Phil Hearne for recognising their importance and ensuring that these women will not lose their chance to learn English.
The Crest Academies Executive Principal Phil Hearne said:
The Crest Academies look forward to continuing a long and productive relationship with this valuable community group.
The classes help students become more employable. (As an example the language skills learnt enabled one student to take her written driving test in English – she passed first time.) They also help mothers to support their children through school more effectively.
As well as being a place to learn the classes offer the women who attend a social network and can stop them being isolated at home.
Autumn term classes start on Monday 10th September. Potential students can find out more and sign up for classes on Wednesday 5th September from 10.30am until 2pm at The Crest Academies.
At one stage Sameera and Nazima approached Brent Council for help to find alternative premises, and even suggested that they could take space at the old Neasden Library, currently being kept empty by the Labour-run council at a cost of over £70,000 per year. However the council rejected this idea and said nothing could be done to help.