Henley College Offers Ukrainians English Lessons

The Henley College has kindly offered to provide English lessons for local Ukrainians who have come to live here to continue their learning.

Last year 40 Ukrainians living locally started studying English at the Friends Meeting House with tutors provided by the Windsor Forest group of colleges which was organised by local resident Diana Barnett.  However, after taking their exams in the summer at Windsor College they were told that the College could no longer provide the satellite classes.

Diana said, “We asked if the Henley College might be able to help us this year as so many of the Ukrainians wanted to continue and improve their English.  We are all delighted that the Henley College has agreed to support our local Ukrainian guests. Without this course our Ukrainian friends who want to improve their English, would have had to try to find places in ESOL courses in other towns, which for many would have been very difficult to access.   This special arrangement by the Henley College demonstrates the best of Henley’s community spirit in helping where the need is.”

The College are offering 3 hours of study for each student, 1.5 hours on a Tuesday or Thursday split into 3 classes depending on their level of English.  The lessons will continue to the end of the academic year with an examination at the end.  The level 3 students this week were doing a written assessment task where they had to choose the correct word(s) to fit into a sentence.

Vice Principal of The Henley College, Eamonn Egan said, “We invited the potential students in to see if there was a reasonable group and there was 42.  We did an assessment and have put them into 3 groups.   We decided to do this because it was a community piece of work and we’re purposefully working with a broader range of stakeholders than just employers.  We’re doing more community work than we have been, working with civic partners, and working with other education partners including Greener Henley.  This is a good community project.”

Teacher, Krystyna Gorbatkova who has been recruited to run the classes explained, “The ability to speak English is important and vital. In everyday life this is what our students start with in the terms of their skills development but if they want to find a well paid job they need to know English pretty well. You can’t live without it here.”

Afisa who came to the UK in May 2022.  She said, “I’m working part-time in Cecilia Quinn, couldn’t speak English only very basic words.    I did the course last year.  It’s easier when you’re in an English speaking society you can improve your English every day by speaking to people.  I think better speaking. Job helps with it.  Interact with customers helps me a lot.  My weakness is probably my writing because I don’t write very often.  I found this writing assessment quite hard after a break and some of the questions were quite tricky.”

Alina who has been in the UK for 18 months added, “I came with my sister who is studying with me.  I spoke a bit of English before I came. I did the classes last year.  I need more practice especially with writing.  I worked in a coffee shop but now they have less customers so I’m looking for another job.  I want to improve my English and get a better job because I had some previous experience in Ukraine when I did some paper jobs and sales jobs.  I need to improve my English to get the same job.”

Some of the students are looking for accommodation in Henley after having to leave their initial host.  If you have an annexe, studio or flat to rent, please get in touch with us here at the Herald news@henleyherald.com and we can pass your details on.

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