Why supplementary education

Supplementary education is good for bilingual children

A never ending string of research papers shows the benefits for children who receive a good foundation in their heritage language and culture.

Being able to speak one language fluently and with confidence is the basis on which further languages are acquired, writing and reading skills transfer between languages and there is a plethora of additional cognitive and wellbeing benefits connected to being bilingual and firmly grounded in a bilingual identity.

Supplementary education is good for parents and families

Most parents want to be able to talk to their children in the language in which they can express themselves best. Even when children at some point only use the environment language, parents often continue to speak to them in their heritage language, out of need, want or as a conscious decision.

Also, the child’s wider family may not be fluent in its other language or not understand it at all. In these cases the heritage language is the only gateway for children to be able to communicate with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and learn about their roots.

Supplementary education is good for the community

Parents who set up groups and schools for their bilingual children find themselves interacting with wider circles in mainstream society. They have to look for a place to run their group, set up a bank account, write policies and procedures, learn about insurance and taxes, finally incorporate their groups and take up training on safeguarding. Frequently, the teaching is done by parents without a regular background in teaching who learn and train on the job.

Parents gain the skill set similar of an entrepreneur as essentially they are running a small sized social enterprise, while a number of teachers who started in a supplementary school study and become teachers in mainstream schools.

Supplementary education is good for mainstream schools

Teacher in classroom
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

It is no news news to teachers with an interest in English as an Additional Language (EAL) that some of the brightest students in their schools are multilingual, performing highly not only in languages, but in maths and other subjects as well.

Bilingual children who receive instructions on reading and writing in their home languages are excellent candidates for achieving high grades in GCSE and A Level language examinations. These children have spent their whole lives learning their home languages in real live and supplementary schools, and therefore have a wide vocabulary, advanced grammar and often highly developed meta-linguistic understanding.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Supplementary education is good for the country

The ability to speak foreign languages and interact culturally appropriately with people with international backgrounds is needed in many areas of business, society and public life in the UK. Teachers welcome new students and parents, healthcare workers need to understand their patients’ complaints, members of the judicial system interact with witnesses, victims and perpetrators. Research and trade are big in the UK and crucially dependent on connections, trust and collaborations as speaking the partner’s language and understanding their culture help enormously in laying the foundations.

Bilingually and bi-culturally educated children are in a unique position to fulfill these needs in particular in languages that are not usually taught and studied in mainstream schools.

Supplementary education is good for the child

Speaking in tongues: the many benefits of bilingualism (theconversation.com, 2015)

There are also drawbacks to being bilingual (theconversation.com, 2016)

Read to kids in Spanish: it will help their English (phys.org, 2019)

The financial benefits of being bilingual (phys.org., 2019)

The shame carried by receptive bilinguals we don’t talk about (N G Radley blog, 2020)

4 easy steps to help you conquer receptive bilingualism (studybreaks.com, 2020)

At-risk learners and bilingualism: Is it a good idea? (colorin.colorado, 2016)

Why bilinguals may have a memory advantage (theconversation, 2023)

Supplementary education is good for parents and families

Parental perceptions and decisions regarding maintaining bilingualism in autism (J Autism Dev Disorders, 2020)

When my mother said she was lonely, I knew I had to relearn my Bengali language (The Guardian, 2020)

Resources for parents Website PEaCH, Preserving and promoting Europe’s cultural and linguistic heritage through empowerment of bilingual children and families

Supplementary education is good for the community

Coronavirus meets linguistic diversity: Language on the Move (blog All Things Linguistic, 2020)

Business forward AUC (2020)

Supplementary education is good for mainstream schools

Gender gap widens and 2 more 2019 key stage 2 SATs results findings (schoolsweek.co.uk, 2019)

EAL pupils’ table-topping GCSE results: miracle or mirage? (tes.com, 2018)

Bilingualism – Bilingual students achieve better exam results than monolinguals (communicaid.com, 2011)

Educational outcomes of children with English as an additional language (The Bell Foundation)

PEaCH for Educators Website PEaCH, Preserving and promoting Europe’s cultural and linguistic heritage through empowerment of bilingual children and families

Supplementary education is good for the country

Schools lean on staff who speak students’ language to keep English learners connected (edweek.org, 2020)

Drop the negative spin on kids who start school bilingual – they are a rich source for the future (theconversation.com, 2014)

How I got to medical school via A&E and the chicken shop (bbc.com, 2019)

The importance of bilingualism on the campaign trail (bbc, 2019)

British business will need its foreign language speakers (ft.com, 2017)

Language ability and entrepreneurship education: Necessary skills for Europe’s start-ups? (J Int Entrep, 2018)

Police recruitment drive focusses on foreign language needs (granthammatters.co.uk, 2018)

Multi Level Assessment – Defence Academy of the UK (accessed 2021)

There isn’t good data on how much the NHS spends on translators (fullfact.org, 2019)

How language, cultural identity can affect pain (sciencedaily.com, 2020)

The cultural language of pain: A South African study (S Afr Fam Prac, 2015)