Top London school’s lessons for Ukrainian child refugees

·2 min read
Aidan Sproat-Clements, assistant head of Alleyn’s school in Dulwich (Handout)
Aidan Sproat-Clements, assistant head of Alleyn’s school in Dulwich (Handout)

One of London’s top private schools is running English lessons for newly arrived Ukrainian child refugees.

The £22,000-a-year Alleyn’s school in Dulwich has set aside a classroom and four teachers to provide intensive language lessons for youngsters arriving from the war-torn country unable to speak English in the hope they will help them settle.

The lessons start after school and are aimed at children with very low levels of English who are still awaiting full time state school places.

It is one of a number of initiatives launched by Alleyn’s after the war broke out.

Headteacher Jane Lunnon, who has taken in a Ukrainian mother and daughter to her own home, said the school was “determined to help” as soon as news of the war broke out.

Assistant head Aidan Sproat-Clements said: “Caring for individuals is core to what we are as a school. The crisis is still here. We grow more used to the war but it is still very present.”

The school is also using its funds to pay for a number of school places for Ukrainian refugees, including two siblings aged seven and nine who joined the junior school this term. They are being sponsored by a local church.

Four more Ukrainian students are set to join the school in the coming weeks in years seven, eight and the sixth form. The free places are guaranteed until the end of the next academic year. A “hybrid model” will also be launched for teenagers with just one year left of their Ukrainian schooling who want to complete their studies and earn their “Atestat” school leaving certificate.

They will study online — often taught by their Ukrainian teachers remotely — in the morning. When those lessons finish they will join Alleyn’s for the afternoon.

Mr Sproat-Clements said: “These pupils will get the rounder benefits of school life — making friends, being active, getting away from staring at screens all day long — but when they return home they will have completed their studies.”

Mr Sproat-Clements said the Ukrainian students have settled into the school well, and parents of other pupils have said it has had a positive effect on their own children.

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