Florentine Bootha-King (right) and Hazel Greene (left) pictured here with Pauline Markham, the Mayor of Barnsley.

(August 2019)


June 2019 Event

ELSH has conducted another outing, as part of its teaching and learning, to visit the “Library @ the Lightbox” in Barnsley. This is part of the learning skills and is at the heart of the community.

ELSH's students had a day of training from Be Cancer Safe the Health Care Team from Barnsley and Rotherham. Students were taught about how they can reduce the risk of Breast; Cervical and Prostate Cancer. A demonstration was given and leaflet with translations into different languages were also provided for the students to take away for reference and continued knowledge.

In August 2019, the students, Trustees and volunteers of ELSH all attended a ceremony at Barnsley Town Hall. This was a day of celebration for all our student achievement after 10 weeks of learning. The event went especially well and certificates were handed out by Pauline Markham, the Mayor of Barnsley. A Barnsley Chronicle newspaper report was written about the event. Everybody attending was very happy, and the evening went well.


From 2018 the percentage of student achieving Entry 2 or above in reading, writing and math was well below the 75% local average. At just 43%, drastic changes were needed to improve student progress. A change of approach was required. A key move in bringing about the change was joining the Network where Barnsley Local Television were introduced to ELSH to work in partnership and start recording the teaching and to produce a series of the Film Club programme.

The Barnsley Local Television made a lot of effort to make sure that videoing practice was phased in positively. They made it part of ELSH’s CPD strategy and volunteer teacher were informed that it was all about moving them forward in supporting them to spent time building trust with student and gave them the option to be videoed and didn’t make any of it compulsory.

We knew we wanted to get teachers talking to each other more and sharing their expertise, and BTL Connect Film Club was a great opportunity to do this.

“There is a danger that volunteering teaching can become an isolated activity. Volunteer teachers tend to go into their classroom on their own, teach and plan on their own and then reflect in order to make improvements on their own. Feedback can be minimal and hard to gather.”

ELSH Provision and Student Future Transition

While good community provision does exist, classes held at ELSH often need to be better supported, with better facilities, more experienced teachers who can offer their time to volunteer with teaching in literacy. There is a greater range of provision that are needed to bridge the gap between ELSH student and the college. The continuation of ELSH student progress will need a transition facility to college. This could take progress steps to strengthen links between our provision and exchanges students to develop further learning. This transition would enable students to switch from community centres to the college provision.

Therefore, exchanging ideas and strategies as well as trialling new methods and ways of teaching. It’s made professional learning fun and easy and, as a result, ELSH culture will become more collaborative and open.

Unpredictable/ Differentiation Issues at ELSH

Reasons for illiteracy are various. It may result from living in extremely poor countries or regions where there are no schools within reach or living in a war zone. Family or individual situations may have led to poverty. Unemployment or the death of a parent, or even divorce, may increase the risk that some of our student have remain illiterate. In such cases, some of our student may either have to substitute their mother or father in their own household and as carer of their siblings or earn a living outside the family.

Case Studies Our Impact In Barnsley Communities

In 2017 Yousufa from Afghanistan Yousufa came to England as an asylum seeker 3 years ago when he was 27, with his wife and two children. Recently his application for asylum was granted. He is now allowed to work in England and is desperately looking for a job to make a living for himself and his family. Like over 50% of male adults and over 87% percent of female adults in Afghanistan (UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2016), Yousufa did not go to school. In Afghanistan he worked as a mechanic for many years, learning from a master of the trade, like many illiterate male immigrants. While in Afghanistan he was a craftsman sustaining his family, but in England it is hard for him to get a job because of his low level of literacy. As he needs to support his family, Yousufa cannot spend years going to school. He needs to get a job soon and has to improve his language skills while working. Yousufa began his entry one course with no knowledge of reading and writing at all. He had not been to school in Afghanistan and cannot read his first language. Since Spring 2019 he has been attending ELSH five days a week completing ten hours. Although Yousufa has made good progress during his 9 months as a student on the ESOL course, his reading and writing are still uncertain. His oral language skills are at a very basic level. He still needs to improve his oral skills, most urgently for use at work. And he is especially interested in written texts related to working life. But since he has a family, he also wants to be able to deal with matters concerning their life in England. Yousufa faces discrimination when looking for a job. He finds that his English or his literacy skills are not good enough, even if the job does not require a high level of language competence.


To support newcomers in Barnsley and to tackle the isolation crisis Provide Education support and work together with other organisation to give vital support to people to have a voice, and the right to a safe and secure place they can call home.”