Anyone else encountered this regarding a child who doesn't speak English

(51 Posts)
MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:26

Basically ds is in reception and recently a child has joined the class who speaks no english and so every day his parent and a translator accompany the child and stay all day with him.

Its a small class - only 15 children and I've never encountered this before and wondered if it was usual?

It seems to be unsettling for all concerned hence my query? I just wondered if anyone had experienced it how long it went on for . . .

sparkle12mar08 Wed 14-Nov-12 18:09:56

Are they both CRB checked? Not that they're worth anything more then the paper they're written on, but I'd feel very uncomfortable with two unknown adults in the class all day every day.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 18:10:27

It's unusual in my experience for a parent and translator be there every day.

GateGipsy Wed 14-Nov-12 18:13:46

never heard of it! Lots of children start at son's school with no English. They basically learn it as they go, mostly by playing with other children, and with a little bit of extra support from the school. Is this child particularly well off? Who pays for the translator!?

SchrodingersSexKitten Wed 14-Nov-12 18:14:22

sparkle

no over-reaction there!

HecatePropylaea Wed 14-Nov-12 18:18:00

Perhaps the parent is there in the short term while the child adjusts a bit, gets to feel comfortable with their surroundings and the translator and eventually it will be just the translator until the child can understand english?

Sounds very strange to me, I live in the Netherlands and my dd 4 started school in January speaking no Dutch, she does extra Dutch lessons but certainly does not have a translator. How old is the child? DD has picked up the language very well she often complemented by her class mates and their parents obviously she still has a long way to go just like her mother.

CindySherman Wed 14-Nov-12 18:18:23

I think that is absolutely ridiculous !
I went to school in Italy for 3 years as a child and just got thrown in - you soon learn...

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:21:50

Well I think its odd but the child is apparently hysterical if the parent even goes to the loo - kicking/screaming etc.

I feel very much for the child and the parent but it just seems odd to me. Also very hard on the teacher.

TigerFeet Wed 14-Nov-12 18:21:57

There's LOADS of children round here that start school with no English, there's a big transient Eastern European population. No translators or parents in class, god it would be chaos, there could be ten children with five different languages between them in each class, can you imagine!!

I think that the fairest thing for the parent to do would be to teach English at home, ideally before they start school. Otherwise I would imagine that total immersion at school would be the quickest way to learn. Certainly dd's friends learned quickly and now speak English as well as their peers.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:22:48

Teh child was only 4 in the summer so young for the year too and I totally get it must be very unsettling - new school/country/language etc.

gwenniebee Wed 14-Nov-12 18:25:23

That sounds most unusual. I've taught lots of kids with no English in a mainstream class. Two adults seems doubly ott hmm

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:30:05

I'm glad its not just me who thinks its strange. The teacher said it will go on for as long as necessary so we'll see. It also wasn't communicated to parents and I only sort of realised after my DS started wanting me to stay and I began to wonder who the 2 random people in the class were.

HecatePropylaea Wed 14-Nov-12 18:30:12

But if a child knows no english - how do they access the curriculum? They're basically sat there for god knows how long a time, day in day out, not understanding a thing.

Far better to have translators in the short term, imo.

MrsC, perhaps there are additional things, not related to the language barrier? My sons behaviour has been known to be rather extreme grin - they have autism.

It could be this child has additional needs.

It could equally be they're simply terrified. New country. New people. Everyone's speaking gobbledegook...

MousyMouse Wed 14-Nov-12 18:30:21

maybe the child has sen?

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:37:49

Could be but the school is umm not known for having many children with SEN needs there (its private if that makes a difference)

Hecate - the teacher has said she's just carrying on as normal with the curriculum so yes I did wonder how much use it was to the child. But then in my eldest's class last year we had a boarder who spoke very little enlish but she picked it up very very quickly.

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Wed 14-Nov-12 18:41:07

I would go with what ever works for the best with my child. If the child is happy and doing the work great.

I would wounder if the two people are really bodyguards and what the child has been thru to be in the UK but im great at make believe.

As long as your child is happy at school i dont see the problem.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:43:08

Well my child hasn't been happy this last week - hence me probing a bit to find out what had changed. He wants me at school, screaming at drop off and he's not the only one.

But and this is a big but - we can manage this and its fine but I guess I'd have appreciated a little heads-up from the school about what was going to happen.

TigerFeet Wed 14-Nov-12 18:43:39

I wondered that myself Hecate. I have no first hand experience but I know that children in dd's class don't seem to have suffered long term because of it - although the majority started in Reception where I suppose it isn't quite so critical if a child can't immediately access the curriculum. I'm sure there have been non-English speakers entering higher up the school and also at secondary, that must be far harder. Polish, Lithuanian, Lativan etc wouldn't be so bad as there are plenty of children fluent in both languages but speakers of languages that are less common would obviously struggle.

I think it's so hard on the children, which is why I wonder why parents dont teach at least a little English before the child starts school.

That said, I have a mate who went to a French speaking Swiss school aged 8 or so, she told me that she found the first few weeks hard but soon picked up the language and is now fluent in about 4 or 5 European languages, so it's actually been an advantage for her in the long term.

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Wed 14-Nov-12 18:56:34

But this happens all the time in Wales.

The council open a Welsh specking school in an English speaking village and then fill the new school with all the children in the village and surround area to increase the number of Welsh speaking adults. The down side is the parents cant help with homework or read the school reports but the children pick it up fast and help the adults learn Welsh as well.

It must be hard at 3 but then all the other children are learning how to talk write and read as well so i dont see the need for the parent to be there. Parent or translator but why both?

anothercuppaplease Wed 14-Nov-12 19:03:32

DH works in a primary school and the child has access to translator for the first few weeks, part time, to help with settling in.

He told me that the only time he'd ever expect a parent and a translator to be in would be if the other parent had died, and the child is particularely upset, or the other parent is very ill. It is unusual, but he's had this in his class a couple of years ago. Year 1, a mum had moved to the UK after the dad died in a country affected by conflict, and their little girl was very unsettled so she had both her mum and a translator to help with the process. There was also other support in place.

ClareMarriott Thu 15-Nov-12 09:01:42

Mrs C

What nationality is the child and their mother ? If the mother is accompanying her child daily , is it because she has difficulty with English hence why the translator comes too ?

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 09:06:39

In a private school doesn't sound odd at all to me, OP, DS went to a private school with high levels of SN and many of the parents helped out in own child's class(es).

Why is it so unsettling?

Czech language & Welsh school example: that's totally different, many children are joining with a common language (English or Czech) and the teachers are dealing with similar language needs & deficits.

LadyMargolotta Thu 15-Nov-12 09:11:21

I've never heard of this happening. I do wonder if SEN are involved. I wouldn't expect the parents of the other children to be informed.

I think it can be extremely intimidating for a small child to go into a school full of strangers and not understand a word they are saying. Many adults are too scared to do that.

Having said that, the main problem is, if the child has a translator, then this may stop them learning the language.

CheungFun Thu 15-Nov-12 09:11:52

My DH had a translator at school when he returned to the UK as he didn't speak any English. I can't imagine a child not knowing the language and not having a translator either, I'm not sure I could learn a language just by hearing it [ confused]

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