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how to find out about free English courses for au pair?

(18 Posts)
MizZan Thu 24-Jul-08 21:05:56

Is it still the case that free English courses are offered for EU citizens (including au pairs) - I am looking for info on this for the town where I live, Cambridge, and coming up with nothing? Any pointers much appreciated.

midnightexpress Thu 24-Jul-08 21:09:13

I'd be very surprised! When were they ever free? Cambridge choc full of language schools of course, but I've never heard of free classes. I used to work in a school which did offer cheaper classes for au pairs at the less popular times (ie afternoons) but still pretty pricey. As far as I remember, the host families usually used to pay as part of the package. This was Hampstead, though, so I guess they could afford to grin.

Julesnobrain Thu 24-Jul-08 21:19:37

Hi they used to be free, subsidised by the government for EU citizens. It stopped about 2 years ago and now you / or the au pair has to pay. I have found whilst private colleges are more expensive they are flexible with start dates

MizZan Thu 24-Jul-08 21:22:05

Ah - that explains it Jules. Thank you. The private ones are all so expensive in Cambridge that it's incredible - we said we'd pay half for our au pair but the cost from her perspective is going to look quite alarming.

midnightexpress Thu 24-Jul-08 21:29:34

MizZan, have you tried any of the local authority FE colleges? They usually offer classes too, andit might be a cheaper option, though less flexibility re start dates I would imagine.

catepilarr Thu 24-Jul-08 22:18:10

there are still free classes available somewhere - just have seen a sign this weekend in inverness. i know that does not help you. i would imagine that in cambridge there are so many private courses that noone bothers to run the free one.

Millarkie Fri 25-Jul-08 10:29:41

Mizzan, I have found a couple of language courses in Cambridge which aren't very expensive - 3 hours a week for £25 a week IIRC. My au pair arrives in 3 weeks so I'm hoping to get her onto one of these courses.
I did find some local authority run courses but they were not in convenient places/times for us...even cheaper though.

LIZS Fri 25-Jul-08 10:39:18

Agree try local FE college or google for ESOL/EFL courses , they should be enrolling now. She may well be able to claim a rebate as a EU citizen.

Simply Fri 25-Jul-08 12:23:44

My next ap is coming from an EU country so won't have to pay for her English language class in our local FE college. The rate was pretty reasonable iirc even if she did have to pay. Dh said that this was due to the subsidies being paid as we're classed as a deprived area or somesuch. My last ap went to some free art classes, too.

SqueakyPop Fri 25-Jul-08 13:09:20

You have to check out your local colleges. Ours were free until last year. Now they are only free if the EU citizen is under 19.

There is no obligation for host families to pay for classes, although many do. I don't think it is a bad thing to make a contribution, but I would not recommend paying for classes outright and upfront.

MizZan Sun 27-Jul-08 18:44:35

Millarkie - I would love to hear from you about the courses you've found in Camb. if you're still watching this, and also maybe we could introduce the au pairs, esp. if you live in town? ours is German, 19 years old. She's coming in mid-September, about 2 weeks after we move back from the States, so I imagine we're pretty much going to be in a state of chaos and would love to plan what I can ahead of time to help her get acclimated.

I haven't managed to find any free courses at all...we've said we'll pay 50% of the course fees, agree with you Squeaky that it is not a good idea to pay for classes upfront though we did do that once for someone who we had met and liked a lot but really really needed a crash language course in order to be much use to us...I don't know how much it helped her, but she was certainly very grateful for the opportunity. Wouldn't do it for someone coming over sight unseen though (which is the case with the current one).

Millarkie Sun 27-Jul-08 19:00:20

Hi Mizzan - I'll look up the info on the courses for you - Our au pair is also German (from Dresden) and is 22 years old - is arriving in 3 weeks (panic - we haven't got her room ready yet and both my kids are sick) We don't live in central Cambridge, we are in a village south of Cambridge but intend on sending au pair into Cambridge for college course and entertainment so they might like to meet up anyway.
The course I'm most interested in is during the day (11.30-1pm I think) twice a week...we need ap between 8.30 and 9 and between 3.45 and 6 so middle of the day course is best for us...but 2 local aps are doing an evening course (3 hours once a week I think) for (i think) £25 a week. Their 'employers' prefer this because it guarentees them a quiet family evening. I also found one that's £35 per week for 5 hours...this is from memory..I'll find out the names of the colleges for you.

I think I found local authority courses at the Hills Rd college, which were reasonable cost but not hours that our ap would be able to do.

MizZan Sun 27-Jul-08 20:56:47

hi millarkie - thank you for this. I think I saw that 11:30-1 one (New School?) but my youngest is in half-day nursery and I don't know the hours yet but suspect we'll need AP available to do pickups or dropoffs at that time. Our previous APs all did evening courses and that seemed to work well.

if you wanted to email me off line it's amrehak at yahoo dot com. would be great to get them together. am a bit concerned about mine as she has no AP experience, only babysitting, and it's her first extended stay abroad - hopefully it will all be fine but I'm sure a friend from the same country would help a lot.

hope the sick kiddos get better soon...

Millarkie Sun 27-Jul-08 21:11:08

Mizzan -I've emailed you.

SqueakyPop Sun 27-Jul-08 21:17:50

We've only had one experience of an evening course and it was not good. Our aupair was the only AP on the course and the only young person - everyone else was working during the day and were much older. They also tended to be non-European. In addition, my aupair decided that she did not want to be out in the dark (I suspect the makeup of the course was the main reason, but dark is a valid reason not to like a course).

This was the one course that we actually paid for. I think if the aupair pays herself, she is more likely to stick with it.

We have found that the best courses are the ones in the middle of the day - Aupair Central in our area. It's really hard to go wrong.

Millarkie Sun 27-Jul-08 22:25:38

SqueakyPop - I was just trying to decide whether evening courses were better than day ones. The other au pairs round here go to an evening course but that means that they aren't available for babysitting on those nights and evening babysitting is a big part of why we want an au pair.

SqueakyPop Sun 27-Jul-08 22:31:14

It all depends on what is available in your area. I suspect if aupairs do evening courses it is because there is not a convenient daytime course, or perhaps it does not cost as much.

Millarkie Sun 27-Jul-08 22:54:27

Nope, both courses available and evening one costs more. I've spoken to the families (mums not au pairs) and it's because they like to have their evenings au-pair-free...but I'm thinking that's not for me. Think I'd rather have au-pair around in evening and busy during day.
We have no streetlights here so getting home would be by torchlight - very dark!

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