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Non-english speaker children moving to the UK

(11 Posts)
Ciculita Wed 04-Jan-17 19:29:30

Hi all
I am moving to the UK in march (Surrey) due to a job transfer and I am feeling a little nervous about my DDs starting primary school.
They will be 9 and 6 by then and do not speak english at all.
Do schools offer any type of support in the first months?
Does anyone have any experience on this kind of situation? Any advise will be very much appreciated.
Thank you

britainteascones Wed 04-Jan-17 20:17:44

I think your six year old will be fine, they're young so the English will still be at a low level anyway. The 9 year old may have more difficulties as the level of speaking is generally higher at this age, but i'm sure the school would be able to help you. Which country are you moving from [out of curiosity]?

Ciculita Wed 04-Jan-17 20:34:11

Thank you for your reply Scones. Moving from Italy.. They were both born in the UK, but we've been in Italy for the past 4 years. DD1 use to speak english, but I am afraid she has forgotten it all.

britainteascones Wed 04-Jan-17 20:53:26

Well 9 is still quite young so I'm sure with some practice over the course of the next few years she could definitely build her English up. Play English TV programmes with Italian subtitles, have her listen to British Pop music if she may be interested in that, there are lots of games for children which help build up language skills in a fun way. And the app Duolingo is very good for learning languages too. There is quite a lot out there if you search for it, especially with the addition of being in an English speaking school I am sure that in a few years time she will be chattering away to you in English. Obviously just make sure the school is well aware and I'm sure they'll aid her any way they can. Good luck.

MeetTheMartian Wed 04-Jan-17 20:57:31

I have seen a few children in our primary school arriving and not speaking a word of English. Actually dc1 had a frpownd who started mid Y7 form a very similar situation than you.
A year on, they all speak perfect English and have no issue at all.

In primary, they did use a tablet to help with translation to start with and paired the child with another to 'help' them (not always the same child).

You will be amazed at how quickly children learn. Much more quickly than us adults!
Besides, if your dc1 was speaking English before, even if they have forgotten, it will come back easily smile

Good luck.

In a few months, your issue will be for them not to forget their Italian so they can stay bilingual!

tadjennyp Wed 04-Jan-17 23:07:11

I had a student arrive from Italy in the middle of y9 who could speak barely any English who is now completely fluent and studying for GCSEs in French and Spanish. I would have no worries.

Ciculita Thu 05-Jan-17 20:14:49

Thank you so much everyone. Very reassuring knowing that 9 is not too late for adapting well! grin

PovertyJetset Thu 05-Jan-17 20:28:14

Not too late at all but-

One parent one language at home- so if you're the native enlightened speaker you speak that exclusively and your partner is the Italian then they speak that.

Practice at home, get post it's and stick them on everyday items around the house

Encourage full spoken utterances and not single words. Model for her- so "drink!" Should be @dribk PLEASE, then on to I need or I want a drink please

The oxford university press has an online grammar section which is shorts excerpts, exercises and tests. Start on them at home with her.

Phonic patterns and spellings will be different, use the longman active study dictionary as a good learners dictiosnary and have her look up new words, define and translate them.

Read read read. In Italian and in English. Reading comprehension and inferentially skills are hard to teach but being an avid reader is the bedrock of this.

Usborne 1000 words is a simple picture distionary your younger child might like.

The British Council has lots of online games and exercises for your children to do.

Social language is apparent within 2 years and children will present with excellent conversational langUge and skills. Academic, sophisticated language skills take a further 5, and require lots of support.

If you're a motivated and engaged parent and the school is good, your children will do even better than their monolingual peers.

Heathen4Hire Thu 05-Jan-17 20:39:05

My daughter's now best friend moved to London from Spain when she was 6. Her mum speaks good English but Spanish is spoken at home. My daughter was asked by their teacher to sit with her and help her if she needed it. Four years later they have a very good bond.

My daughter's friend can now speak very good English. If the friend has trouble with a word she shows DD the word in Spanish, either a picture, or finds it in a Spanish/English dictionary. DD knows a bit of Spanish as a result! The friend is a keen reader and has now read Harry Potter in both languages!

Treetophouses Sat 14-Jan-17 14:48:11

An important thing to remember I think is that it is very very tiring to adapt to a new environment and language. I did as a young adult and I needed a lot of downtime and sleep during the first few months. So I'd say don't overburden with tutoring or loads of extra reading to start with. Let them settle and have fun and feel positive about the move first. I wouldn't start speaking English at home straight away either, just keep home a place where they can chill out and feel they understand and can say everything they want without struggling with language. Honestly, the language will come quickly if they're in full time education

Member652554 Thu 13-Apr-17 22:03:18

Unless your children have specific learning difficulties they should be able to pick up the language easily. We moved both as children and as teenagers and both times integrated well into the education system and did not well academically. I wouldn't worry. Encourage reading in the new language and play dates . Keep it fun and engaging and the rest will come .

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