An innovative group of Glasgow Kelvin College’s Level 4 ESOL students have been busy gaining their Community Achievement Awards and helping to spotlight the importance of partnership working during lockdown!
Glasgow Life has supported the Glasgow Kelvin College students, all of whom are parents of children at St Roch’s Primary, to work with the school to provide storytelling sessions to the younger primary pupils. It not only relaxes the children and gives them a bit of light relief, but is helping the students to improve their English language skills.
A mixture of Farsi, Arabic, French and Tamil-speaking residents, many of the students already have gained skills and qualifications in their country of origin but discovered that their qualifications aren’t recognised in the UK.
Taking on the storytelling project, they hoped to give something back to their new community and the initiative presented itself as a perfect vehicle for them to practice a new language and undertake their Community Achievement Awards.
Over several weeks, the students worked together to identify and rehearse the chosen reading material and then delivered a delightful in-person storytelling session to the eager St Roch’s pupils. They also recorded their stories so that these can be heard again and again.
Two of the learners are now volunteering for the Healthy Living Initiative by cooking and providing their products in the Royston Community Pantry. Another is going on to study Health & Social Care at Glasgow Kelvin College and a further two have been recording their storytelling in their first language to feature on Youtube as part of the city-wide ‘Families in Partnership’ Project.
And two more have had babies during lockdown – which still hasn’t stopped their appetite for learning!
The hard work of Margaret Ramsey, the Glasgow Life Family Support and Engagement Worker, has been central to the activity and success of the initiative. The project itself has been a very welcome confidence-boost for the students in building their resilience and feedback from the pupils and the school has been extremely positive.
The group were delighted to receive their Award certificates at a ceremony at Roystonhill Community Hub and are now looking forward to taking their studies to the next level.
The Community Achievement Award is a Scottish Credit & Qualification Framework accredited course which is designed to support, recognise and accredit learning and achievement in a community setting. The award is based around a 3 stage process:
- Planning – choosing an activity and setting milestones
- Implementing – carrying out the activity as outlined in the planning stage
- Evaluating – reviewing success, identifying learning and looking at the benefits to the self and others
The Awards are available up to SCQF level 7 (equivalent to an HNC).
As recognised qualifications, the award supports students to plan their next move - progressing into jobs or onto a college course. In addition, the students all agree that the project has helped them to integrate more quickly into their community and make friends through the school. In the words of one participant:
“This course has helped me be more involved in the community. Now I feel more in control.”
Laura Kennedy, Family Learning Officer, Glasgow Life, said:
“Our Family Support and Engagement Worker Margaret has a very strong relationship with the parents at Saint Roch’s Primary. She really went the extra mile in supporting the group to keep going during this challenging time. Meeting parents individually for walks or just outside their flats and helping with important issues such as accessing digital devices and free school meal payments meant that parents were then more able to think about furthering their own skills, and Margaret was very creative in considering new ways to deliver this learning during the pandemic.”
Tracy Leavy, Director of Curriculum for Health, Care and Community Learning & Development said;
“We’re delighted that this group of students have gained their Community Achievement Awards while not only studying another course at Glasgow Kelvin, but also supporting local children in their learning – storytelling is a marvellous way to bring cultures together.
We’re indebted to our school partner, St Roch’s Primary, and Glasgow Life for helping to drive this innovative project. In particular we are grateful to Margaret for helping the students to build capacity into their own community. This is precisely what the Community Achievement Awards are about. Our heartiest congratulations go to them all for their hard work.”
This success story for ESOL students is yet another example of Glasgow Kelvin College’s commitment to its communities as a community anchor, and the many strong partnerships which help local residents to flourish.