Students are at the heart of everything we do at Harris Academy Morden, and it was with this in mind that The Language Centre and International Corridor were opened at the very centre of our academy during the Autumn Term to ensure that students arriving from other cultures immediately feel secure and welcome.
With more than 30% of our students speaking English as an additional language and with more than 33 different languages spoken by students and staff, celebrating and embracing our diverse mix of cultures and languages and the inclusive nature of our school and community is very important.
Students receive in-class support, withdrawal sessions or an English Immersion programme which is personalised and closely monitored so that it meets the needs of all individual students, encourages efforts and celebrates successes. As well as supporting Key Stage 3 students to quickly acquire the language skills necessary to succeed, we offer GCSEs in many Community Languages to our Key Stage 4 students. This year, EAL students from Years 10 and 11 have taken additional GCSE exam in community languages such as Polish, Urdu, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Spanish, French and Turkish.
We were pleased to host many special guests at the TLC Grand Opening and to take the opportunity to strengthen our ties with the wider community. The ribbon was cut to formally open the sparkling new centre by Imam Naseem Bajwa of the Amadyan Mosque, Siobhain McDonagh, the MP for Mitcham and Morden, and Slawek Szczepanski from the Association for Polish families.
Fazelghani Safi, a Year 11 student originally from Afghanistan, said: ‘In Afghanistan I never went to school, so when I came to Harris Academy everything was new to me. When I started school here I didn’t speak any English. All my teachers worked very hard to help me learn English quickly. In the future, I would like to be an electrician, so I am going to apply for college.’
Our Principal, Mr Lee Mallin, explained the motivation behind the TLC, saying ‘we must ensure that no child is left behind and that language barriers are not held as an accepted reason why students cannot succeed. This is one small step in our continued journey to Outstanding in record time.’