The war in Ukraine has had a long-lasting effect on many, but none more so than the refugees that have had to flee their homes in search of safety. They leave behind their familiar cultural norms, language, and in some cases, loved ones.
The transition period for any refugee entering a new life in the UK is sure to be difficult, but for refugees arriving in Staffordshire, new measures have been put in place to help them integrate into their new community more easily and learn the local language.
As part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme to provide safe environments for Ukrainian refugees with host families, FlashAcademy have partnered with Staffordshire County Council.
The partnership will allow Ukrainian refugees living in Staffordshire to gain access to English language learning and develop their knowledge in the local language, with ease. Staffordshire County Council joins the ranks of over 950 schools and colleges currently using the FlashAcademy platform, helping over 250,000 people to learn English from 48 home languages.
We recently appointed Viktoria Atamas into our Customer Success team, specifically to ensure that Ukrainian refugees have access to the platform and that the project delivery is running smoothly.
Part of Viktoria’s role at FlashAcademy will be proactively reaching out to both Ukrainians arriving in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme and their host families to make sure they will be able to access the learning tools, including the FlashAcademy app. Ukrainian adults are able to access the FlashAcademy ESOL platform used by colleges, and children are able to access the EAL platform used in schools.
Viktoria herself only recently arrived in the UK in May 2022 as a refugee from Ukraine. Because of this, she has a unique understanding of the difficulties other refugees face.
Speaking on these struggles, Viktoria said:
“English skills can be a big barrier for Ukrainians in the UK – whether that’s simple things like going to the supermarket or booking a doctor’s appointment, or more complex things like finding a job and going to school. The Homes for Ukraine project with Staffordshire Council is a good opportunity for all Ukrainians to learn English, improve their English language and build confidence to find a job or make friends at school.”
Access to the language-learning platform is likely to be life-changing for many refugees entering the UK via the scheme, allowing them to get jobs, socialise, and otherwise integrate with the local community. This comes at a time where a good support network is so crucial, with many refugees being separated from their loved ones.
Veejay Lingiah, CEO and Co-Founder of FlashAcademy spoke on the partnership with Staffordshire County Council:
“We’re extremely proud to be able to support Ukrainian refugees alongside Staffordshire County Council. Whilst our app was originally designed to ensure that no learner is held back by a language barrier in schools & colleges, we have found more and more uses to support refugees due to international events. Right now, that is supporting Ukrainians, but in the past that has been Afghans and Syrians when they arrived in the UK. It’s impossible to understand what these people are going through right now, but it is great to see Staffordshire County Council proactively helping newly arrived refugees to learn English and integrate into the community.”
In the first two months of working with Staffordshire County Council Viktoria has already made contact with and onboarded over 90 Ukrainian refugees onto the platform and we’ve already had some great feedback.
The FlashAcademy Learning & Publishing team have also created a free Ukrainian EAL Resource pack which includes a comprehensive Ukrainian EAL welcome pack, suitable for learners who are new to English in KS1-KS4, and a Ukrainian Learner Profile for teachers to use as a guide for understanding how Ukrainian differs from English in terms of grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and writing.