Doesn’t the Lord work in mysterious ways? The idea of an English language school at Saint Paul’s Church was far from everybody’s minds in 2006. People were focused more on the impending economic catastrophe. At that time there was also a lot of talk about political and economic refugees and how there seemed to be a growing problem of integration within merging communities. One of the keys to this problem appeared to be the language barrier. Didn’t we all know that this problem has already occurred more than 2300 years ago and the situation prompted us to remember the story of ziggurats and the Tower of Babel on the plains of Babylonia, although of course, this particular one had crumbled for a different reason!
Mark Melluish, the vicar at St. Paul’s church was approached in October 2005 with the idea of starting conversation classes at the church to improve the English of new arrivals in West London. He was very supportive of the idea and asked us to go away and produce a business plan.
Fast forward to January 2006 and small groups of students assembled and were given conversation classes according to their different levels of ability by a group of volunteer native English speakers at the church. We very soon realised however, that the need was greater than we had anticipated and in order to be more effective, the classes should be organised as they would be in a conventional English school. We also realised that running the school from the Community Centre opposite Saint Paul’s Church was no longer a viable situation.
The school now teaches English and Literacy on Monday and Wednesday evenings at Elthorne Park High School. We have a Teacher Training program in place and all of our staff are volunteers. Many of our teachers are already qualified and experienced and some have more recently qualified in teaching English. In addition to the above, we offer many other training programs aimed at enhancing life for our students in the UK. More than 1200 students have passed through our gates thus far, improving both their work situations and earnings potential and thereby transforming both their own and their families lives in British society. We trust and pray that the Lord will continue to guide us in our work at the Ealing Community School of English.