Saturday Homework Club (SHWC)
- Category: Our Programmes
Since 2004, we have been running this project to help refugee children who cannot afford to pay private tutorial fees. We use the expertise of children’s parents and local teachers to run this project. A number of volunteer former teachers and supply teachers are currently working with our club to support the project.
One of the areas of concern limiting refugee children’s academic achievements has been identified in the past as English language. With refugee children forming the majority of our Saturday Homework club, it has often been noted that potential learners had insufficient English language skills to successfully relate their actual and full academic support needs and so risked missing out on important subjects they might desperately need to learn in order to improve their chances to succeed in their respective schools. Care Link West Midlands has overcome this to a very large extent by employing multilingual volunteer teachers.
The Saturday Homework Club programme has been set up to help underachieving French speaking refugee children under 16 years of age from central Africa living in West Midlands (Birmingham, Sandwell and Coventry areas) to develop study skills learnt in their current schools placement. The programme helps children with literacy, numeracy, English and ICT difficulties so that they become motivated and enabled independent learners through after school activities during the year.
We meet with the children at the Parish of the Resurrection/Smethwick and at St. Margaret’s Church/Coventry on Saturdays to learn useful skills they need for their academic achievement. At both sites (Smethwick and Coventry), parents and children meet up with our volunteer teachers in the afternoon from 2.00pm to 4.00pm during the regular school year. Some other community members occasionally come to visit the club to be aware of what is going on and how things are being done.
The project runs classes in Maths, English and Science for underachieving refugee children from Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall and Coventry as well as giving extra support in reading and writing skills. The project also focuses on developing the children’s creative skills in writing, art/drama, improving their verbal communication skills, team-work and team building skills. We do organize every yearly educational trips to places of high educational influence like libraries, museums, parks, zoos, castles, etc.
1. Why Saturday Homework Club?
Teachers do not normally have enough time to tailor homework to the individual needs of each student especially those children whose English is a second language.
During a couple of meetings with parents to discuss issues related to children inclusion, a number of parents have shown interest in giving Care Link West Midlands responsibility to support our children with homework. They appear to have less time to spend with children during the week. As problems seem to be common for most children, putting them together in a classroom setting would make a difference.
2. What is being done?
- Care Link West Midlands works with these children with the help of their teachers to assign specialised homework that children enjoy and can complete successfully using an approach where their first language is the support of education. Care Link West Midlands offers mentor programmes to offer extra support beyond what home and school can give. Mentor programmes pair children with adult volunteers who assist with the children’s special needs, such as maths, language arts, health, English, science, tutoring or career advice.
- The programme makes connection between school work and Care Link West Midlands to bring meaning and fun to children’s homework experience.
3. GOALS OF THE PROGRAMME
- Help refugee children whose English is a second language to be in school ready to learn.
- Help year 3 to year 11 refugee children demonstrate competency over challenging subject matters including English, Mathematics, Arts, History, Geography, and Civics. Care Link West Midlands ensures that all these children using the club are able to increase their homework ability, learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for colleges and universities to become active and responsible citizens.
- Care Link West Midlands teaching force has access to programmes for continued improvement of their professional voluntary skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to unstuck and prepare all French speaking African refugee students for the next century.
- African French speaking children to be among the first best students in Mathematics and Science achievements.
- Every child refugee attending the club to be literate and to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the labour market and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Every child attending Saturday Homework Club sessions to be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorised presence of firearms and alcohol and to offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
- The programme (SHWC) promotes partnerships that increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
The following activities are part of the Saturday Homework support activities
- Every child matters activities
- Raise awareness in children on health, Road safety.
- Leisure activities, health & safety
- Enjoyment and achievement
- Making a positive contribution in exile land
- Highlight and promote good practices
- The respect agenda (prevention and/or reduction of anti-social behaviour by children and young people, drug abuse/alcohol and gun culture.
- Teenage parents (deliver a message on preventive strategies targeting teenagers considered “at risk” of becoming teenager parents.
- Promoting social inclusion & integration in full of African refugee children regent arrivals (learn a little bit of English history, English mode of life, English culture, English economy/understanding currencies, English politics and governance; example king Dome Versus Republic, English education system, etc.)
Additionally, we compliment tutoring with periodic motivational activities for our students such as educational documentaries that serve to activate discussion and self-expression. It is also a useful mentoring tool that is both fun and a learning experience for the students. The SHWC has also integrated its activities with both the Birmingham and Sandwell library systems, participating in the “Summer Reading Club” programme. The self-esteem of our students has greatly improved following their exposure to the entire SHWC programme and especially the added value of multi sport activities that the project has incorporated and embedded to go hand in hand with the homework club activities.
5. Our experience or our organisation’s experience in this type of project
We have significant experience in running this project and our services have improved as a result of review and scrutiny by ContinYou and our continuous membership with National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRC) Quality Framework.
Saturday Homework Clubs has received recognition from the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education - “ContinYou”, being awarded a GOLD AWARD in maintaining Higher Level Quality standards in the provision of supplementary education to disadvantaged children.