EDITED: Where can we find English language classes?
Unbelievable is my description of trying to find English language classes! I was trying to find English classes for Mr O, Mr O Jnr 1 and Miss O 1. All three have decided they really want to accelerate developing their English language skills. The longer they are here, the more they find the lack of perfect English frustrating. It is subtle little things that frustrate sometimes, other times it is more. Their own language, while rich, has different rules of grammar. While English may be the official language of their homeland, it is not the language they used most of the time.
The Council of Adult Education don’t have anything part-time. It seems neither do most of the other public education providers. Private schools, yes – for about $400 a week per pupil. There is no way we can afford $1,200 a week on English classes: we just can’t!
I wrote recently about the cuts to TAFE in several states and was told by at least one provider today the same cuts have lead to reduced English classes being available.
Apart from the cost, full-time classes are out of the question: the teenagers are in school and Mr O works full-time.
Weekend classes perhaps? No, none of those either that I can find.
This is a country of migrants and yet when migrants get here there are no English classes other than full-fee, full-time?
I even sent out two calls on Twitter and not one response. I don’t know what to do. I will try different institutions tomorrow and I emailed Victoria University, but I’m worried they will say the same as the others. I have tried Melbourne University, RMIT, CAE and Victoria Uni. Other institutions are too far away and it seems that Mr O Jnr 1 won’t be able to attend the same classes as Mr O and Miss O 1 because he is not an adult.
I had been hoping to find some full-time classes over the summer holidays for our two teenagers, but it seems none are available.
There are some on-line courses and if all else fails we will try to see if any of those fit the budget, but I believe classroom interaction would be better for all. Another suggestion made today was to hire a private tutor who may be prepared to take all three together.
It is so frustrating!
If anyone knows of anything, PLEASE let us know!
EDIT: October 4
A couple of Twitter contacts gave us some leads. One of them was AMES, which I had overlooked entirely. I might have been reminded if they appeared in my Google search, but AMES didn’t!
The Temporary Visa grant had advised:
Entitlement to English language tuition
You may be eligible to participate in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). For more information phone 1800 019 119. Please note you must register for English classes within three months of being granted this visa. To be eligible to register for the course you must have your visa label evidenced in your passport. Please contact this office to have your visa evidenced.
Of course, the three months is well and truly over now! It seems, however, that there is a fresh entitlement with the permanent visa. We were so excited to have the permanent visa finally granted, we didn’t read the supplementary information! When I called AMES today I discovered my family are entitled to 510 hours of English language tuition.
However, we are still having problems trying to find classes outside school and work hours. I am also not yet sure that AMES classes will be at the level required: we don’t need introductory classes as the kids are in mainstream school and Mr O has already completed a Certificate II. The standard needed is to polish existing English skills, not teach from scratch.
Mr O needs to go for an interview to be assessed and there is a two week wait for the assessment.
We are making progress though!
Moral of the story? Read the fine print!