A select group of students from the Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) have been given the important role of Language Ambassadors this academic year.
15 students from years 9, 10 and 11 will offer students in years 7 and 8, whose first language isn’t English, any additional support they may need when it comes to speaking, reading and writing in English.
The Language Ambassadors team will be led by Roj Al Joul Bek – a year 11 student originally from Aleppo in Syria. She fled Aleppo as a young child and moved to Turkey, before finally settling in Liverpool in 2017.
Roj’s first language is Arabic and recently celebrated achieving an A in AS-level Arabic in the summer. She also speaks Turkish, Kurdish and English.
ASFA’s vibrant and multicultural community, means that English isn’t the first language for a number of students at the academy.
Together with staff, the Language Ambassadors, who between them speak 13 different languages, will help students in years 7 and 8 overcome language barriers by hosting fortnightly reading clubs, translating school work and also attending events that their fellow peers may require assistance with.
The ambassadors’ first official engagement will be providing support to prospective students and families at ASFA’s open evening on Wednesday 25 September. They will wear badges with the languages they can each speak so visitors can approach them for help.
Roj said: “When I first came to Liverpool, I was a little overwhelmed with the English language but with the right support from the teachers at ASFA, I soon became confident when reading, writing and speaking it.
“Myself and other students now want to offer this support to the younger year groups who are also getting to grips with English as a second, or even, third language, as we know first-hand how daunting it can be.
“I am currently translating the ASFA form time journal into Arabic to help other students understand the values of the school. Staff have bought me an Arabic computer key board which is really helpful.”
Head of School, Kevin Maddocks said: “The Academy of St Francis of Assisi is continuing to go from strength to strength. With over 47 languages spoken at the academy support like this is vital and the fact it is being provided by other students is fantastic.
“Students with English as an additional language made fantastic progress in their GCSE studies last year and I know the Language Ambassador programme will develop this even further.”