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PhD student secures £1.1m research grant to boost English language skills among refugees and asylum seekers

Thursday 2 January 2014

A project spearheaded by Anne Smith, a PhD student from the School of English and Drama, has been awarded a £1.1m grant to work with refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to learn English and integrate within their new homes.

Anne will develop innovative methods of learning English for non-native speakers in London by using drama, improvisation and games to build learners confidence with vocabulary and language.

The funding comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which is providing £6 million in total for inventive community-based English language programmes that help to integrate people into their local communities.

Anne has developed ‘Creative English’ which is a new approach to teaching English as a second language. Anne commented: “I'm really excited about having the opportunity for my on-going research to have an impact on a national scale, empowering individuals and reducing isolation for the whole family through the adult's increased language skills.

“I will develop a resource box of props, bits of costume and language activities. I'm imagining the materials as being a like a set of lego bricks that can be assembled in different ways to meet the needs of the people attending Creative English programmes. It will be fun and rewarding for the volunteer facilitators as well as the participants. “

The project will establish 20 Creative English ‘hubs’ around the UK, including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Manchester. Anne’s team will be training and providing on-going support for facilitators in these hubs.   

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