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Welcome to the website of Sheffield Complementary Heritage Language Schools!

Who are we?

Complementary Schools are different forms of part-time educational provision operating outside of normal school hours, often at weekends, run by different black and minority ethnic communities. They are community-based, set up and organised by members of a particular community and usually run by volunteers from that community. In some parts of the UK this form of provision is known as Supplementary Schools but we prefer the term Complementary Schools because it emphasises the role that they play in complementing, adding value to and improving the educational experience of young people in mainstream schools.

There are lots of definitions of the term ‘Heritage Languages’ but here we take it to mean languages spoken that are part of people’s heritage and/or cultural identity, other than the dominant language of the UK – i.e. English. These may be first or second languages or the languages people speak mainly at home. A heritage language may be the language that is spoken in the land of someone’s birth or where they grew up; or it may be the main or first language of one or more of their parents.

At the present time (April 2018), there are 18+ different Complementary Heritage Language Schools operating in Sheffield, teaching more than 16 different languages. (This figure is likely to vary over time, as new schools open and some schools close).

This website aims to:

  • publicise the existence of Sheffield’s Complementary Schools and promote and showcase their work.
  • celebrate the achievements of bilingual young people in our city support the organisers and tutors in Sheffield’s Complementary Schools.
  • help other agencies and the general public understand more about the work of Sheffield Complementary Schools.
  • give information about relevant events and activities.
  • provide a legacy for the work of the Home Language Accreditation Project – HoLA (a partnership project between King Edwards VII School and the charity, Languages Sheffield) and of Languages Sheffield itself (the key local organisation working in this field from 2008 until the end of 2017, when it was forced to close due to lack of funding).

NB This is a new website so if any part of it does not seem to be working properly please contact us, using the email address on this page.

Interview with Professor about the Importance of Language Learning and Community Languages

Click here to see ex-Languages Sheffield Patron, Professor Terry Lamb explain how he became interested in languages, the important role community languages can play in mainstream schools and other related issues.