This summer, we were delighted to welcome the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network (EERN) to St John’s School to host their first Summer Language School. The fantastic project team at EERN set out with the objective of teaching Ukrainian refugee adults and children English over the school holidays and providing much-needed guidance.

Adult refugees were given important support with an intensive course of learning English whilst receiving childcare, which allowed them the opportunity to learn whilst their children were cared for. With delays in school places being allocated for refugee children, many children had not yet received any schooling, and a safe space for them to learn, play, meet other children and be kept safe whilst their parents studied too was incredibly well received.

The camp was made possible by an incredible team of 130 volunteers including a great number of teachers, who delivered a curriculum filled with imagination and fun! In total, volunteers provided over 2,800 hours of support from administration to building sandcastles; everybody had a huge part to play in creating a warm and caring environment. We were proud to have several St John’s staff participating and supporting the language school.

Where would we find the premises at such short notice? Look no further than St John’s School, Leatherhead, who immediately said yes to everything we asked for. They donated a site beyond our wildest hopes, a self-contained building with classrooms, gardens and specialist spaces, safe access, and parking! The St John’s sites team were engaged and enthusiastic even though this was their busiest time of the year they would drop everything to fix a tap or repair a child’s bike! An IT team who were too available! We popped in constantly with our IT issues and they were brilliant. The SLT made sure that we had the total support of the School and its Foundation, and they truly delivered on their charitable purpose. WE thank you!

EERN Summer Language School

As a charitable organisation, EERN were incredibly grateful for the support given by further organisations including James’ Jar of Gifts, Yulife Insurance, Silicon Valley Bank with funding and teaching hours.

It was incredibly moving to see the families bravely entering a new environment to begin their learning. EERN welcomed 116 children for a total of 6,400 hours, and 70 adults with Nescot College for 5,600 hours over 16 days. As the days passed, confidence grew, and friendships were made. “Screams of joy, laughter and children playing, they made new friends and were able to relax back into their home languages amongst other children who knew only too well what they had left behind. They were happy, safe, and full of excitement.”

There wasn’t a dry eye across the School on the final day of the summer camp, which coincided with Ukrainian Independence Day (24 August). Parents loved seeing their children in National dress, singing, dancing and reciting poetry. The children showed enthusiasm throughout their time at the camp, and now head off into new adventures at school with much more confidence.

Find out more about EERN here:

I would like to thank all the organisers, teachers, and volunteers for the wonderful four weeks of studying at the summer school. I wish you all health, wellbeing, and the fulfilment of all your dreams and wishes. Thank you for your kind heart and for the love and care you give to Ukrainians. I am extremely happy that fate brought me together with you, but it is a pity that in such a difficult situation for me. We will never forget your concern.

Thank you, great people. We feel your help and support every minute. We appreciate all what you are doing. Thanks for opening your hearts for us.

Thank you so much for your support! We are very grateful for this opportunity and for everything that you have done for us! Hope for a peace. Glory to Ukraine, Glory to UK!