Ambassador visits NewVIc Sixth Form College, Newham
Sylvie Bermann visits East London Sixth Form college ahead of the possible creation of bilingual secondary education services in the area
30 June 2017
French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann has visited NewVIc Sixth Form college in Plaistow, Newham, where she learnt about the school’s connections with France and met local parents to discuss the potential creation of bilingual secondary education services within the area.
The NewVIc Sixth Form College is one of the largest in London with more than 2,600 students aged 16 to 19. Its principal is Eddie Playfair, who is former pupil of the Lycée français Charles de Gaulle and holds joint UK and French nationality.
NewVIc has strong connections with France: it will soon host Les Petits Bilingues de Newham language lessons; it is due to be twinned with Lycée Romain Rolland in Goussainville, France; and for a number of years, the college has benefited from having a native French teacher on secondment for a period of one to two years under the Jules Verne programme, which is supported by the French government.
Approximately 20% of the population of the London Borough of Newham has a Francophone background, making English an additional language for many children. Many parents – whether French speakers or not – want their children to have a bilingual education to enhance their education and employment opportunities.
There are a number of existing schools in London that provide a bilingual education but these are fee-paying. Thirteen schools approved by the French government follow the French curriculum, with many mainly located in south, west and north London.
The idea of creating bilingual education within the area is aimed at those who cannot afford school fees and/or wish to follow the English curriculum and live in east London. Many prospective students are from underprivileged backgrounds, and by having access to free bilingual education that offers academic excellence, pupils would be well placed to enter higher education or join the employment world.