In a challenging economic and political context, complementary schools in East London are mentoring each other and forming networks across communities to gain recognition and status for community languages in education and the wider community. As issues of power and status impact in different ways on differently situated communities, complementary schools are uniquely positioned to support the needs of new communities as they discover how quickly their children become dominant in English and lose the active use of the family language when they start school. The study is focused around an Albanian organisation that has developed a strong model of partnership by which mainstream and complementary schools work closely together to develop children’s multilingual skills. The study explores how the mentoring process has supported Polish, Somali, Portuguese and Lithuanian complementary schools to meet the language needs of their communities, to raise the local profile of their cultures, to raise awareness of the importance and value of bilingualism in community languages, and to support pupils to engage directly with examination boards and policy makers at both local and national level.
©2014 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin Boston