LEAH clients come from a variety of different countries, backgrounds and levels of English. However, many have similarities in that they cannot speak English for use in every-day life, they are isolated and lack confidence.
The case study below briefly gives some background of one client and charts her journey since being referred to us.
HK is from North Korea. She arrived in England in May 2005. She has two children under 5. Her first child was born in December 2007 but she was referred to us at the birth of her second child in October 2010. Her Health Visitor referred her to LEAH in November 2010 when her baby was three weeks old because she was concerned that HK was very isolated. She lived with her husband and two children in one room of a shared house, and rarely went out of the house on her own. She was unable to attend college due to her childcare needs, and was very frustrated about her inability to speak English.

When the LEAH Coordinator first visited HK in January 2011, her level of English was assessed as Pre-Entry Level, which meant that she was unable to read or write simple English, such as her address and the days of the week. She knew the English alphabet, but was not confident about reading or writing in English. HK also struggled to communicate in spoken English in her everyday life. She was able to give the names and dates of birth for her two children, but was unable to provide any further information about her family or her everyday life.
HK’s eldest child had just started attending nursery when LEAH allocated her a tutor in April 2011. HK was worried that she wouldn’t be able to read letters from the school or speak to her daughter’s teacher. Her long term goal is to attend college when her children are older, but her short term goals are to be able to go out on her own, to be able to talk to her neighbours and to be able to make a doctor’s appointment for her children over the telephone.

HK has been working with her LEAH tutor since April 2011 and at the 6 month review she had already made a lot of progress. HK is now confident about writing her name and address on a form, and is becoming more confident about making an appointment with her GP surgery. Her tutor reported that HK made a big breakthrough when she was able call her tutor on the phone to rearrange a lesson, rather than relying on her husband to do this. When her tutor asked HK how she felt the lessons were helping her, she said: “Now I can tell parts of my body. I understand more English words. I can read and fill in forms.”

LEAH’s tutor is also helping HK to integrate in her local community. They have attended a mother and toddler ‘Rhyme Time’ session at the library together, which has inspired HK to learn some English nursery rhymes together with her eldest daughter. HK has also begun attending British Citizenship classes at her local church, which provides her with the chance to meet other people and to practice her English. In December 2011 her tutor accompanied her to attend a LEAH health course on ‘English for Health’ for the first time.