Story: Khadija’s story

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Khadija arrived in Bradford from Pakistan in 2019. She didn’t speak very much English and was particularly worried about how her youngest daughter, Hafsa, was going to manage at school.

Not knowing many people in the city, and with little knowledge of British education, Khadija tried her best to teach 3-year-old Hafsa with some resources she purchased herself, but it was a struggle.

“Hafsa had extremely limited language and was not interested in anything educational I had bought from the shops,” Khadija said.

Hafsa joined the nursery at Beckfoot Nessfield Primary School and after conversations with staff there, it was suggested her mum join the Passport to Confidence scheme, a project funded by SHINE.

The project, run in schools that are part of the Beckfoot Trust, involves parents taking part in activities aimed at increasing their confidence and improving the communication skills of their children.

Mothers and children on the Passport to Confidence project

At first, Khadija was nervous. “Before joining this project, I did not interact with any of the other parents, I felt they would not understand me as my English was extremely poor,” she said.

But the project lead, Jaswinder Kaur soon put her at ease. Jas speaks Urdu and Punjabi and is adept at involving all parents and children in the activities she leads.

“Jas provided me with some excellent activities which I was able to do with Hafsa,” she said. “They were similar to the ones Hafsa was using at school and adapted to them well.”

After just a few sessions, and thanks to the resources provided by the Jas, Hafsa quickly began to make good progress.

“She has started to repeat a lot of the words I have taught her through the activities that Jas had shown me and because I have them at home it is easy for me to use them with Hafsa regularly,” Khadija said.

“I too feel much more confident and comfortable in using these activities as they are so easy to use, simple but highly effective.”

Hafsa is now making strong progress, and her communication skills are on par with her classmates. Khadija, too, is much more confident, and she has made friends with other parents at the school.

“My children are so proud of me when they see me using these activities with Hafsa as I never did this with my older children because I did not know how to.

“I hope Jas continues to do this project as I am still learning and would love to learn more.”