From education to employment

EdTech company FlashAcademy celebrates partnering with 1000 schools in the UK to support children’s English language development

The UK is a widely multicultural country, welcoming around 200,000 immigrants per year. With such a diverse society, it’s only natural that a large range of languages are spoken.  

However, with the majority of schooling in the UK being taught predominantly in English, children that speak English as an additional language (EAL) may be at a disadvantage in the classroom if their English language development is not properly supported and encouraged.

In response to these potential challenges, one thousand schools across the UK have partnered with language-learning EdTech company FlashAcademy®, providing their students from all backgrounds with a platform that allows them to learn English and celebrate their home languages at the same time. 

This online language-learning tool allows schools across the country to assist EAL students with their language skills and help them to interact with their classmates.

Founded in 2012 as FlashSticks® using pre-printed language Post-it Notes, the company later evolved to FlashAcademy®, a move away from the physical to a new digital solution to the EAL challenge. Founder and CEO Veejay Lingiah was already aware of the challenges EAL students face, being the only non-white student in his primary school classroom. As the child of two parents that had immigrated into the UK, he resonated with other students from backgrounds like his and sought to help them. 

In September 2017, Claire Evans, then Deputy Head at Anderton Park, sat down with founder Veejay Lingiah and became the first school to pioneer the use of the online platform to support EAL pupils with their language development.

Speaking on the app’s success in the school, Claire said:

“Pupils love it. Having their own app makes them feel special and they can also help their parents learn English at home.”

Throughout the years following, an increasing number of schools have partnered with FlashAcademy® to help their EAL students develop their English language skills. By January 2021, 500 schools had committed to assisting their students with their language development, with the platform reaching 750 schools partnered just a few months later. The small team at FlashAcademy® has also grown over the years to a dedicated group of 40 passionate language-learning professionals. 

Five years after their first school partnership, FlashAcademy has very excitedly just partnered with their thousandth school, Murray Park Community School, in November of 2022. The school has already seen students make exceptional progress in their language development since enrolment began, including learners who speak Pashto, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Slovakian. This comes after Staffordshire County Council partnered with the app to provide language and education assistance for Ukrainian refugees living in the county under the Homes For Ukraine scheme.

Furthermore, Stacie Eriksson, EAL Coordinator at Outwood City Field Academy said of the app:

“FlashAcademy has really helped us in the sense that it’s like having another member of staff. I’ve got lots of students who are both EAL and SEN, and the platform has certainly benefited their learning development where they can go at their own pace.”

Overall, thousands of children across the UK have utilised this new technology to help them develop not only their language skills, but also their friendships with other classmates and a sense of pride in their home languages.

And it’s not just children whose language acquisition has been accelerated by the app. FlashAcademy® has expanded to provide language education for adult (ESOL) students, alongside supporting international schools overseas. The platform has even become affiliated with a number of Strategic Migrant Partnerships, helping migrants such as those coming across from Hong Kong to develop their English language skills.

Commenting on their new milestone achievement of reaching 1,000 schools, founder and CEO Veejay Lingiah said:

“At FlashAcademy®, we set out with a purpose to help as many EAL students as possible. Over the years, one school has somehow turned into one thousand schools, and we’ve been able to provide language support to more children than ever before. We’re really excited and optimistic about being able to help even more in the future, because it feels like we’re still just getting started and there are so many more schools and students left for us to help.”

Related Articles