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24 September 2014

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Greenwich and Bexley

Russian School in Erith

Russians get back to their roots

By Ayshea Buksh
London's Russians aren't all just rich football club owners. A woman in Bexley has set up a unique school to help children of ordinary Russians learn the language and culture of their parents.

Headteacher Galina Clerk formed the South East Russian Language Society in Bexley just a  few years ago.

She saw there was a demand from within the Russian Community of South East London for children growing up in the UK to be able to speak Russian with their parents and learn about where their parents came from.

The parents could not afford the usual Russian language schools in London. They were also too busy working in the week to travel with their children to other parts of the capital.

On the other side of London, far away from Abromovich's Chelsea Football Club and glamorous Knightsbridge boutiques catering for wealthy Russians,  Galina set up the Russian School and friendship society in Erith.

Russian School

Hundreds of Russians from Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley are now on her books. And more are joining all the time.

Their kids from 5 years old upwards are taught Russian language in small classes along with traditional Russian activities such as ballet, rhythmic gymnastics and Cossack dancing.

They are also offered art classes and puppet shows are put on for younger children. Costs are kept low and affordable.

The school is also a place for parents to meet up, speak Russian together and read Russian newspapers. Many of them dance in the school's dance troupe made up of adults and children.

This year the society were even invited to perform at the New Year's Parade through central London. 

New Year Parade

The South East Russian Language Society holds classes every Sunday at a community centre in Erith. 

Click on the video report icon to see inside the school when it opened its doors to BBC London.

video Watch report on the Russian School >
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last updated: 15/02/07
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