Arabic complementary schools in England: language and Fundamental British Values

Reed, Beatrice Szczepek; Said, Fatma Faisal Saad; Davies, Ian and Bengsch, Geraldine. 2020. Arabic complementary schools in England: language and Fundamental British Values. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 33(1), pp. 50-65. ISSN 0790-8318 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Heritage language education is not included in the national curriculum in England and therefore formal learning and teaching of heritage languages is primarily achieved through complementary schools, which are part-time, community-led and linked to various ethnic and national backgrounds. This study focuses on Arabic complementary schools and explores educational practices for teaching Arabic. The study also explores how pupils and teachers conceptualise, construct and manifest their linguistic and social identity, especially with regard to the context that is informed by the promotion of so-called Fundamental British Values (FBV). Observations are based on data from interviews with pupils, teachers and headteachers from three Arabic complementary schools across England. A qualitative analysis of the data reveals that the schools are strongly commited to tolerance and respect, which are part of the FBV; as well as to inclusivity and community cohesion. The analysis also shows that Arabic plays an important role in the construction of community and linguistic identities in the current political environment of suspicion.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


complementary schools, heritage languages, language maintenance, bilingualism, Arabic, Fundamental British Values

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


4 January 2019Accepted
22 January 2019Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Feb 2019 14:46

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 12:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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