Q 1: How old is the Group?
It was registered by the Charity Commission as a UK charity in May 1987.
Q 2: What does “plusz” mean in your name?
All the activities and programmes which stretch the meaning of a school: nursery and toddler groups, dance, Kodaly music and drama sessions, workshops, trips, concerts, camps… The Hungarian abbreviation also sounds like “elemi”, a Hungarian word meaning elementary, or even something taken for granted. Like we take our little Hungarian island for granted here.
Q 3: How many families are members of the association?
The membership is around 50 families at any given time, plus-minus.
Q 4: Why are you in Islington? Simply because the 5 families who founded the Group lived here! The central location and the proximity to public transport means families can access us easily, some indeed travel as much as 50-60 miles to get to our sessions.
Q 5: Can we come for a taster?
Anyone is welcome for a trial. If you give us a warning and send your details in advance we will look out for you on the day, but equally, you can just drop in.
Q 6: Is your venue owned by the Group?
Our venue is rented, functions mainly as a Day Centre for the elderly during the week. The lack of ownership is an old problem and we wish we had our own building. We could fill it with programs seven days a week!
Q 7: I cannot come regularly. What should I do?
Please try to make an effort. Both children and parents settle and bond more easily if they come regularly. However, if you really cannot make for good reason, try our “Season Ticket” valid for 4 Saturdays without time limit.
Q 8: We live a long way away, or are already busy on Saturdays. Do you have any other venues/days?
Language acquisition is based on copying below age 11-ish so learning in a group is more effective for young children. Older children learn languages through analysing, so home tuition and distant learning may also work for them. These forms of tuition cost more, but we can arrange them for you should you wish so. Alternatively, you might find there is another Hungarian Saturday school near you, many popped up in the past few years.
Q 9: Are you following the Hungarian curriculum?
To a small extent and with modifications, yes. But we teach Hungarian as a heritage/ethnic/asset language or as a second language, which is a different cup of tea requiring special methodology. However, we are trying to cram in as much of the Hungarian culture and traditions as reasonably possible.
Q 10: We do not speak in Hungarian at home. Is it worth coming to the group for my child?
Try our “MaMI” or Hungarian as a Second Language for Children class. No previous knowledge of the language is required there.
Q 11: I am a mature student, may I join your classes? Yes, but please do not expect a very intensive course, we only meet twice a month after all. If you also have a child studying in our Group, you can learn conversational Hungarian at a reduced fee.
Q 12: I want to teach in your Group!
Our teachers are volunteers working 2 or 4 hours a fortnight – not enough to live on it. But if you have another job to support yourself and have got some time on your hand to teach, send us your CV and we put you on our register. You will probably be asked to stand in as a supply teacher initially. If everything goes well, we will invite you to join the team when a suitable vacancy comes up. Naturally, we can only work with you if you live in or near London, please do not apply from Hungary.
Q 13: Can you help me find a job in the UK?
Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to do this. You will have to contact an agent. From time to time our families look for a nanny, however, or au-pair, or babysitter, so if you are available for such work, you may want to send us a message and we may be able to match supply and demand.
Q 14: We’re planning to move to the UK and wish to send our children to Hungarian school there. How can we enrol our child in your school? There are no Hungarian or bilingual Hungarian schools in the UK and alas, we only meet on certain days, mostly Saturdays, 2 or 3 times a month (please see our Diary for the dates). If it is important for your child(ren) to continue with the Hungarian curriculum, you may need to arrange private tuition. Having said that, attending our Saturday school will help your child settle in this country. Belonging to a Hungarian community provides continuity in language, culture and identity which will also help their integration in the mainstream English school.
Q 15: Can you help us find an English school for our child? You will want to check the list of available schools on the website of your Local Educational Authority (LEA), which is the education department of your local government in the UK. Then you will need to read about those schools on www.ofsted.gov.uk and visit as many of them as possible. These websites give guidance about the application procedure, too. Talking to parents in our Group, you may find that somebody lives in your borough or has useful experience to share with you about this topic!
Q 16: How do we join your Group? Please come for a trial day and if you like us, you may join us there and then. Sending a message in advance with your details (your names, your children’s names, their days of birth, your address and phone numbers) helps us tremendously prepare for your arrival. Don’t worry, your details will only be kept if your join us as members or register on our mailing list separately.
Q 17: I don’t want to send personal details through your website or I would like to send you some documents. Do you have an email address I can use instead? You may write to either of these email addresses:
info AT magyariskola DOT org DOT uk
admin AT magyariskola DOT org DOT uk
Q 18: Why don’t you post your membership fee on the website? For practical reasons: our contributions are a combination of membership fee, voluntary donation, refundable deposits etc, and we take the age and number of children, the adult learners (if any) into account. This is because we try to be as fair as possible. So we find it easier to go through this on the day you come to visit us. We may also give you concessions or free membership, please do ask. We want to make it sure that you can join if you wanted to, regardless of your financial means.
Q 19: What happened to your Morden branch? Morden (formerly Kingston) joined us in 2006 and went separate again in 2012, forming “Mosoly Ovi-Suli” in New Malden. We enjoyed sharing our knowledge and are proud that we could set an example for cooperation but, after a while, the joint organisation just became too big to manage on a voluntary basis.
Q 20: What should I expect on a typical Saturday session? Have you seen our Timetable yet? We run more than 20 different groups and activities on each Saturday, so there’s always a buzz. We try to offer something for everyone, with a focus on Hungarian language and culture. The building is not purpose built, so we have to adjust and improvise. Many classes have to share classrooms and we try to avoid clashes between lessons that are noisy or require a lot of space.
What you can’t see from the tables however is the fun we have seeing our small and not-so-small members thrive and make life-long friendships while engaging in classes, or helping run the activities. For we all do our best to contribute. We move tables, chairs, whiteboards, mobile library shelves, play mats – then we move them all back… We donate some fruit every time, then serve these to children, roughly halfway through the first double sessions… We organise – or give -talks with interesting people; interesting perhaps because they know something about successful bilingual child rearing, the immigrant existence, psychology, or perhaps they can feed us Hungarian literature, film or music… We celebrate our red-letter days in special assemblies, often performed by our drama, music or dance classes… We have a lending children’s library for members… Our volunteer parents brave the heat in the kitchen, so that we can eat pancakes, for next to nothing. Which one will you have, jam, sweet cottage cheese, Nutella or cocoa? Just don’t forget to write your order in the “Nagy palacsintakönyv”, our Great Book of Pencake Orders! … See you soon!