Jess and Tom Kerry
If there was a family that embodies the spirit of the VICI Language Academy, that joie de vivre that comes with learning a language, it has to be the Kerrys, who have been with us since before the academy was launched!
Jess Kerry is 14 and has been studying French for 12 years and is currently in the GCSE class, while younger brother Tom has been with us learning French for eight years and is in the Leadership High Class and even mum, Lesley is in our Mum’s Class – which offers French for hip parents!
Here she takes up the family’s story:
“Jess is Nathalie’s longest-serving student. She started learning French at two and a half years old when Nathalie ran Bleu Blanc Rouge Lessons were at her pre-school, just half-an-hour each week but it was Jess’s favourite day!
When Nathalie moved into bigger premises we naturally followed her! Tom couldn’t wait to start learning French like his big sister as soon as he turned two and a half. My children have grown up without fear of languages and just see it as something you do and it has given them so much confidence! “My daughter is in Year Nine at school and only told me yesterday that she is often asked to help her peers with their French homework (though she tries to encourage them to do it themselves!). There is a lot of fear of languages in this country and children like mine, who go through VICI instead have natural confidence inspired by the ethos of the academy. “Jess has just taken her options and had to negotiate the right to study two languages at GCSE. The school have been talking about further education and how it could cost as much as £44,000 to go to university now and she was talking about using her languages to study abroad rather than here in the UK. VICI staff have shown her that it is quite possible to study abroad. Last week she was lucky enough to go to Oxford University as part of an aspiration focus through school and now she is determined to study hard aiming to get the grades she needs. Like most teenagers, she doesn’t know what she wants to do yet but sees languages as part of her future. Jess is now, proudly, a VICI classroom assistant, something she aspired to for a long time!
“She has this attitude ‘if I want to do something there is no reason why I can’t’ and that is something she sees in the way Nathalie operates; she is driven to succeed through hard work and commitment and it has rubbed off on Jess over the past 12 years. I’m sure as a teenager she wouldn’t admit it, but working with Nathalie and her staff there is a professionalism and drive there that does rub off.
“I have to say it is expensive but when you consider the relatively poor standard of languages taught in our schools it seems the only option to ensure our children gain a rounded education. Some people think we have grand ideas sending our children to VICI, but with sacrifices (such as doing without that new bathroom!) it is something we feel is important to invest in for our children. We never have to force them to attend lessons and even though they go 2-3 times a week they both love it. So it is worth every penny and has given both children so much confidence and those language skills which we know will open up the world and a brighter future for them. I have taken up learning French at Vici as an adult and it shows the difference it makes starting young as I do not have the same confidence. It is a great learning environment and when you walk into VICI it is always such a happy, friendly and professional place.
“The other day I had someone ask why on earth I would send my children to language lessons on a Saturday morning! They said it was mean, but the children want to go just as I do!
“My husband, Quentin doesn’t attend the academy and is one of those annoying people who does remember everything he was taught at school. Although last year in Brittany we showed him up by speaking more French than him! I even had the confidence to go up to strangers and explain I wanted to practice my French we always got such a lovely response for trying to use French. Tom was praised for his accent and we were thanked for making the effort! Trying to do an aquafit class in French was a perfect way to immerse me in the language!