SEVEN women learning English as their second language in High Wycombe are celebrating after passing the first stage of the course.

The ladies, based at Green Street Youth and Community Centre in Desborough Street, received their Step One certificates in Speaking and Listening.

Each took an exam as part of their ESOL course - English for Speakers of Other Languages - at the centre, which encourages them to break away from their mother tongue during lesson time.

Seven more women are set to sit the exam in July.

Noor Shafiq, tutor of the adult learning group, said: "From the first time they attended until now some of them have actually come out of their shell. We couldn't shut some of them up.

"It is nice to see the change."

Those in the class come from a range of ethnic backgrounds like Kurdish, Indian and Pakistani.

Mrs Shafiq said they were only allowed to speak their own language if they had particular difficulties.

"This is to help them break into English better.

She said: "You can come full of confidence and lose it - it really depends on how to take on instructions as a person. I was surprised at one or two who passed. It has been fantastic, it really has. It has just been a change all the way through."

The women are set to take their next step in the course after the summer holidays.