English as an Additional Language and The International School at TES.
Introduction and context:
At The Elmgreen School we have a strong commitment to valuing linguistic diversity and the department is concerned with those students who speak a language other than English at home whom we refer to as bilingual EAL learners – The government defines an EAL learner as anyone who has been exposed to a language other than English during early childhood ‘and continues to be exposed to this language in the home or in the community’.
The Elmgreen School is located in Lambeth, one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse boroughs in London, where around 150 different languages are spoken. Our bilingual EAL learners come from a variety of language and literacy backgrounds:
- 53 languages spoken other than English at the school.
- Top 5 most spoken languages at TES:
- Portuguese – 28%
- Spanish/Catalan – 25%
- Somali – 18%
- French/Carribbean Creole French – 15%
- Arabic – 7 %
- Polish – 7%
The school offers suitable provision to support, embrace and celebrate the multiculturalism and multilingualism of its student body.
The International School at The Elmgreen School and the EAL Department:
A proportion of students who come to us through in-year admissions are new to the country and in Y11. We offer these students The International School pathway curriculum with the majority of the timetable taken up by English language lessons supported by an EAL Teacher and designated EAL support staff.
The International School includes:
- A Pathway for newly arrived Y11 students to the UK, accepting students at various stages of EAL with no prior education in this country.
- A thorough process of induction and assessment to design the best course and pathway for each student.
- Helping young people and their families to integrate into British and local culture and space and time for them to share theirs.
- Students in the International School are allocated to a tutor group within the whole school and will benefit from the usual pastoral support of the school.
- In addition they will be offered intensive monitoring, support and access to therapeutic services where appropriate.
- Students within the International School provision benefit from additional tracking and support for attendance and punctuality.
- Some of our students may also sit a GCSE in their community language.
At The Elmgreen School, we strive to ensure that bilingual EAL learners have access to a curriculum appropriate to their needs, the opportunity to enjoy and achieve in all aspects of their lives and the chance to make a positive contribution to the community in which they live.
- All bilingual EAL learners are entitled to the full range of educational services.
- All bilingual EAL learners are entitled to equal opportunities of educational success.
- Being bilingual or multilingual is an educationally enriching achievement.
- Having a home language other than English is not a learning difficulty.
- Special Educational Needs and the needs of bilingual EAL learners are not identical, but neither are they mutually exclusive.
The school’s responsibilities:
- To ensure that all bilingual EAL learners have access to and can participate in mainstream National Curriculum provision.
- To support bilingual EAL learners in their acquisition of English language skills across the curriculum.
- To assess and monitor the progress of bilingual learners in their acquisition of English as an additional language.
- To ensure that bilingual EAL learners attain the very highest results.
At The Elmgreen School we assess bilingual students’ proficiency in English on the same five point scale used across the borough of Lambeth and the rest of the UK.
The stages are as follows:
A – New to English
B – Early Acquisition
C – Developing Competence
D – Competent
E – Fluent
At The Elmgreen School, assessments of bilingual students’ fluency in English take place in late September at the start of the academic year but also all year round for other late arrivals/starters. They are carried out by the Head of Department and EAL Teacher who specialise in English as an Additional Language. The results from these assessments are used with other data which may include Key Stage Two and CATs scores to define the level and type of support offered to students.
- Bilingual EAL learners are set appropriately challenging learning objectives and tasks.
- Language is best acquired in a meaningful context. For bilingual EAL learners at The Elmgreen School, this is achieved in the mainstream classroom through interaction with native English speakers and support from their peers and any adults present.
- The linguistic diversity of students and staff at The Elmgreen School is celebrated in the curriculum.
- Bilingual EAL learners’ experiences are integrated into the curriculum to enhance indigenous students’ knowledge and understanding of other cultures and languages.
- Bilingual EAL learners are encouraged to use their home language in the learning environment. We welcome communication between teaching staff, support staff and students in languages other than English.
- Occasionally we feel it is important to withdraw a small number of bilingual EAL learners for short periods of time each week to give additional support in their learning of English. In the event of any lessons being missed, students are provided with the relevant work by their subject teachers to ensure that no large gaps occur in their subject knowledge. We also make sure that students do not miss large sections of the curriculum in particular subject areas.
At The Elmgreen School, we believe that some of the best progress bilingual EAL learners can make occurs when subject teachers, support teachers and parents all work closely together to support students’ learning.
We also believe that the progress of bilingual EAL learners is significantly influenced by a school ethos and community which celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity. At The Elmgreen School we have the highest expectations of all our students.