English as an Additional Language
Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) are entitled to the full curriculum study. Access to learning requires attention to words and meanings embodied in each curriculum area. Meanings and understanding cannot be assumed, but must be made explicit.
Language is central to our identity. Therefore, the home language of all pupils and staff should be recognised and valued. Pupils should be encouraged to maintain their home language.
Although many pupils acquire the ability to communicate on a day to day basis in English quite quickly, the level of language needed for academic study is much deeper and more detailed, and can require continuing support for up to ten years.
Language develops best when used in purposeful contexts across the curriculum. The language demands of learning tasks need to be identified and included in planning. Teaching and support staff play a crucial role in modelling uses of language. Knowledge and skills developed in learning the first language aid the acquisition of additional languages. A clear distinction should be made between EAL and Special Educational Needs.
All EAL pupils are assessed in line with the school’s assessment procedures at Elaine. Staff have the opportunity to discuss pupils’ progress, needs and targets via weekly planning meetings, phase meetings and termly MTP reviews. Progress in the acquisition of English is regularly assessed and monitored.
Teachers and leaders use their own judgement where assessment methods are checked for cultural bias which may cause results to be inaccurate and action is taken to remove any that is identified.
Consideration and sensitivity is given to the appropriateness of testing EAL pupils at the earlier stages of English acquisition.
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
- Planning for EAL pupils incorporates both curriculum and EAL specific objectives
- Staff regularly observe, assess and record information about pupils’ developing use of language
The curriculum is personalised and this helps the children to use their prior knowledge and experience. The speaking and listening is always the starting point of a new topic or activity and writing is always the last step. The grammatical rules and the sentence structures are taught within the context of the different topics and genres. Visual resources are used to aid their learning. The skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are not artificially separated, but are integrated in a meaningful total experience. The children communicate with each other through paired work and group work and this way they improve their listening as well. Through speaking exercises such as interviews, storytelling and drama, the children gain verbal routine, enthusiasm and confidence. The key vocabulary is taught at the beginning of a new topic and the children learn and practise grammatical structures and sentence building using the topic vocabulary. Teachers model use of specific vocabulary and sentence stems across the curriculum which are constantly displayed and used as reference points.
The EAL teaching at Elaine focuses on individual pupil’s needs and abilities by the adults. Differentiated planning may be put into place to support the EAL children across the curriculum.
Staff use support strategies to ensure curriculum access for Pupil’s Needs:
- Collaborative group work
- Enhanced opportunities for speaking and listening
- Effective role models of speaking, reading and writing
- Additional verbal and visual support e.g. repetition, peer support, makaton, posters, objects, non-verbal clues, pictures, demonstration, use of gesture, etc.
- Bilingual resources if available, e.g. dictionaries, on-line support, bilingual staff/pupils, texts, key word lists
- Writing frames, directed activities related to texts
- Opportunities for role play
- Regular feedback from staff
- Opportunities to focus on the cultural knowledge explicit or implicit in texts
At Elaine we encourage parental and community involvement by:
- Providing a welcome process for newly arrived pupils and their families/carers
- Use translators and interpreters, where appropriate and available, to ensure good links are made between the Family and the school
- Utilise Language Ambassadors to support newly arrived parents
- Identify linguistic, cultural and religious background of pupils and establish contact with the wider community
- Celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of EAL pupils
- Recognise and encouraging the use of first language for developing positive links between school and home
- Support parents, so they can help their children at home