All pupils need to feel safe, accepted and valued in order to learn. For pupils who are learning English as an additional language, this includes recognising and valuing their home language and background. As a school, we are aware that bilingualism is a strength and that EAL pupils have a valuable contribution to make. We take a whole school approach, including ethos, curriculum, education against racism, and promoting language awareness.
Aims of Policy
This policy aims to raise awareness of the school’s obligations and to support the planning, organisation, teaching and assessment procedures, and the use of resources and strategies to meet the needs of pupils who have English as an additional language (EAL) and so to raise pupil achievement.
In Middlesbrough, EAL pupils come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are from well-established communities such as established families of Pakistani heritage, while others are new to the language and culture of this country.
Many pupils arrive having attended school and are literate in their home language on arrival whereas some may have had no previous formal education.
Some INAs (International New Arrivals) are asylum seekers or refugees who may have experienced trauma and this will have an impact on their learning. Others are the children of economic migrants – many from Europe – but also from other locations across the globe.
After English, the main languages are Punjabi (0.7%), Urdu (0.7%), Arabic (0.6%) and Polish (0.4%).
Context of school
At our school approximately 91% of pupils are learning English as an Additional Language. The majority of these EAL pupils are third generation children of Pakistani heritage, however another substantial proportion come from families who have more recently arrived in the UK. These children and their families may well have a more limited understanding of the English language. On admission to the school, information is gathered about a pupil’s linguistic background and competence in other languages; previous educational experience; and family background. Following this, a decision is made as to whether the child will enter a mainstream class, or whether he or she would benefit from more targeted support in the EAL hub. Interventions are provided to support language development and to promote the child’s ability to access the curriculum. A member of staff is nominated to have responsibility for EAL pupils, in particular the INAs, and their overall learning.
Key principles of additional language acquisition
- 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. Teaching new arrivals begins with tier one vocabulary but develops across tiers 2 and 3 to ensure that children can access the curriculum once they move back into mainstream alongside their peers.
- The teaching of children who have been in the country longer, focuses on the teaching of tier two and three vocabulary.
- Language is central to our identity. Therefore, the home languages of all pupils and staff are recognised and valued.
- Teaching and support staff play a crucial role in modelling uses of language.
- EAL is not recognised as a form of Special Educational Need and Disability.
- Parents are seen as fundamental in ensuring children make good progress. They are kept informed through their first language wherever possible via use of bilingual support staff and the EMAT (Ethnic Minority Achievement Team) team. Written communication to parents is translated whenever possible.
Assessment of EAL pupils
- For the INAs, progress in the acquisition of English is regularly assessed and monitored using the Bell Foundation assessment system which assesses competency in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
- A baseline assessment in English proficiency is taken two weeks after the child’s date of arrival in school.
- The Bell Foundation assessment system follows the progress of the child for a up to two years after their date of arrival.
- Once a child is deemed to be accessing the National Curriculum, the school assessment system is used.
- After two years, all children are assessed alongside the National Curriculum/EYFS profile.
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
- Targets for EAL pupils are appropriate, challenging and reviewed on a regular basis.
- Planning for EAL pupils incorporates both curriculum and EAL specific objectives, dependent on competence in English.
- Staff regularly observe, assess and record information about pupils’ developing use of language.
- When planning the curriculum, staff take account of the linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds of families. Vocabulary is considered within medium term plans.
- Tracking of EAL pupils is monitored by the EAL coordinator and Senior Leadership Team to ensure accelerated progress is made and intervention used appropriately.
- Parents are included in the ‘next steps’ for their child and they are feedback to at parents’ consultations, using an interpreter wherever necessary.
- The extension of pupils’ vocabulary is a priority across the school, and children are consistently introduced to new words and phrases.
- Enhanced opportunities are provided for speaking and listening, including both process and presentational talk, and use made of drama techniques and role play.
- Additional visual or verbal support is provided when needed to support understanding.
- Opportunities for purposeful talk are carefully planned and staff encourage and support active participation.
- Discussion is provided before, during and after reading and writing activities, ensuring good levels of understanding by pupils.
- Staff scaffold language and learning, for example through talk or writing frames.
- Staff do not ‘dumb down’ language, but give opportunities for learning in context and exploration of vocabulary.
Abingdon Primary School provides appropriate materials for EAL pupils and their families such as dual language textbooks, picture dictionaries, bilingual prospectuses and language based workbooks. There is also access to software to support language acquisition. For those with a more in depth proficiency in English, a wide breadth of stimulating and both, current and classical literature, is available throughout school. Technology is used to engage pupils and to enhance teaching and learning.